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Katherine Aubrecht, Associate Professor


B.A. Reed College, 1992
M.S. Cornell University, 1996
Ph.D. Cornell University, 1999
Postdoctoral Fellow University of Minnesota, 1999-2001

407 Chemistry
Phone: (631) 632-7901

Chemical Education

  1. Sustainability Education. Beyond the principles of Green Chemistry and Green Engineering, how should chemistry majors think about sustainability? What awareness should students have of the impact of anthropogenic chemical processes on the environment and the potential of chemistry to provide technological solutions to the great challenges we face? What awareness should students have of the human and social aspects of science and technology? Development of interdisciplinary curricula addressing sustainability.
  2. Chemistry in Context. How effective are "in context" approaches to chemical education at the secondary and tertiary levels? How do "in context" vs. traditional approaches affect students' comprehension, motivation, and attitude towards science? Development of " in context" curricula for chemistry majors.
  3. Informal Science Education. How can people of all ages be engaged in learning about the content and process of science?

Sustainable Materials

I am interested in the development of new biodegradable and/or biorenewable polymers as alternatives to petroleum-derived commodity polymers. Potential renewable feedstocks for new materials include plant oils, algal oils, chitin (from crustacean shells), and alginates (from seaweed). Additionally, we are studying the (bio)degradation of polymers in marine waters and sediments.

Selected Publications

Aubrecht, K. B.; Padwa, L.; Shen, X.; Bazargan, G. Development and Implementation of a Series of Laboratory Field Trips for Advanced High School Students To Connect Chemistry to Sustainability. J. Chem. Educ.  2015, 92, 631-637.

Yang, R.; Su, Y. Aubrecht, K. B.; Wang, X.; Ma, H.; Grubbs, R. B.; Hsiao, B. S.; Chu, B. Thiol Functionalized Chitin Nanofibers for As(III) Adsorption. Polymer  2015, 60, 9-17. 

Yang, R.; Aubrecht, K. B.; Ma, H. Wang, R.; Grubbs, R. B.; Hsiao, B. S.; Chu, B. Thiol-modified Cellulose Nanofibrous Composite Membranes for Chromium (VI) and Lead (II) Adsorption. Polymer   2014, 55, 1167-1176. 

 Cai, Y.; Aubrecht, K. B.; Grubbs, R. B. Thermally-induced Changes in Amphiphilicity Drive Reversible Restructuring of Assemblies of ABC Triblock Copolymers with Statistical Polyether Blocks. J. Am. Chem. Soc. 2011, 133, 1058. 

Robert, J. L.; Aubrecht, K. B. "Ring Opening Polymerization of Lactide to Form a Biodegradable Polymer: an Organic Chemistry Laboratory" J. Chem. Educ.   2008, 85, 258.

Wiberg, K. B.; Hintz, W.; Jarret, R. M.; Aubrecht, K. B. "Conformational Preferences for 1,2- and 1,4-Difluorocyclohexane" J. Org. Chem.   2005, 70, 8381.

Aubrecht, K. B.; Grubbs, R. B. "Synthesis and Characterization of Thermoresponsive Amphiphilic Block Copolymers Incorporating a Poly(Ethylene oxide-stat-Propylene oxide) Block" J. Polym. Sci., Part A: Polym. Chem.  2005, 43, 5156.

Aubrecht, K. B.; Hillmyer, M. A.; Tolman, W. B. "Polymerization of D,L-Lactide by Monomeric Sn(II) Alkoxide Complexes" Macromolecules  2002, 35, 644.

Aubrecht, K. B.; Chang, K.; Hillmyer, M. A.; Tolman, W. B. "Lactide Polymerization Activity of Alkoxide, Phenoxide, and Amide Derivatives of Yttrium(III) Arylamidinates" J. Polym. Sci., Part A: Polym. Chem. 2001, 39, 284.

Aubrecht, K. B.; Winemiller, M. D.; Collum, D. B. "BF 3-Mediated Addition of Lithium Phenylacetylide to an Imine: Correlations of Structures and Reactivities. BF 3•R 3N Derivatives as Substitutes for BF 3•Et 2O." J. Am. Chem. Soc.  2000, 122, 11084.

Rai, R.; Aubrecht, K. B.; Collum, D. B. "Palladium-Catalyzed Stille Couplings of Aryl-, Vinyl-, and Alkyltrichlorostannanes in Aqueous Solution" Tetrahedron Lett. 1995, 36, 3111.