All Faculty | Alpha List | Research Division List

Justin R. Walensky

Research Emphasis

Actinide chemistry; Synthesis; Density Functional Theory; Group 11 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

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. Welch 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 three areas: 1) Structure, bonding, spectroscopy, and reactivity of actinide complexes, 2) Group 11 reactivity, and 3) Computational chemistry.

1) Actinide Chemistry

We are interested in exploring the fundamental nature of actinide-ligand bonding with soft donor ligands such as S and Se. Soft donor ligands are relevant to separation methods as sulfur-based ligands have been shown to have more selectivity towards actinides over lanthanides.


Publications in this area: 
Inorg. Chem. 2013, 52, 10623
Eur. J. Inorg. Chem. 2013, 4050 (special issue on small molecule activation)
Radiochim. Acta 2013, 101, 631
Dalton Trans. 2015, 43, in press (special issue on f-element chemistry)

2) Group 11 Chemistry

Group 11 elements have importance as fluorescent probes, sensors, and biological systems. The reactivity of dinuclear group 11 complexes, especially with amidinate ligands, is being investigated to examine the luminescence, metallophilic interactions, and redox chemistry.


Publications in this area: 
Inorganics 2014, 2, in press (special issue on Frontier in Gold Chemistry)

3) Computational Chemistry

We collaborate with way more talented synthetic chemists 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, 3556 (Forum Article)
Chem. Eur. J. 2013, 19, 10162
Nature Chem. 2014, 6, in press

 Recent Representative Publications

See the website for a list of publications.

Justin R. Walensky

Assistant Professor

203 Chemistry
Tel: 573-882-0608



Group Website