COSAM » COSAM Faculty » Chemistry and Biochemistry » David Stanbury

David Stanbury
Chemistry and Biochemistry
J. Milton Harris Professor

Research Areas: Inorganic

179 Chemistry Building
Auburn, AL 36849

Phone: (334) 844-6988
Fax: (334) 844-6959


U. Southern California, Ph. D.
B.A., Duke University

Professional Employment

Professor, Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry, Auburn University
1994- present
Visiting Scholar, University of Washington
January- June 2010
Visiting Associate, Caltech
January- June 1999
Program Officer, National Science Foundation (Leave of Absence)
1992- 1993
Tenure granted
Spring 1990
Associate Professor, Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry
1987- 1994

Honors and Awards

Dr. J Milton Harris Professor, Auburn University
August 2012- present
Editoral Board, BioInorganic Reaction Mechanisms
2010- 2014
Dean's Faculty Research Award
Auburn University Alumni Professorship
1993- 1998
Sloan Fellow
1992- 1996
Auburn University Graduate Council Member
1991- 1992
Local ACS Section Chairman
Local ACS Section Chairman- elect

Professional Activities

American Chemical Society
American Association for the Advancement of Science

Research and Teaching Interests

Inorganic Chemistry:  Mechanisms of inorganic redox reactions in solution.

Dr. Stanbury's research is concerned with the mechanisms of inorganic redox reactions in solution. Recent areas of interest include the reduction of O2 by Fe(II) complexes and the oxidation of phenols thiols by various transition-metal complexes. Motivation for the work comes from applications to energy technology, environmental remediation, and understanding biochemical reaction mechanisms.

                The O2 research is motivated by the need to develop effective catalysts for the reduction of O2 to water, which is needed for useful fuel cells. In the current research we are investigating Fe(II) complexes that have a labile coordination site to facilitate the bonding to O2. An inner-sphere mechanism is essential for such catalysts, because a substitution-inert reductant would necessarily reduce O2 to O2 or HO2, and formation of these oxygen radicals imposes an energetic barrier tht is much too high.

                The phenol research entails studies of oxidation by substitution-inert metal complexes. These oxidants cause phenol to be oxidized to phenoxyl radicals, and in the process the phenolic proton is transfered to the solvent. Reactions such as these are known as PCET reactions (Proton-Coupled Electron Transfer). Phenols are particularly important to study in this context, because of the essential role that PCET of tyrosine (a phenol) plays in the functioning of ribonucleotide reductase, photosystem II, and cytochrome c oxidase.

                Our studies of thiols parallel those of the phenols in the sense that we use substitution-inert oxidants to enforce an electron-transfer mechanism that generates thiyl radicals. However, differences abound. For one thing, these thiol oxidations are highly susceptible to catalysis by submicromolar concentrations of copper ions. Also, we are finding that the reactions invariably proceed through prior loss of the thiol proton; it is the thiolate species that actually undergoes oxidation. In contrast, phenols can react through their phenolate forms, but they can also be oxidized directly.

Stanbury image

Selected Publications

  1. "Recent Advances in the Kinetics and Mechanisms of Oxidation of Sulfur Compounds", ECIRM 2014 conference, Debrecen, Hungary, June 19, 2014
  2. “Oxidation of Cysteine Sulfinic Acid in Aqueous Solution by [IrCl6]2–“ Nootan Bhattarai and David M. Stanbury, Inorganic Reaction Mechanisms Gordon Conference, Galveston, TX, March 3-8, 2013

  3. “Oxidation of Glutathione in Aqueous Solution by [IrCl6] 2–, [Fe(bpy)2(CN)2]+, and [Fe(bpy)(CN)4]–“ Nootan Bhattarai and David M. Stanbury, Inorganic Reaction Mechanisms Gordon conference, Galveston, TX, March 6-11, 2011

  4. “Kinetic effects of overoxidation in the aqueous reaction of phenol with [IrCl6]2–“ N. 22 Song; Stanbury, D. M. 239th ACS National Meeting, San Francisco, March 21-25, 2010, INOR 760.

  5. “Oxidation of Phenols in Aqueous Solution by [IrCl6]2–” Na Song & David M. Stanbury, Inorganic Reaction Mechanisms Gordon conference, Galveston, TX, March 8-13, 2009

Last updated: 05/27/2016