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Craig McLauchlan

Associate Vice President for Research and Graduate Studies
Hovey Hall - HOV 401J
Office Hours
By appointment
  • About
  • Education
  • Awards & Honors
  • Research

Teaching Interests & Areas

Inorganic Chemistry, General Chemistry, Materials and Solid-State Chemistry

Research Interests & Areas

Currently, my research interests lie with vanadium coordination chemistry, with one project focused on materials and catalysis and another involving bio-mimetic activity of vanadium complexes. These topics have been chosen with student interests and education in mind in that they each expose students to a variety of synthetic and characterization techniques while pursuing some intriguing chemical problems. A brief summary of each project follows. For more information, please feel free to browse the group website ( or contact me directly.

Open Framework Vanadium-Phosphonates as Catalysts
Vanadium is used quite extensively for oxidation catalysis-- specifically for sulfuric acid production. Recently, it has been demonstrated that a vanadyl phosphate catalyst transforms C4H10 to maleic anhydride. Can simple reactions be used to make vanadium phosphates and phosphonates for catalytic use? It has been shown that reactions of phosphonic acids with metal alkyl reagents leads to the formation of cage structures. Metal -oxy and -amino complexes have also been reacted with phosphonic acids to create these open frameworks. The work in this area has, thus far, been limited to gallium and aluminum alkyl species. Other metal systems could be explored and, perhaps, expose new structures with unusual properties. With an open framework like a zeolite, vanadium species such as these could possess high surface areas conducive to effective catalysis. It is the goal of this work to produce new vanadium-phosphate or -phosphonate complexes that possess open frameworks and to study their catalytic properties. Lately, we have been working with tris-pyrazolylmethanesulfonate or cyclopentadienylphosphonate complexes bridged by a series of phosphonates. (ICA 2009, IC 2012, ICA 2014)

Biomimetic Uses of Vanadium: Insulin-Enhancing V Complexes
Over the past 30 years, a number of vanadium complexes have been shown to be "insulin mimetic", that is, to diminish blood glucose levels, when administered as therapeutic agents to diabetics. More recent studies have shown that these complexes do not actually mimic insulin, but merely enhance the effects of the small quantities of insulin that are present. A variety of coordination complexes containing combinations of N/S/O donor sets all seem effective in reducing blood glucose levels regardless of which donor set is employed. Complexes with ligand systems including dithiolenes (S/S), cysteine-amines (S/N), picolinates (N/O), catecholates (O/O), salen (N/O), and guanidine (N/N) have all been employed, all almost exclusively with V4+ and V5+ systems. The disparate nature of the ligands suggests that it is the metal center and not the ligand that is playing the dominant role in therapy. To date, bis(picolinato)oxovanadium(IV) (VO(pico)2) is one of the most effective coordination complex being investigated for use in diabetic therapy. Although initial studies were with VO43-, a V5+ complex, subsequent studies have shown that V complexes, whether administered as V3+, V4+, or V5+ complexes, all seem to be effective in reducing blood glucose levels. One of the dangers of using V complexes for diabetic therapies is the accumulation of V in the body, especially in the bone with, as yet, unknown physiological consequences. With appropriate ligand choice, the required dose may be minimized. We synthesize and characterize new vanadium complexes with varying oxidation states and examine their efficacy in inhibiting enzymes. We then implement the acquired knowledge in the synthesis of vanadium coordination complexes to be studied for bio-mimetic insulin-enhancing properties. Lately we have been using the ligands picolinate, anthranilate, and imidazolylcarboxylate with vanadium as V3+, V4+, or V5+ complexes or with decavanadate, V10O286-. (JIB 2010, JIB 2012)

Ph D Chemistry

Northwestern University
Evanston, IL, USA

MS Chemistry

Northwestern University
Evanston, IL, USA

Other Chemistry

Harvard University
Cambridge, MA, USA

ISU College of Arts and Sciences Outstanding Teacher Award (STEM)

Illinois State University

Illinois State University 2006-2007 University Research Initiative Award

Illinois State University

ISU College of Arts and Sciences Dean's Award for Outstanding Teaching

Illinois State University

National Science Foundation Faculty Career Development (CAREER) Award

National Science Foundation

University Teaching Initiative Award

Illinois State University

National Research Service Award Postdoctoral Fellowship

National Institutes of Health

Eagle Scout Award


Conference Proceeding

McLauchlan, C. It Takes Two to Tango: Cliché-Riddled Strategies to Get Student to “Buy In” to Student Response Device (aka Clicker) Use. Classroom Response Systems: Innovations and Best Practices (2010)

Journal Article

Coordination Environment Changes of the Vanadium in Vanadium-Dependent Haloperoxidase Enzymes, Aureliano, M.; Gumerova, N. I.; Sciortino, E.; McLauchlan, C. C.; Rompel, A.; Crans, D. C. Coord. Chem. Rev. 2022, 454, 214344 (21 pgs). [doi: 10.1016/j.ccr.2021.214344 ]
Chin, C., Ren, Y., Berry, J., Knott, S.A., McLauchlan, C.C., & Szczepura, L.F. Small molecule activation of nitriles coordinated to the [Re6Se8]2+ core: formation of oxazine, oxazoline and carboxamide complexes. Dalton Trans. 2018, 47, 4653-4660.
Coordination Environment Changes of the Vanadium in Vanadium-Dependent Haloperoxidase Enzymes, McLauchlan, C. C.; Murakami, H.; Wallace, C. A.; Crans, D.C. J. Inorg. Biochem. 2018, 186, 4653-4660. [doi: 10.1016/j.jinorgbio.2018.06.011]
Dorsey, B.M.; McLauchlan, C. C.; Jones, M.A. “Evidence that Speciation of Oxovanadium Complexes does not Solely Account for Inhibition of Leishmania Acid Phosphatases,” Front. Chem. 2018, 6, Article 109. 11 pages. [doi:10.3389/fchem.2018.00109]​
McLauchlan, C. C.;​ Florián, J.; Kissel,D. S.; Herlinger, A. W. “Metal Ion Complexes of N,N′-Bis(2-Pyridylmethyl)-trans-1,2-Diaminocyclohexane-N,N′-Diacetic Acid, H2bpcd: Lanthanide(III)–bpcd2– Cationic Complexes,” Inorg. Chem. 2017, 56 (6), 3556-3567


“Interactions of oxovanadates with proteins.” McLauchlan, Craig C.; Crans, D. C. Invited oral presentation, 11th International Vanadium Symposium. Montevideo, Uruguay, 08NOV18.
Continuing the Investigations into the Ideal Coordination Geometries of Vanadium‐based Enzyme Inhibitors. Invited Lecture, 10th International Vanadium Symposium, Taipei, Taiwan 07NOV16. Listed co-author Debbie C. Crans.
Versatile Vanadium: Coordination Complexes in Biology and Catalysis. “Dynamite” Seminar. University of Missouri, Columbia. (2014)
Ligand-Bridged Dimers of Vanadium (III/IV) Complexes. 2013 Zing Conference on Coordination Chemistry. Zing. (2013)
Oxalate-bridged dimers of vanadium (III/IV) complexes. 246th National Meeting of the American Chemical Society. American Chemical Society. (2013)

Grants & Contracts

MRI: Acquisition of a Single Crystal CCD X-ray Diffractometer for Research and Teaching. The National Science Foundation. Federal. (2010)
MRI: Acquisition of a Single Crystal CCD X-ray Diffractometer for Research and Teaching. National Science Foundation. Federal. (2010)
CAREER: Versatile Vanadium: Materials Science, Biology, and Education Through Its Diverse Coordination Chemistry. The National Science Foundation. Federal. (2007)
Vanadium-Scorpionate Coordination Complexes: Syntheses, Characterization, and Reactivities. The Petroleum Research Fund-The American Chemical Society. Federal. (2007)