Energy Center

Mahdi Abu-Omar

Contact Information

Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry
University of California Santa Barbara
Santa Barbara, CA 93106


Mahdi M. Abu-Omar was born in Jerusalem. He recieved his elementary and secondary education in Jerusalem and Cardiff (U.K.). In the Fall of 1988, Mahdi arrived in the United States of America to pursue higher education. He entered Hampden-Sydney College, Virginia and received his B.S. degree (summa cum laude) in Chemistry in 1992. During the undergraduate years, Mahdi conducted research in chemical kinetics (with Professor Willem Koppenol) and in computational chemistry (with Professor Kevin Dunn). For graduate study, Abu-Omar enrolled in Iowa State University, where he earned his Ph.D. in 1996 under the direction of Professor James Espenson on work in the area of mechanistic inorganic catalysis. California Institute of Technology, Pasadena, California then attracted Abu-Omar as an NIH postdoctoral scholar (bioinorganic chemistry) for a postdoctoral stint in the laboratories of Professor Harry Gray, where he worked on long-range electron transfer using rhenium-labeled proteins. He joined the faculty at the University of California, Los Angeles, Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry in 1997, and launched his independant research career in transition-metal catalysis and bioinorganic chemistry. Abu-Omar moved to Purdue University in 2003, where he is currently an Associate Professor of Chemistry.

Abu-Omar's research interests continue to encompass discovery and development of transition metal catalysts and investigating their reaction mechanisms. His current research projects are aimed at new applications of metal oxo and imido complexes in catalytic reductions and group transfer, respectively. Mahdi is also interested in bioinorganic problems that involve transition metal site as catalysts for biological oxidations.  

Expertise: Discovery and development of transition metal catalysts and investigating their reaction mechanisms



B.S. summa cum laude, Hampden-Sydney College Virginia 1992

PhD., Iowa State University, 1996

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