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Lisa Szczepura

University Professor, Inorganic Chemistry
Science Laboratory Building - SLB 313
Office Hours
Mon. 12-1 p.m. & Wed. 5:30-6:30 p.m.
  • About
  • Education
  • Awards & Honors
  • Research

Current Courses

350.001Advanced Inorganic Chemistry

351.001Advanced Inorganic Chemistry Lab

299.019Independent Honor Study In Chemistry

499.019Independent Research For The Master's Thesis

290.019Research in Chemistry

490.019Research In Chemistry

Teaching Interests & Areas

General Chemistry, Inorganic Chemistry and Organometallic Chemistry

Research Interests & Areas

Significance of Research. As a synthetic chemist, my research efforts focus on preparing new chemical compounds from smaller, previously reported or readily available, starting materials. Specifically, we work with transition metal clusters. Once the metals are assembled into clusters, we incorporate new terminal ligands (L) and investigate the physical properties and reactivity of the resulting compounds. Goals of the research are aimed at developing synthetic methodologies for the design of unique clusters with novel physical properties and unique reactivity. There are key features which make these clusters well suited for a variety of important applications such as imaging, battery materials and catalysis. While our studies are fundamental in nature, we have had an impact in the field.

Key contributions to the discipline include:
The discovery that rhenium chalcogenide clusters activate small molecules via ‘click chemistry’, a term that describes high yield reactions occurring under mild conditions, with few, if any, unwanted byproducts. While the advantages of this type of chemistry are numerous, especially in industrial processes, prior to our studies only a handful of metal complexes demonstrated click chemistry. Our most recent manuscript on this project was published last year (Dalton Trans. 2018, 47, 4653, These findings were significant in that we established the ability of these clusters to perform unique transformations, opening up the possibility of using these clusters as catalysts, something that had not been imagined previously.

Investigating the viability of cluster based solids as cathode materials in rechargeable lithium batteries. These studies are being conducted in collaboration with researchers at Stony Brook University (Drs. Esther Takeuchi, Kenneth Takeuchi and Amy Marschilok). Our first study, highlighting the high stability and high rate capability of cluster-based materials, was published as a communication in Inorganic Chemistry (2018, 57, 4812, ). We are currently conducting studies on clusters containing more earth abundant transition metals.

Preparation of the first hexanuclear clusters containing carbene ligands (Chem. Commun. 2015, 51, 10536, ). The preparation of these carbene clusters has been attempted by others, without success. Organometallic complexes (i.e. metal complexes containing carbon based ligands) play an extremely important role in synthetic and industrial chemistry, and carbene ligands are particularly valuable in facilitating key organic transformations. This report ushered in a new area of carbon based ligands for these cluster complexes and we are only beginning to examine the preparation and study of clusters containing more reactive carbon-donor ligands.

An invited review chapter included in a special issue of Structure and Bonding (2019, 180, 75). This issue was dedicated to Marcel Sergent, a pioneer in the study of rhenium-based cluster complexes. This chapter reviews key synthetic methodologies that have been developed (by us and other researchers) which are necessary for the ultimate design of clusters for specific applications.


University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign
National Science Foundation Postdoctoral Fellow (1995 - 97)

Ph D Chemistry

State University of New York (SUNY)
Buffalo, NY

BS Chemistry

SUNY at Buffalo
Buffalo, NY

Distinguished Lecturer

College of Arts and Sciences

Outstanding Achievement in Science by Women in STEM

Bloomington Normal Economic Development Council

Commitment to Diversity Award, Outstanding Faculty

Illinois State University

Chemist of the Year

Illinois Heartland, Local Section of the American Chemical Society

Outstanding University Researcher Award

Illinois State University

Outstanding College Researcher Award

College of Arts and Sciences, ISU

One Million Dollar Club

Illinois State University

Outstanding University Teacher Award

Illinois State University

Dean's Award for Outstanding Teaching

College of Arts and Sciences, ISU

Outstanding College Teacher Award

College of Arts and Sciences, ISU

Journal Article

Soto, E.; Helmink, K. L.; Chin, C. P.; Ferguson, M.; Peters, S. J.; Szczepura, L. F. "Rhenium Selenide Clusters Containing Alkynyl Ligands: Unexpected Reactivity of s-Bound Phenylacetylide" Organometallics 2022, 41, 2688-2697.
Sun, H.; Hammann, B. A.; Brady, A. B.; Singh, G.; Housel, L. M.; Takeuchi, E. S.; Takeuchi, K. J.; Marschilok*, A. C.; Hayes*, S. E.; Szczepura*, L. F. “Structural Investigation of Silver Vanadium Phosphorus Oxide (Ag2VO2PO4) and Its Reduction Products,” Chem. Mater. 2021, 33, 4424-34.
Szczepura*, L., & Soto, E. Exploring the Breadth of Terminal Ligands Coordinated in [Mo6X8]4+- and [Re6Q8]2+-Based Cluster Complexes (2019)
Bruck, A. M.; Yin, J.; Tong, X.; Takeuchi, E. S.; Takeuchi, K. J.; Szczepura*, L. F.; Marschilok*, A. C. “Reversible Electrochemical Lithium-Ion Insertion into the Rhenium Cluster Chalcogenide-Halide, Re6Se8Cl2,” Inorg. Chem. 2018, 57, 4812-4815.
Chin, C. P.; Ren, Y.-X.; 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 Cluster Complexes,” Dalton Trans. 2018, 47, 4653-4660.


Exploring the Chemistry of Supraoctahedral Clusters. Illinois State University. Department of Chemistry. (2011)
Supraoctahedral Clusters: Synthesis and Reactivity. Washington University. Department of Chemistry. (2011)
Hexanuclear transition metal clusters: substitution chemistry and reactivity of coordinated nitriles. 240th National Meeting of the American Chemical Society. ACS. (2010)
Solution Phase Chemistry of Octahedral Hexanuclear Clusters. International Workshop on Transition Metal Clusters. (2008)
Synthesis of hexanuclear transition metal clusters containing thiolate ligands. 236th National Meeting of the American Chemical Society. ACS. (2008)
Hexanuclear Cluster Complexes: Development of Synthetic Methodologies. Knox College. Department of Chemistry. (2007)
Metals: Applications and Preparation of New Metal Clusters. URC (STEM Engines)-Project SEED-NIH Bridges Summer Program. Illinois State University. (2007)
Synthesis and Electrochemical Study of the First Tetrazolate Hexanuclear Cluster Complex. 234th National Meeting of the American Chemical Society. ACS. (2007)
Development of Synthetic Methodologies for Hexanuclear Cluster Complexes. 20th Missouri Inoganic Day. (2006)
Hexanuclear Cluster Complexes: Development of Synthetic Methodologies. Inorganic Seminar. University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign. (2006)

Grants & Contracts

Rhenium Clusters as Potential Cathode Materials for Rechargeable Batteries: Investigating Reversible Electrochemical Properties of CsRe6Se8I3. Cottrell Science Corporation. Private. (2020)
RUI: Supraoctahedral Rhenium and Molybdenum Clusters: N-Heterocyclic Carbenes and Exploration Into the Coordination of Fischer vs Schrock Carbenes. National Science Foundation. Federal. (2014)
Probing the Reactivity of Small Molecules Coordinated to Cluster Complexes. University Research Grant – Summer Faculty Fellowship. Illinois State University. (2010)
RUI: Activation of Small Molecules by Hexanuclear Clusters. National Science Foundation. Federal. (2010)
Activation of Small Molecules by Cluster Complexes. Illinois State University. Illinois State University. (2009)