Assistant Professor of Chemistry
"My research laboratory focuses on the design of environmentally benign catalysts to address important challenges in synthetic organic chemistry and materials science. Transition-metal organometallic catalysts provide an interesting platform for study given the variety of selective transformations that they can accomplish by the subtle tuning of their coordination environments. One goal in my research is inspired by an aspect of green chemistry known as atom economy. This involves efficiently transforming readily available reagents into valuable products while producing a minimum amount of chemical waste byproducts. A strong emphasis is placed on using mechanistic insight to drive future reaction discovery and development."
Years at Knox: 2011 to present
Ph.D., Chemistry, 2007, University of California-Berkeley.
B.A., Chemistry, 2001, Knox College, summa cum laude.
Reaction mechanism, homogeneous catalysis, organometallics, electronic structure, green chemistry.
Selected Professional Accomplishments
American Chemical Society Petroleum Research Fund - $50,000, 2013.
"Synthesis, Electronic Structure, and Alkene Hydrosilylation Activity of Terpyridine and Bis(imino)pyridine Iron Dialkyl Complexes." Tondreau, A. M.; Atienza, C. C. H.; Darmon, J. M.; Milsmann, C.; Hoyt, H. M.; Weller, K. J.; Nye, S. A.; Lewis, K. M.; Boyer, J.; Delis, J. G. P.; Lobkovsky, E.; Chirik, P. J. Organometallics 31 (2012): 4886-4893.
"Synthesis and Electronic Structure of Cationic, Neutral, and Anionic Bis(imino)pyridine Iron Alkyl Complexes: Evaluation of Redox Activity in Single-Component Ethylene Polymerization Catalysts." Tondreau, A. M.; Milsmann, C.; Patrick, A. D.; Hoyt, H. M.; Lobkovsky, E.; Wieghardt, K.; Chirik, P. J. Journal of the American Chemical Society 132 (2010): 15046-15059.
"Synthesis, structural characterization, and quantitative basicity studies of lithium zirconimidate complexes." Chiu, M. C.; Hoyt, H. M.; Michael, F. M.; van Halbeek, H. Bergman, R. G. Angewandte Chemie International Edition 47 (2008): 6073-6076.
"Kinetic control and multiple mechanisms for C-H bond activation with Zr=N complexes." Hoyt, H. M.; Bergman, R. G. Angewandte Chemie International Edition 46 (2007): 5580-5582.
"Mechanistic study of the Staudinger Ligation." Lin, F.; Hoyt, H. M.; van Halbeek, H.; Bergman, R. G.; Bertozzi, C. R. Journal of the American Chemical Society 127 (2005): 2686-2695.
"C-H bond activation of hydrocarbons by an imidozirconocene complex." Hoyt, H. M.; Michael, F. E.; Bergman, R. G. Journal of the American Chemical Society 126 (2004): 1018-1019.
Presentations (*indicates undergraduate co-author)
"Synthesis and characterization of new iron complexes for the hydrosilation of 1-hexene." With Michael Supej*. Midstates Consortium for Math and Science, Undergraduate Research Symposium in the Physical Sciences, Mathematics, and Computer Science. University of Chicago, Chicago, Illinois, 2013.
"Synthesis and characterization of an iron dibromide complex supported by a donor-modified tridentate α-diimine liand." With Marika Takemura*. Midstates Consortium for Math and Science, Undergraduate Research Symposium in the Physical Sciences, Mathematics, and Computer Science. Washington University, St. Louis, Missouri, 2012.
"Single-component bis(imino)pyridine iron catalyzed olefin polymerization." With Chirik, P.J. INOR-707, 236th National Meeting of the American Chemical Society, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, August 20, 2008.
"Selectivity of hydrocarbon C-H bond activation with imidozirconocene complexes." With Bergman, R. G. Poster, Gordon Research Conference in Organometallic Chemistry, Newport, Rhode Island, July 2006.
"Tuning hydrocarbon C-H bond activation with imidozirconocene complexes." With Michael, F. E.; Bergman, R. G. Poster, INOR-197, 229th National Meeting of the American Chemical Society, San Diego, California, March 2005.
"Hydrocarbon C-H bond activation by an imidozirconocene Complex." With Michael F.E. and Bergman, R.G., INOR-945, 227th National Meeting of the American Chemical Society, Anaheim, California, April 1, 2004.
Campus & Community Involvement
Secretary, Phi Beta Kappa, Knox College Delta Chapter
Member, Illinois State Academy of Science
Member, American Chemical Society
Member, Phi Beta Kappa
What Students Say
"It is not difficult to recognize that Helen Hoyt truly enjoys being a chemistry professor. As a professor and research supervisor, Helen is very approachable and always willing to help her students in different ways : planning Knox academic career, providing tips on how to conquer Knox based on her experiences, and being an additional resource. To those students she sees with good chemistry potential and strong interest, she challenges them well with constant encouragement and acknowledges them of their good efforts. Overall, she is concerned for her students well being and respects them as smart independent individuals and scientists."
-Marika Takemura, Chemistry Major