Bioinorganic and coordination chemistry

The group of Zeev Gross studies the unique coordination chemistry of transition- and post-transition metal ions, chelated by trianionic corroles. This includes the extraordinarily large stability of high-valent metals & the outstanding reactivity of low-valent metal complexes, used for oxidation and reduction catalysis of the most important energy-relevant processes. Tuning of the photophysical and chemical properties of the metallocorroles is achieved via design of selective syntheses, investigated by both theory and spectroscopy, and utilized for a variety of photo-driven transformations. Supramolecular assemblies are designed for inducing selectivity of chemical reactions relevant to clean energy, such as the reduction of water’s protons to hydrogen gas and the selective 4e-/4H+ reduction of molecular oxygen to water.

Metal-binding biopolymers play a significant role in processes such as folding, recognition and catalysis due to their high affinity towards specific metal ions, which they bind selectively from the cellular pool. Many enzymes can bind two or more metal ions, each at a specific binding site, to enable efficient cooperative function. Imitating these abilities might lead to the production of biomimetic materials such as unique chelators and catalysts. The Maayan’s group study the interactions between peptidomimetic oligomers called peptoids and biologically relevant metal ions and demonstrate biomimetic function such as (1) selective recognition and binding of one metal ion from a mixture solution, (2) selective binding of two metal ions in two different binding site via self-assembly, cooperative binding and folding upon metal coordination.