Kim Dunbar has had an impact on many industries with her research. She focuses on the relationship between materials in organic and inorganic chemistry. This field of research is known as coordination chemistry. It focuses on the structure, bonding, and properties of relationships between molecular materials. She is particularly interested in spintronics and molecular magnetism.
Spintronics and Molecular Magnetism
Spintronics has been around for decades, but current research is changing computing. Spintronics is a subdivision of physics, which focuses on manipulating the spin and flow of electrons. Essentially, this technology has functioned in a two dimensional way. Thanks to researchers like Kim Dunbar, this is changing. Spintronics uses both the electrical charge and the magnetism of electrons. Traditionally, magnets go north or south.
Combining spintronics and molecular magnetism allows individual magnetic molecules to be used. This allows for three-dimensional spintronics. According to Kim Dunbar, this method is ideal for quantum computing. It is believed that research in this area will lead to higher performing information storage and retrieval, as well as faster and less expensive production methods.
Instead of simply aligning north and south, molecular magnetism allows for spins to be entangled which gives rise to many more states than the usual binary “1” and “0” states.
Kim Dunbar says spintronics and molecular magnetism are also leading to advances in the medical field. Hearing aids using this technology can determine when the wearer is using their cell phone, and switch processes to compensate. They are also smaller and better able to withstand vibration. There’s current research into using this technology to create microchips that can detect cancer and other diseases. They can also provide advancements for devices like pacemakers.
Kim Dunbar Research
Kim Dunbar and her team have made some innovative discoveries. These include single-molecule magnets, spin transitions caused by charge transfer, high-temperature spin crossover, and magnetic photo-induced magnetic behavior. Photoinduced magnetic behavior is now being used to research photodynamic therapy drugs, which Kim Dunbar hopes to use to treat many conditions, including cancer.
Kim Dunbar was born in Pennsylvania. She grew up with three sisters. Education was very important to her family. She received her PhD in Inorganic Chemistry from Purdue University, and went on to conduct her Postdoctoral studies at Texas A&M University.
She is the first woman at Texas A&M University to be named a Chaired Professor in Science. She’s the second woman to receive the Distinguished Service Award for the Advancement of Inorganic Chemistry, which is awarded to top researchers in the field of inorganic chemistry. She is a prolific author as well as a researcher, with over 420 publications.
Kim Dunbar reports on a recent study on sandwich compounds powered by rare earth metals and discusses how these developments can lead to improved technology in the future.
Texas A&M University (TAMU) has developed an international reputation for excellence in recent decades, most notably for its science and research departments. Inorganic chemist Kim Dunbar is one of the university’s leading scientists and professors, and, below, she explains to readers how sandwich compounds and rare earth elements can mean big things for tech
“A team from the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT) are working hard to uncover new uses for sandwich compounds, which could prove applicable in technology by making storage media more efficient and improving displays, among other benefits,” says Kim Dunbar. “The rare earth elements at the core of these compounds are known for their special electronic or magnetic properties that we’ve already adapted to our high-tech products.”
Sandwich compounds are still being explored by scientists around the world, and their properties are still largely undiscovered. These chemical molecules form a pair of ring structures that entraps a single metal atom between them. The result is something that resembles a microscopic sandwich, hence their name.
The rings that make up the outer edges of the sandwich compounds are made up of carbon and a variable proportion of other elements, and their sizes depend on the experiment. Scientists from KIT aim to systematically vary the size and structure of the rings in the hopes that they will acquire a structure-effect relationship. For now, the team especially focuses on the molecules’ magnetism and luminescence as well as how the overall structure impacts its physical properties.
Kim Dunbar tells us that Professor Peter Roesky, who is the Head of the Chair for Inorganic Functional Materials of the Institute of Inorganic Chemistry (AOC), is leading the research at KIT. He and his team produce a variety of compound sandwich complexes in their facilities using atoms from rare earth elements as the centers.
“Society already employs rare earth elements in their day-to-day through various technologies like mobile displays and LED lamps,” says Kim Dunbar. “Using rare earth in the production of molecular compounds is a relatively new approach, but which can render tremendous improvements in the technologies we all rely on.”
In the future, results from these experiments will hopefully lead to a more concrete understanding of these novel materials and thus more advanced applications for society.
At Texas A&M University (TAMU), Kim Dunbar serves as the Davidson Professor of Science in the Chemistry Department. Her work, spanning decades of contributions to the international scientific community, has led to significant breakthroughs in areas like molecular magnetism and metals in medicine. The topics in her research encompass synthetic, structural, and physical inorganic and bio-inorganic chemistry among others.
Kim Dunbar has been recognized over the years for leading, inspiring, and creating opportunities for students to enhance their learning through scientific research. Here, she names potential career paths for students looking to earn degrees in chemistry.
“In chemistry, we study matter and its various interactions,” says Kim Dunbar. “This type of research and understanding is required in a range of positions internationally, from medical projects to product manufacturing. There are countless exciting career choices available today for students interested in chemistry degrees.”
Some companies, Kim Dunbar said, deal only in chemical compounds and need to regularly hire chemistry graduates as a result. Forensics and government labs are other career paths that rely on the insight and understanding of chemists, whether they are producing evidence of unlawfulness or approving new medicines––and everything in between. Even unlikely professions such as paint making and working with petroleum companies require the assistance of these graduates.
“Education is another field where chemists can succeed, whether it’s at the grade school level or through continued education,” says Kim Dunbar. “In addition, pharmaceutical companies are founded on the work of scientists and chemists, providing many entry-level and advanced positions following graduation.”
Chemistry graduates are able to curb their interests towards a variety of positions, whether they take steps towards a career in scientific writing, work towards being the gatekeeper of patent applications, make improvements in medicine and healthcare, or something else entirely. Some graduates, however, may want to only apply their education and interests in research––either primarily or solely. And there are plenty of jobs to do just that, says Kim R Dunbar.
“Research positions are available at institutions across the country and around the world, and they provide engaging and exciting opportunities to flex graduates’ problem-solving skills,” says Kim Dunbar. “Chemists in research roles come together to solve some of the world’s most pressing problems. They stay at the cutting edge of scientific developments, which is exciting on its own, and have huge potential to shape our world.”
Distinguished Texas A&M University professor Kim Renee Dunbar leads a research team who studies the supramolecular chemistry of anions among other critical scientific topics.
For decades, Kim Renee Dunbar has uncovered critical discoveries in chemistry that have gone on to have significant impacts in the international scientific community. She’s earned many top distinctions in her career, which has focused on novel applications in inorganic chemistry, such as the title of Davidson Professor of Science and the first female chair holder in the history of the College of Science at her university.
Dr. Dunbar has worked with pioneers in chemistry such as the late Professor F. Albert Cotton, a Distinguished Professor of Chemistry at Texas A&M University, and Professor Richard Walton of the John A. Leighty Distinguished Professorship and Emeritus at Purdue University. Kim Renee Dunbar and her team’s research spans many critical topics, namely molecular magnetism and supramolecular chemistry involving anions and anion-pi interactions.
“With the Dunbar group, students at Texas A&M conduct research in inorganic chemistry, especially coordination chemistry, to better understand relationships between molecular structure and physical properties,” says Kim Renee Dunbar. “Through our discoveries, we help pave the way for new solutions such as anti-cancer compounds and multifunctional materials that benefit people everywhere.”
On the study of supramolecular chemistry of anions, Kim Renee Dunbar says the topic is gaining a lot more recognition today as we learn more about its importance in vital chemical and biological processes. The Dunbar group is one of the pioneering teams behind the study of supramolecular chemistry, and it began with the synthesis and X-ray structures of cationic metal assemblies with encapsulated anions. One of the group’s notable discoveries is the confirmed presence of anion-heterocyclic ring contacts for electropositive ring systems.
“The project has developed into a highly interdisciplinary endeavor, encompassing coordination chemistry, computational chemistry, and biochemistry,” reads the Dunbar group’s homepage for supramolecular chemistry of anions. “The vital role of anions in many key chemical and biological processes and the involvement of pi rings in molecular anion recognition and transport processes indicate that anion-pi contacts may be prominent players in fields as diverse as medicine and environmental chemistry.”
It’s unquestionable that Kim Renee Dunbar and her research team are tackling major topics in science that have the potential to benefit people the world over. Through their work in the chemistry of anions, the team at Texas A&M University helps uncover significant breakthroughs that serve as stepping stones for scientists everywhere.
Renowned inorganic chemist at Texas A&M University, Kim Renee Dunbar expounds the usefulness of metals in medicine and explains how some positively impact our bodies.
Kim Renee Dunbar is a University Distinguished Professor who holds the Davidson Professor of Science title in the Chemistry Department at Texas A&M University. Over the years, she and her research team have received many top industry awards and international distinctions for their contributions to the international scientific community.
Often, Dr. Dunbar’s work leads her into the subject of metals in medicine, which she has written extensively on during her decades-long career. Here, she explains the usefulness of metals in medicine and discusses a few ways we’ve taken advantage of their healthy properties.
“We’ve used metals in medicine for thousands and thousands of years throughout a variety of cultures around the world,” says Kim Renee Dunbar. “Iron, for instance, was used to treat anemia and copper to treat inflammation in ancient civilizations. Today, we use metal in the treatment of cancer and other aggressive illnesses. Platinum-based drugs have proven especially helpful against fighting cancer, and we’re continually discovering new solutions for it and other metal-based approaches to medicine in general.”
Platinum drugs have been a major resource for fighting cancer since at least 1978 when the popular treatment Cisplatin was introduced. The platinum compounds are useful because they’re naturally negatively charged and become positively charged within cancer cells as water molecules replace chloride ions, driving them back. Kim Renee Dunbar goes on to say that the medical field also relies on metal ions in capital equipment processes such as medical imaging when searching for a diagnosis (such as in MRIs and radioisotope imaging), and that metals are also an essential part of our own bodies.
“Our bodies depend on certain metals and can severely degrade without proper amounts of them,” says Kim Renee Dunbar. “A lack of iron can result in anemia, and a lack of copper in infants can lead to heart disease and developmental issues among other potential effects.”
The human body uses metal to perform essential biological functions such as transporting oxygen throughout and prompting enzyme function. Gold salt complexes are used today by medical professionals treating arthritis while lithium has been used to treat manic depressive disorder. Silver is used in burn victims to help prevent wound infections while bismuth is commonly used as an antacid.
“Besides depending on metals to survive, we’ve found a number of powerful remedies using metal-based medicine that are utilized the world over,” says Kim Renee Dunbar. “Our research program at Texas A&M addresses several issues in the area of metals in medicinal applications, helping expand the possibilities of medicine everywhere.”
A respected chemist and professor at Texas A&M University, Kim Renee Dunbar has led her research group to international recognition by contributing a number of notable projects and findings to the scientific community. In addition, her research group makes an impact locally by inviting visitors each year to its facilities and inspiring young scientists through presentations.
From Texas A&M University, Kim Renee Dunbar leads the Dunbar Research Group, furthering the international scientific community’s understanding of applications in inorganic chemistry. She is a leading chemistry professor and department head at Texas A&M and has earned an impressive array of titles and awards for her career accomplishments.
In her research group, Dunbar coaches young scientists and leads peers to new discoveries that go on to further applications in labs and facilities around the world. The group finds funding in major institutions such as the United States Department of Energy, the American Chemical Society, the Welch Foundation, the National Institutes of Health, and the National Science Foundation. Through their support, Kim Renee Dunbar and her team are able to increase the international scientific community’s understanding of critical elements in chemistry.
The Dunbar Group focuses on topics in inorganic chemistry but puts a special emphasis on
coordination chemistry. In their research, they attempt to understand and be better capable of explaining relationships between molecular structures and physical properties. Dunbar oversees research on subjects like molecular magnetism, anti-cancer compounds, and multifunctional materials with organic radicals. What she and her team uncover help scientists develop projects that aid humanity through solutions like stronger building materials, improved disease treatments, novel compounds and much more.
Researchers within the Dunbar group expand their chemical knowledge beyond the boundaries of their individual degrees. Their work allows them to gain experience in several state-of-the-art techniques and instrumentation and equips them for careers in chemistry as well as provides a launch pad for continued education. They experiment with air-free synthesis (glovebox and Schlenk-line), X-ray crystallography, SQUID magnetometry, mass spectrometry, computational chemistry, cell viability assays, electrochemistry, and electronic, EPR, infrared, and NMR Spectroscopies.
The Dunbar Research group also has a tremendous impact in their local community: During National Chemistry Week each year, the Texas A&M Chemistry department holds an open house that allows members of the community, especially young students, to come and explore the world of chemistry. Kim Renee Dunbar and her group actively participate with the open house by running stations hosting hands-on experiments for the public like polymer smoothies, ferrofluids, and UV fluorescent nail polish.
Kim Renee Dunbar is respected by her team, her university, and the larger scientific community for the landmark contributions she’s made across a career spanning three decades. For her contributions, she was named a Davidson Professor of Science, a Distinguished Professor of Chemistry, and received the ACS Award for Distinguished Service in the Advancement of Inorganic Chemistry among a range of other accreditations.
Known around the world for her breakthroughs in inorganic chemistry, Kim Renee Dunbar has helped improve the scientific understanding and application of the subject for decades. Among many other prestigious awards and titles, Dunbar was invited to be a guest speaker at the first-ever Ken and Nancy Long Chemistry Lecture at Westminster College.
Westminster College has garnered a reputation for educational excellence over the years, most notably in areas of chemistry and other applied sciences. When it came time for the inaugural Ken and Nancy Long Chemistry Lecture, the institution was careful to select someone who has had a tremendous impact on the field and who continues paving the way for future scientists.
They chose Kim Renee Dunbar to present during the lecture, demonstrating the caliber of professionals and of the research they hope to foster in their own programs. Dunbar was invited to speak at Westminster College to share her critical insight and research on inorganic chemistry with the assembly, helping uphold the institution’s reputation for excellence through enlightening topics.
The lecture series was initially funded by Dr. Ken Long, who is the Westminster professor of chemistry emeritus, and his wife, Nancy. It was created to invite outstanding chemists to speak to Westminster students, share the work they’ve conducted, and inspire future leaders through superb education. During the lecture, Dunbar spoke about the potentials in the field of medicine, as well as shared insight to her own research, “Metals in Medicine throughout the Ages: From Ancient Egypt to Victorian England to the 21st Century.”
In her decades-long career, Kim Renee Dunbar has made strides in our understanding of new and improved applications in chemistry, especially inorganic chemistry. For her impactful work, she has been awarded a variety of distinctions and granted fellowships with respected facilities, most notably for her work conducted at Texas A&M University in College Station. She’s often invited to speak to students of science, serving as a role model and demonstrating what can still be achieved in the field of chemistry.
Among other invitations to top scientific lectures around the world, she was asked to share her
insight with the students and faculty of Westminster College for the first-ever Ken and Nancy
Long Chemistry Lecture.
Dr. Ken Long, who worked with Dunbar at Westminster, said, “Kim Renee Dunbar was outstanding as a student and has been highly successful as a graduate. We are proud of her accomplishments and are delighted she is the first Ken and Nancy Long Chemistry Lecturer.”
Westminster College has set the bar for higher education since it first opened its doors to students. Here, world-class scientific programs set many students on track for their own applied research and breakthroughs in a number of subfields, such as chemistry and inorganic chemistry. Ultimately, Kim Renee Dunbar embodies the success the institution hopes for all the future scientists enrolled in its programs.
From Texas A&M University, Professor of Chemistry Kim Renee Dunbar has overseen a team of researchers whose combined work has had a tremendous impact on the international scientific community. Recognizing Dunbar for her singular achievements, the university bestowed her with the first-ever Eminent Scholar Award.
Kim Renee Dunbar has been recognized as a leader in the field of inorganic industry for decades, and she is regularly recognized for her outstanding contributions to science. As Professor of Chemistry at Texas A&M University, she inspires future scientists in the classroom and in research groups where she and her team make revolutionary discoveries.
Because of her impact on the university and the broader scientific community, Kim Renee has received a number of accolades and titles in a career spanning decades. She’s a fellow of the American Chemical Society (ACS) and has received the Camille and Henry Dreyfus Teacher-Scholar Award in the past. She’s received the Association of Former Students
Distinguished Achievement Award twice and was also given the inaugural Eminent Scholar Award from Texas A&M University.
The Eminent Scholar Award honors the extraordinary achievements of female university faculty members like Dunbar who positively impact their professional fields as well as their local communities. The mission of Texas A&M University is to uphold the discovery, development, communication, and application of knowledge in a range of academic and professional fields, and the Scholar Award recognizes those who have exemplified these characteristics to the fullest. Eligible candidates of the Eminent Scholar Award must first serve as a tenured full professor for at least two years with the University and be recognized as an exemplary role model to both students and faculty within and out of their department.
Kim Renee Dunbar received the first-ever Eminent Scholar Award in 2011, which recognized her original and landmark research especially in the field of inorganic chemistry. It is a partnership between Texas A&M University and the Aggie Women Network aimed to identify the women who best exemplify the university’s mission. Together, they work to ensure that female faculty members are appreciated for their positive influence on the educational experience of students and peers, and for their individual contributions to their respected fields.
In the past, Kim Renee Dunbar has shed light on topics like synthetic, structural, and physical inorganic and bioinorganic chemistry, which catapulted her and her research team to international recognition. She’s taught at Texas A&M University since 1999 and achieved the status of the first woman in the College of Science to receive a named Chair. Today, she holds the Davison Chair and is honored with the title of University Distinguished Professor. Her work in chemistry and her efforts to uphold the university’s core mission made Kim Renee Dunbar the perfect candidate for the first Eminent Scholar Award.
Kim Renee Dunbar is a world-renowned chemist and professor at Texas A&M University where she and her research team contribute landmark discoveries to the international scientific community. For her outstanding contributions to the study of inorganic chemistry, the American Chemical Society bestowed Dunbar with the prestigious Distinguished Service Award.
A chemistry professor at Texas A&M University Kim Renee Dunbar has earned many top accolades and titles across a career spanning decades of research. Her contributions to the field of inorganic chemistry are known in labs and facilities around the world and have helped shaped a range of new solutions in fields like medicine. To honor her achievements in the advancement of inorganic chemistry, Dunbar received the prestigious ACS Distinguished Service award.
“I have been passionate about inorganic chemistry since I was an undergraduate, and I could not imagine another career,” Kim Renee Dunbar said. “I deeply admire the previous recipients of the award, all of whom set the bar very high for all of us in inorganic chemistry and inspired me greatly. I am highly honored to receive this award, and the many excellent students, postdocs, and coworkers who have contributed to the success of my research program share it with me.”
The ACS award stands as one of the most respected distinctions in chemistry that recognizes scientists who have advanced inorganic chemistry and provided outstanding research that benefits the entire international scientific community. Recipients receive $5,000 and a certificate declaring their achievement in addition to $1,000 for travel expenses to the award ceremony.
Eligibility for the ACS award requires nominees like Kim Renee Dunbar to demonstrate landmark contributions to the advancement of inorganic chemistry through teaching, writing, research, and the administration of chemistry. Nominees must also be ACS members prior to being nominated. The ACS award was established in 1963 through funds from anonymous donors. After two years, Mallinckrodt, Inc. supported the award until 1997 when Strem Chemicals, Inc. assumed its sponsorship.
Besides the respected ACS award, Kim Renee Dunbar has also won a Camille & Henry Dreyfus Teacher-Scholar Award, an Alfred P. Sloan Foundation Fellowship, and fellowships in both the American Association for the Advancement of Science and the American Institute of Chemists. In addition, she’s a two-time recipient of the Texas A&M Association of Former Students Distinguished Achievement Award as well as the first recipient ever of the Texas A&M Women Former Students’ Network Eminent Scholar Award. She’s taught at and conducted research from Texas A&M University for decades and has earned the institution’s highest academic faculty rank, the Distinguished Professor of Chemistry title.
“She stands as an exemplary role model for young women who aspire to academic positions in chemistry,” says Jeffrey R. Long of the University of California, Berkeley, who is a longtime colleague.
Across a career spanning decades of research, Kim Renee Dunbar has had a tremendous impact on the international scientific community’s understanding of inorganic chemistry. Recognized for her distinguished contributions to science, Dunbar was asked to be a guest speaker during Westminster College’s first inaugural Ken and Nancy Long Chemistry Lecture.
Over the years, Kim Renee Dunbar has been awarded a number of titles and distinctions for her impactful work in inorganic chemistry, most notably at Texas A&M University in College Station. Among other invitations to top scientific lectures around the world, she was asked to share her insight with the students and faculty of Westminster College for the first-ever Ken and Nancy Long Chemistry Lecture.
Dr. Ken Long, who worked with Dunbar at Westminster, said, “Kim Renee Dunbar was outstanding as a student and has been highly successful as a graduate. We are proud of her accomplishments and are delighted she is the first Ken and Nancy Long Chemistry Lecturer.”
A national leader in educational excellence, guest speakers like Kim Renee Dunbar demonstrate the caliber of professionals they wish to foster through their programs. Dunbar was invited to speak at Westminster College to share her critical insight and research on inorganic chemistry with the assembly, helping uphold the institution’s reputation for excellence.
The lecture series is funded by Dr. Ken Long, Westminster professor of chemistry emeritus, and his wife, Nancy, to invite outstanding chemists to speak to Westminster students. During the lecture, Dunbar spoke about her research, “Metals in Medicine throughout the Ages: From Ancient Egypt to Victorian England to the 21st Century.”
Westminster College has set the bar for higher education since it first opened in 1852 in New Wilmington, Pennsylvania. With an affiliation with the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), they are one of the earliest coeducational colleges in the nation, founded to promote the spirit and values of Christianity while focusing on the development of the individual – intellectually, spiritually, and socially – which still rings true today.
Westminster is proud of the rich heritage it provides, and highly optimistic about its future. Serving the diverse needs of its students has enabled Westminster to become one of the nation’s finest liberal arts colleges. Today, it is recognized for its high-level presence and is a top-tier liberal arts college as well as a national leader in graduation rate performance, according to U.S. News Best Colleges guide. Westminster is also honored as one of “The Best 379 Colleges” by The Princeton Review, and is named to the President’s Honor Roll for excellence in service learning.
Westminster College draws in world-class professionals such as Kim Renee Dunbar to encourage independent thinking and deliver superb education to its student body. Having Dunbar speak at the institution’s first Ken and Nancy Long Chemistry Lecture is testament to their efforts to create an exceptional learning environment for students, alumni, and staff.