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Justin R. Walensky

Research Emphasis

Coordination and organometallic chemistry of the actinides in fundamental understanding of molecular and electronic structure as well as bonding; Density Functional Theory; Coinage metal chemistry.


  • BA, New College of Florida, 2005

  • PhD, University of California, Irvine, 2009

Professional Experience
  • Assistant Professor, Missouri, 2011-Present

  • Postdoctoral Research Associate, Texas A&M University, 2010-2011

Honors and Awards

  • 2013
  • Southeastern Conference (SEC) travel grant award
  • 2011-2014
  • Nuclear Forensics Junior Faculty Award, Department of Homeland Security, Domestic Nuclear Detection Office
  • 2011
  • CIBA Young Scientist Travel Award, American Chemical Society
  • 2010
  • Robert A. Welsh Foundation Postdoctoral Fellowship
  • 2009
  • Glenn T. Seaborg Institute Fellowship, Los Alamos National Laboratory
  • 2006
  • Chemistry Graduate Student Teaching Award: Contributions to the Chemistry Department Teaching Program by a First Year Teaching Assistant.


Our research is divided into four areas: 1) Structure, bonding, spectroscopy, and reactivity of actinide complexes, 2) Schiff Base chemistry, 3) Group 11 reactivity, and 4) Computational chemistry of transition metal and actinide complexes.

1) Actinide Chemistry

We are interested in exploring the fundamental nature of actinide-ligand bonding with soft donor ligands such as S, Se, Te, P, and As. Soft donor ligands are relevant to separation methods as sulfur-based ligands have been shown to have more selectivity towards actinides over lanthanides. The structure, bonding, and reactivity of actinide complexes with soft donor ligands is our primary focus.

Publications in this area: 
Eur. J. Inorg. Chem. 2013, 4050.
Inorg. Chem. 2013, 52, 10623.

2) Schiff Base Chemistry

Salicylaldiminate is a subset of Schiff bases which can chelate the actinide and, in our case, are monoanionic and polydentate. We use these ligands to stabilize new metal complexes for further reactivity.

Publications in this area: 
Polyhedron 2013, 54, 300-308
Radiochim. Acta 2013, 101, in press.

3) Group 11 Chemistry

The insertion, redox chemistry, and chemical properties of Cu, Ag, Au compounds, especially with amidinate ligands, are being investigated.

4) Computational Chemistry

We collaborate with way more talented synthetic chemists in order to help with electronic structure and transition state calculations.

Publications in this area: 
J. Am. Chem. Soc. 2011, 133, 6894
J. Am. Chem. Soc. 2011, 133, 11732
Inorg. Chem. 2013, 52, in press (Forum Article)
Chem. Eur. J. 2013, 19, 16176.

 Recent Representative Publications

See the website for a list of publications.

Justin R. Walensky

Assistant Professor

Chemistry 203
Tel: 573-882-0608



Group Website