Paula Diaconescu joined the UCLA Chemistry & Biochemistry department in 2005, after spending two years as a postdoctoral fellow in the group of Professor Robert Grubbs at the California Institute of Technology. She obtained her Ph.D. degree under the supervision of Professor Christopher Cummins at Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Her earlier education was completed in Romania, where she obtained her B.S. from the University of Bucharest, and worked on coordination complexes of transition metals and lanthanides at the University Politehnica of Bucharest.
The Diaconescu group is interested in developing fundamental concepts and apply them to catalysis. Current research efforts focus on redox switchable catalysts. This new area of chemistry is inspired by nature’s sensory processes and uses external agents as switches in order to control the catalytic activity of multiple species with different reactivity. The findings from this project are being applied to the controlled synthesis of multiblock copolymers. Recently, Paula became the director of NSF’s Center for Integrated Catalysis, which is interested in integrating molecular catalysis and materials science to achieve streamlined chemical synthesis from abundant feedstocks.
ABC and ABAB Block Copolymers by Electrochemically Controlled Ring-Opening Polymerization. Hern, Zach C.; Stephanie M. Quan, Stephanie; Ruxi; Lai, Amy; Yihang Wang, Yihang; Liu, Chong; Diaconescu, Paula L. J. Am. Chem. Soc. 2021 , 143, 47, 19802–19808
A switchable dimeric yttrium complex and its three catalytic states in ring opening polymerization. Deng, Shijie; Diaconescu, Paula L. Inorg. Chem. Front. 2021 , 8, 2088-2096
Developing a Virtual Reality Approach toward a Better Understanding of Coordination Chemistry and Molecular Orbitals. Dai, Ruxi; Laureanti, Joseph A.; Kopelevich, Max; Diaconescu, Paula L. J. Chem. Educ. 2020, 97, 10, 3647-3651
Computational mapping of redox-switchable metal complexes based on ferrocene derivatives. Lai, Amy; Clifton, Jamie; Diaconescu, Paula L.; Fey, Natalie. Chem. Commun. 2019, 55, 7021-7024
Redox-Switchable Ring-Opening Polymerization with Ferrocene Derivatives. Wei, Junnian; Diaconescu, Paula L. Accounts of Chemical Research 2019, 52 (2) , 415-424
Preparation of Multiblock Copolymers via Step-wise Addition of L-lactide and Trimethylene Carbonate. Abubekerov, Mark; Wei, Junnian; Swartz, Kevin R.; Xie, Zhixin; Pei, Qibing; Diaconescu, Paula L. Chem. Sci. 2018, 9, 2168-2178
Redox Switchable Copolymerization of Cyclic Esters and Epoxides by a Zirconium Complex. Quan, Stephanie M.; Wang, Xinke; Zhang, Rongjia; Diaconescu, Paula L. Macromolecules 2016, 49 (18), 6768–6778
Redox Control of Group 4 Metal Ring-Opening Polymerization Activity toward l-Lactide and e-Caprolactone. Xinke Wang, Arnaud Thevenon, Jonathan L. Brosmer, Insun Yu, Saeed I. Khan, Parisa Mehrkhodavandi, Paula L. Diaconescu J. Am. Chem. Soc. 2014, 136 (32), 11264-11267
Redox control of a polymerization catalyst by changing the oxidation state of the metal center. Erin M. Broderick, Neng Guo, Tianpin Wu, Carola S. Vogel, Cuiling Xu, Jorg Sutter, Jeffrey T. Miller, Karsten Meyer, Thibault Cantat and Paula L. Diaconescu Chem. Commun. 2011, 47, 9897-9899
Redox Control of a Ring-Opening Polymerization Catalyst. Erin M. Broderick, Neng Guo, Carola S. Vogel, Cuiling Xu, Joerg Sutter, Jeffrey T. Miller, Karsten Meyer, Parisa Mehrkhodavandi, and Paula L. Diaconescu J. Am. Chem. Soc. 2011, 133(24), 9278-9281