Department of Chemistry



Tara Meyer



1005 CHVRN
Chevron Science Center, 219 Parkman Avenue

Pittsburgh, PA 15260

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Research Overview

Inorganic / Organometallic / Polymers / Biomedical Materials

We are interested in exploiting catalysis in the synthesis of both small molecules and polymers. 

Synthesis of repeating sequence copolymers for biomedical applications

The preparation of plastics that behave like metals is one of the most exciting frontiers of polymer chemistry. We are interested in using metal-catalyzed couplings to assemble polymers with conducting and magnetic properties. A specific system that we are currently investigating involves the preparation of polyanilines with unique architectures. By studying a variety of these materials we hope to develop a set of structure/property relationships that will contribute to the development of new technologies, such as transparency-thin displays and LED's.

One pot reactions that form both new carbon-carbon and carbon-heteroatom bonds

Although the ability of transition metals to catalyze regio- and stereoselective carbon-carbon bond formation is widely exploited, only recently have researchers truly begun to take advantage of the power of transition metals to make carbon-heteroatom bonds, particularly bonds to more ìexoticî main group elements from rows 3 and below in the periodic table. We have recently developed and reported a new palladium catalyzed regio- and stereo- selective chalcogenide-element addition (Y = Se, G = N) to terminal alkynes in the presence of carbon monoxide producing ‚-selenyl acrylamides. Typical yields are 65-85%. The selenyl group, of course, provides many opportunities for subsequent functionalization. The modularity of the reaction is particularly appealing because it could easily allow for the creation of a small library of closely related derivatives. The reaction tolerates a range of alkynyl substrates as well as differing substitutions on the sulfenamide nitrogen. 

Synthesis of conducting and magnetic polymers

Bone tissue engineering has the potential to heal difficult fractures, particularly those associated with diseases such as osteoporosis. The development of good scaffolds is critical to the success this treatment. Ideally these scaffolds should provide mechanical support, encourage proper cell differentiation and proliferation, and degrade to give non-toxic by-products. The need for biocompatibility severely limits the types of monomers that can be used in the synthesis of polymeric biomaterials used as temporary scaffolds in tissue engineering. It is, therefore, attractive to develop materials with a wide range of mechanical properties made from multiple combinations of building blocks that are known to be non-toxic. The most widely used scaffolding to date are polymers derived from lactic and glycolic acids and their copolymers. These materials are FDA-approved for a variety of uses in the human body and are known to degrade hydrolytically to their biocompatible components. Although a wide variety of polymers and copolymers are known for these monomers, there has never been an attempt to examine repeating sequence copolymers (RSC) where the block size is small i.e. (GGGLLLLL)n or (GLLLLLL) (G = glycolic acid monomer, L = lactic acid monomer). There are several advantages to RSC's including uniformity of hydrolytic degradation; the potential to add regularly spaced tethered groups; and the improvement of mechanical properties.



  • NSF CAREER Award, 1996-99
  • NSF POWER Award, 1997-98
  • DuPont Educational Aid Awardee, 1997-99
  • Alfred P. Sloan Fellowship, 1999-2001


“Short-Term and Long-Term Effects of POGIL in a Large-Enrollment General Chemistry Course,” Vincent-Ruz, P.; Meyer, T.; Roe, S. G.; Schunn, C. D. J. Chem. Educ 2020
“Learning from Peptides to Access Functional Precision Polymer Sequences ,” Maron, E.; Swisher, J. H.; Haven, J. J.; Meyer, T. Y.; Junkers, T.; Börner, H. G.  Angewandte Chemie International Edition 2019, 58, 10747
“Property Impact of Common Linker Segments in Sequence-Controlled Polyesters ,” Swisher, J. H.; Nowalk, J. A.; Meyer, T. Y.  Polymer Chemistry 2019, 10, 244
“Sequence-Controlled Polymers through Entropy-Driven Ring-Opening Metathesis Polymerization: Theory, Molecular Weight Control, and Monomer Design,” Nowalk, J. A.; Fang, C.; Short, A. L.; Weiss, R. M.; Swisher, J. H.; Liu, P.; Meyer, T. Y. J. Am. Chem. Soc 2019, 14, 5714
“ Cis-Selective Metathesis to Enhance the Living Character of Ring-Opening Polymerization: An Approach to Sequenced Copolymers,” Short, A. L.; Fang, C.; Nowalk, J. A.; Weiss, R. M.; Liu, P.; Meyer, T. Y.  ACS Macro Letters 2018, 7, 858
“Monomer sequence in PLGA microparticles: Effects on acidic microclimates and in vivo inflammatory response,” Washington MA, Balmer SC, Fedorchak MV, Little SR, Watkins SC, Meyer TY Acta Biomaterialia 2018, 65, 259
““Properties and Applications of Sequence-Controlled Polymers” in Sequence-Controlled Polymers 2018,” Swisher JH, Nowalk JA, Washington MA, Meyer TY, Lutz, J.F., ed., Wiley VCH Sequence-Controlled Polymers 2018, 435
“Sequence Effects in Donor–Acceptor Oligomeric Semiconductors Comprising Benzothiadiazole and Phenylenevinylene Monomers,” Zhang S, Bauer NE, Kanal IY, You W, Hutchison GR, Meyer TY Macromolecules 2017, 50, 151
“Determining Sequence Fidelity in Repeating Sequence Poly(Lactic-co-Glycolic Acid)s ,” Weiss RM, Li J, Liu HH, Washington MA, Giesen JA, Grayson SM, Meyer TY Macromolecules 2017, 50, 550
“The Impact of Monomer Sequence and Stereochemistry on the Swelling and Erosion of Biodegradable Poly(Lactic-Co-Glycolic Acid) Matrices,” Washington MA, Swiner DJ, Bell KR, Fedorchak MV, Little SR, Meyer TY Biomaterials 2017, 117, 66
“Sequence Effects in Conjugated Donor–Acceptor Trimers and Polymers,” Zhang S, Hutchison GR, Meyer TY Macromol. Rapid Commun. 2016, 37, 882
“Stimuli-Responsive Iron-Cross-Linked Hydrogels That Undergo Redox-Driven Switching between Hard and Soft States,” Auletta JT, LeDonne GJ, Gronborg KC, Ladd CD, Liu H, Clark WW, Meyer TY Macromolecules 2015, 48, 1736
“Sequence Matters: Modulating Electronic and Optical Properties of Conjugated Oligomers via Tailored Sequence,” B.N. Norris, S. Zhang, C.M. Campbell, J.T. Auletta, P. Calvo-Marzal, G.R. Hutchison, T.Y. Meyer Macromolecules 2013, 46, 1384-1392
“Mono- and Terfluorene Oligomers as Versatile Sensitizers for the Luminescent Eu3+ Cation,” Oxley DS, Walters RW, Copenhafer JE, Meyer TY, Petoud S, Edenborn HM INORGANIC CHEMISTRY 2009, 48, 6332-6334
“Preparation and microstructural analysis of poly(lactic-alt-glycolic acid),” Stayshich RM, Meyer TY JOURNAL OF POLYMER SCIENCE PART A-POLYMER CHEMISTRY 2008, 46, 4704-4711
“A palladium-catalyzed regio- and stereoselective four-component coupling reaction,” Knapton DJ, Meyer TY JOURNAL OF ORGANIC CHEMISTRY 2005, 70, 785-796
“Proton as the simplest of all catalysts for [2+2] cycloadditions: DFT study of acid-catalyzed imine metathesis,” Burland MC, Meyer TY, Baik MH JOURNAL OF ORGANIC CHEMISTRY 2004, 69, 6173-6184
“The Stereoselective and Catalytic One Pot Synthesis of â-Selanyl Acrylamides,” Knapton DJ, Meyer TY ORGANIC LETTERS 2004, 6, 687-689
“o,p-polyaniline: A new form of a classic conducting polymer,” Ward RE, Meyer TY MACROMOLECULES 2003, 36, 4668-4373
“Iminophosphorane Mediated Imine Metathesis,” Burland MC, Meyer TY INORGANIC CHEMISTRY 2003, 42, 3438-3444
“Dichloro(isopropylamido)bis(isopropylamine)(isopropylimido)-tantalum(V), a monomeric Ta-V compound with imido, amido and amino moieties,” Burland MC, Meyer TY, Geib SJ ACTA CRYSTALLOGRAPHICA SECTION C-CRYSTAL STRUCTURE COMMUNICATIONS 2003, 59, M46-M48
“Catalytic double-bond metathesis without the transition metal,” Bell SA, Meyer TY, Geib SJ JOURNAL OF THE AMERICAN CHEMICAL SOCIETY 2002, 124, 10698-10705