Phone Number
Email Address
Heiser 221A
Heiser E172C
Office or Division
Area of Concentration


Ph.D., University of Chicago
M.S., University of Chicago
B.A., Augustana College, IL

Academic/Research Interests:

Rebecca Black has a background in polymerization catalysis and synthetic organometallic chemistry. Her current research interests lie in developing new organic ligands and transition metal catalysts for acceptorless dehydrogenation, a clean organic synthetic method that generates hydrogen gas as its only byproduct. Other research interests include developing activities and projects for students to develop information literacy, problem solving, teamwork, and written communication skills. Her teaching interests include Organic chemistry, organometallic chemistry, transition metal catalysis, polymer science, NMR spectroscopy and structure elucidation, history of science, and chemistry in art.

Recent Courses

  • Organic Chemistry I & II Lecture
  • Organic Chemistry II Synthesis  Laboratory
  • Organometallic Chemistry and Catalysis for Organic & Polymer Synthesis
  • Chemical Research, Communication, and Careers
  • General Chemistry I

Selected Publications

  • Black, R. E.; Kilyanek, S. M.; Reinhard, E. D.; Jordan, R. F. Olefin Insertion Reactivity of a (Phosphine-arenesulfonate)Palladium(II) Fluoride Complex. Organometallics 2019, 38, 4250–4260. DOI:
  • Black, R. E. Olefin Polymerization Behavior and Reactivity of Palladium(II) Alkyl and Fluoride Complexes Bearing Phosphine-Sulfonate Ligands. Doctoral dissertation, The University of Chicago, 2018.
  • Black, R. E. and Jordan, R. F. “Synthesis and Reactivity of Palladium(II) Alkyl Complexes that Contain Phosphine-cyclopentanesulfonate Ligands.” Organometallics 2017, 36, 3415-3428.   DOI: 10.1021/acs.organomet.7b00572
  • Dragisich, V.; Keller, V.; Black, R.; Heaps, C. W.; Kamm, J. M.; Olechnowicz, F.; Raybin, J.; Rombola, M.; Zhao, M. “Development of an Advanced Training Course for Teachers and Researchers in Chemistry.” J. Chem. Educ., 2016, 93, 1211-1216. DOI: 10.1021/acs.jchemed.5b00578

Selected Presentations

(*indicates New College student)

  • ACS Spring 2022 National Meeting. March 20-24, 2022
    • Goldberg, M. J.*; Alam, I.*; Stryker, J. S.*; Markham, S.*; Black, R. E. “Synthesis, Characterization, and Catalytic Acceptorless Dehydrogenation Performance of Ru(II) Complexes Bearing BIPHEP-type Ligands.” Inorganic Chemistry Division Poster Session. In-Person Poster Presentation. 
    • Black, R. E. “Ru(II) Complexes Bearing (Non-)Base Functionalized BIPHEP-type Ligands: Synthesis, Characterization, and Catalytic Alcohol Acceptorless Dehydrogenation Performance.” Inorganic Chemistry Division Symposium. In-person Oral Presentation.
    • Black, R. E. “Problem-solving our way to a sustainable future: An Organic Chemistry I student-driven research project.” Chemical Education Division Symposium. In-person Oral Presentation.
  • Goldberg, M. J.*; Alam, I.*; Stryker, J. S.*; Markham, S.*; Black, R. E. “Synthesis, Characterization, and Catalytic Performance of Ru(II) Complexes Bearing 2,2′-bis(diphenylphosphino)Biphenyl (BIPHEP) Derivatives.” Multidentate Ligands in Inorganic Chemistry Session. South Eastern Regional Meeting (SERMACS), In-Person Poster Presentation. November 11, 2021
  • ACS Spring 2021 National Meeting. 
    • Goldberg, M. J.*; Alam, I.*; Black, R. E. “Pendent base-functionalized biphenyl-derived bisphosphine ligands: synthesis and characterization.” Virtual Poster Presentation, April 21, 2021; Recording published to SciMeetings May 27, 2021.  
    • Black, R. E. “Building Professional Writing Instruction into Organic Chemistry II Lab: Replacing the Lab Report.” Virtual Oral Presentation, April 5, 2021. Recording published to SciMeetings May 27, 2021. 
  • Black, R. E. “Working at a Small Liberal Arts College” with the UChicago Women in Chemistry group, University of Chicago (Virtual), Invited Speaker, March 24, 2021.
  • ACS Spring 2020 National Meeting. 
    • Black, R. E. “Writing science news article reflections and wiki articles in organic chemistry to build student chemical literature and information management skills.” Virtual, March 21-25, 2020. Poster published to SciMeetings Apr 30, 2020.   
    • Black, R. E.; Goldberg, M. J.* “Synthesis and characterization of biphenyl-derived bisphosphine ligands bearing pendent bases.” Virtual, March 21-25, 2020. Published to SciMeetings Apr 29, 2020.  
  • Black, R. E. “Teaching using POGIL (Process-Oriented Guided Inquiry Learning),” Teaching Tuesdays, New College of Florida, Sarasota, FL, Presentation and Workshop, Nov. 2019.
  • Black, R. E. “The Impact of Organic Ligand Design on Homogenous Transition-Metal Catalyst Performance: Toward More “Green” Polymers and Organic Reactions,” Chemistry, Biochemistry, and Physics Lecture Series, Florida Southern College, Lakeland, FL, Invited Seminar Presentation, Oct. 2019.
  • Black, R. E. “Copolymerization of Ethylene and Polar Monomers Using Palladium(II) Catalysts Bearing Phosphine-Sulfonate Ligands and Designing Catalysts for Acceptorless Dehydrogenation Reactions,” Natural Science Seminar, New College of Florida, Sarasota, FL, Invited Seminar Presentation, April 2019.