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Inorganic Seminar Series: Robert J. Gilliard, Jr. (University of Virginia) – Via Zoom

October 22, 2020 | 3:00 pm - 4:00 pm

To access the Zoom link, please contact Elon Ison at


Robert Gilliard
Robert J. Gilliard, Jr., Assistant Professor of Chemistry, University of Virginia


Novel Redox Chemistry of the Main-Group Elements: From Subvalent Organometallics to π-Electron Materials


Research efforts in the Gilliard laboratory span diverse areas of chemical synthesis related to the activation of inert chemical bonds (e.g. CO2 reduction), energy storage, and molecular hybrid materials chemistry. Our work with s-block metals has resulted in a number of advances in the low-valent and hydridic chemistry of the alkaline earth metals (e.g., beryllium, magnesium), including molecular models for hydrogen storage. Recently, we have begun to study heterocycles “doped” with p-block elements for the development of new π-electron materials with unusual bonding and photophysical properties. This has led to the first examples of pyrene-fused N-heterocyclic germylenes and boranes, thermochromic borafluorene materials, and stable borafluorene radicals. Our primary goal has been to isolate molecules in rare electronic states and to provide a link between structure and function. This presentation will highlight our most recent results in these research areas.



Prof. Gilliard is a native of Hartsville, South Carolina. He obtained his bachelor’s degree in chemistry at Clemson University where he was an undergraduate researcher in the laboratory of Prof. Rhett C. Smith. He earned his doctorate in chemistry at The University of Georgia with Prof. Gregory H. Robinson. Gilliard was a Merck Postdoctoral Fellow and a Ford Foundation Postdoctoral Fellow where he completed his studies working jointly at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology (ETH Zürich) with Prof. Hansjörg Grützmacher and at Case Western Reserve University with Prof. John Protasiewicz.

Gilliard joined the faculty at the University of Virginia as an Assistant Professor of Chemistry in the Fall of 2017. At UVA, he is also Director of Undergraduate Research. Gilliard is the guest editor for the upcoming Organometallics special issue on Main-Group Organometallic Chemistry and currently serves on the editorial advisory board for Chemical Communications, Chem Catalysis (Cell Press), and Inorganic Chemistry starting in 2021. He has received several awards and honors including the being named a Forbes Magazine 30 under 30, Inorganic Chemistry and Chemistry-A European Journal Emerging Investigator, Scialog Fellow (Research Corporation for Science Advancement and the Sloan Foundation), and most recently a Chemical and Engineering News Talented 12 Scholar.

Check the Gilliard Research Laboratory.


October 22, 2020
3:00 pm - 4:00 pm
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Elon Ison
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