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  • Joe Topczewski

    Assistant Professor

    • Organic Chemistry, synthesis, catalysis, and methodology
    • Inorganic & Organometallic Chemistry, synthesis, catalysis, and methodology
    • Environmental & Green Chemistry, inherently sustainable synthesis
    • Polymer Chemistry, sustainable synthesis
    • Chemical Biology, Medicinal Chemistry
    • B.S. University of Wisconsin, 2007
    • Ph.D. University of Iowa, 2011, (David Wiemer)
    • Post Doctorate University of Iowa, 2011-2013 (Hien Nguyen and Daniel Quinn), University of Michigan, 2013-2015 (Melanie Sanford)
    Office: 568B Kolthoff Hall

Principal Research Interests

The fundamental goal of the Topczewski lab is to make chemical synthesis sustainable. Presently, consumer products, which range from plastic bottles to modern pharmaceuticals, are almost exclusively derived from the arduous refining of petroleum. This is inherently unsustainable and two approaches exist to bridge the sustainability gap: 1) to develop more efficient ways to use dwindling fossil fuels and 2) to develop methods to sustainably use biomass as a feedstock for chemical synthesis. For either of these approaches to make an impact, one must qualify what is meant by "more efficient" and " sustainable." This necessitates the use of quantitative metrics to be used as a guiding principle. To these ends, a number of projects are underway including: 1) direct catalytic approached to high value products such as chiral amines and carbocycles, designing catalytic cycles to enable the conversion of renewable feedstocks to monomers, and the utilization and development of metrics to evaluate synthetic methods.

Joseph Topczewski research graphic

Honors and Awards

  • National Institutes of Health Maximizing Investigators’ Research Award, 2017
  • National Institutes of Health Ruth L. Kirschstein NRSA Postdoctoral Fellow, 2014-2015
  • American Chemical Society Division of Medicinal Chemistry Predoctoral Fellow, 2010-2011
  • A. Lynn Anderson Award for Excellence in Graduate Research, 2010
  • UW-Parkside Outstanding Graduate, 2007

Mailing Address

  • Joseph Topczewski, University of Minnesota, Department of Chemistry
  • B-9, 139 Smith Hall, 207 Pleasant St SE
  • Minneapolis, MN 55455-0431