The Academy of Science St. Louis Innovation Award recognized a scientist or engineer – age 40 or under) – who has demonstrated exceptional potential for future accomplishments in science, engineering, or technology.
Dr. Mirica has broad research interests that span organometallic chemistry and bioinorganic chemistry. He has made important contributions to the development of new catalysts for energy applications by developing ligands that can stabilize transition metals such as palladium and nickel and in unusual oxidation states. He was the first to isolate a mononuclear complex of palladium in the +3 oxidation state. He has also shown that these high-valent metal complexes can lead to carbon-carbon and carbon-heteroatom bond formation, reactions relevant to the development of catalysts for the activation of methane and reduction of carbon dioxide. In the area of bioinorganic chemistry, Dr. Mirica has been studying the role of metal ions in the oligomerization of Aβ peptides implicated in Alzheimer’s disease and the development of therapeutic and position emission tomography (PET) imaging agents for this degenerative disease.