Kim Renee Dunbar Discusses Her Inorganic Chemistry Research Group at Texas A&M University
Kim Renee Dunbar, an acclaimed scientist in the field of inorganic chemistry, founded the Dunbar Research Group in Lansing, Michigan at Michigan State University in 1987 and later moved her research enterprise to College Station at Texas A&M University in 1999 where she is a Distinguished Professor. Kim Renee Dunbar said this group is one of the projects of which she is most proud, as she has the chance to inspire many young students to pursue chemistry and to be curious about the subjects in science that interest them.
“The Dunbar research group focuses on coordination chemistry, but we also have researched many other topics of inorganic chemistry,” Kim Renee Dunbar said. Indeed, everything from anti-cancer compounds to molecular magnetism are researched by the group. A lot of the topics researched are based on what members of the group are interested in, Kim Renee Dunbar said.
Kim Renee Dunbar was named a Davidson Professor of Science at Texas A&M University in 2004 and is now holder of the Davidson Chair in Science. She was the first female to be given an endowed Chair in the history of the Texas A&M College of Science. She received a Graduate Mentoring Award from the university in 2006.
According to the Dunbar Research Group webpage, “research in the Dunbar Research Group spans a number of topics in synthetic and structural inorganic chemistry with a focus on problems at the interface of materials and biological chemistry.” Physical techniques like Electronic, EPR, infrared spectroscopies, X-ray crystallography, AC and DC magnetic magnetometry, and electrochemistry are mastered by her group members.
“The Dunbar Research Group students, postdoctoral researchers and Visiting Scholars are committed to investigating a breadth of problems,” said Kim Renee Dunbar.
The group is highly international, with a strong commitment to collaboration, which makes them a pleasure to work with, Kim Renee Dunbar said. It is made up of a Visiting scholar, two postdoctoral Research Associates, nine Ph.D. students and two undergraduate students. Members of the group must perform their own measurements and interpret their data. Written and oral communication skills are emphasized by presenting at weekly group meetings and providing written reports.
I focus not only on research in mentoring my group, I also emphasize skills that will benefit them in any future career, especially public speaking and writing, so I make it a priority for them to acquire strong skills in a wide variety of areas ,” Kim Renee Dunbar said. The students also work on writing their own publications and attend conferences to present their findings, allowing them to network with others and gain real-world experience.
Another key component of the Dunbar Research Group is collaborating with national and international scientists. This “allows for the group to expand the level of our understanding in specialized areas,” according to the Dunbar Research Group website.