Elena V. Rybak-Akimova

Department of Chemistry
Pearson Chemistry Laboratory
62 Talbot Avenue
Tufts University 
Medford, MA 02155 

Office: P-310

Tel: 617-627-3413  Fax: 617-627-3443

E-mail: elena.rybak-akimova@tufts.edu 

Research Homepage

Current Appointment


Professor of Chemistry, Department of Chemistry




Post-Doctoral 1993-97, University of Kansas
Ph. D., 1987, Pisarzhevsky Institute, Ukrainian Academy of Sciences
M. Sc., 1983, Shevchenko University, Ukraine


Research Interests

Inorganic Chemistry.  The main theme of Professor Rybak-Akimova's research is understanding the selectivity of small-molecule binding and activation with transition metal complexes in order to design highly specific reagents and catalysts. This research is significant to solving fundamental problems in enzyme mimicry and to meeting industrial demand. The group focuses on two bio-inspired approaches to the problem of selectivity in substrate binding and transformations: (1) introducing specific substrate binding sites onto transition metal platforms (design of molecular tweezers), and (2) investigating the mechanisms of small molecule activation at the metal centers and specific reactivities of transient metal containing intermediates formed in these processes. These principles are widely used by natural metalloenzymes and antibiotics. For example, bleomycin, a well known antibiotic and anticancer drug, binds to DNA and recruits iron to bind oxygen and to generate a highly reactive oxidant that mediates oxidative cleavage. This cleavage is believed to be responsible for biological activity of bleomycin.


Selected Recent Publications

"Mechanistic Studies of the O2-Dependent Aliphatic Carbon−Carbon Bond Cleavage Reaction of a Nickel Enolate Complex", L. M. Berreau, T. Borowski, K. Grubel, C. J. Allpress, J. P. Wikstrom, M. E. Germain, E. V. Rybak-Akimova, D. L. Tierney, Inorg. Chem., 2011, 50, 1047-1057.


"Oxygen Binding to [Pd(L)(L′)] (L=NHC, L′= NHC or PR3, NHC = N-Heterocyclic Carbene). Synthesis and Structure of a Paramagnetic trans-[Pd(NHC)2(η1-O2)2] Complex",  X. Cai, S.  Majumdar, G. C. Fortman, C. S. J. Cazin, A. M. Z. Slawin, C. Lhermitte, R. Prabhakar, M. E. Germain, T. Palluccio, S. P. Nolan, E. V. Rybak-Akimova, M. Temprado, B. Captain, C. D. Hoff, J. Am. Chem. Soc., 2011, 133, 1290-1293.


"Aromatic hydroxylation at a non-heme iron center: observed intermediates and insights into the nature of the active species", O. V. Makhlynets, E. V. Rybak-Akimova, Chem. Eur. J., 2010, 16, 13995-14006


"Steric and counterion effects on the structure of dipicolylamine nickel complexes", J. P. Wikstrom, A. S. Filatov, R. J. Staples, C. R. Guifarro and E. V. Rybak-Akimova, Inor. Chim. Acta., 2010, 363, 884-890.


"Carbonate formation within a nickel dimer: synthesis of a coordinatively unsaturated bis(mu-hydroxo) dinickel complex and its reactivity toward carbon dioxide", J. P. Wikstrom, A. S. Filatov, E. A. Mikhalyova, M. Shatruk, B. M. Foxman, and E. V. Rybak-Akimova, Dalton Trans., 2010, 39, 2504-14.


"Condensation of nitriles with amides promoted by coordinatively unsaturated bis-nickel(II)-hydroxy complex: a new route to alkyl- and aryl-imidoylamidines", J. P. Wikstrom, A. S. Filatov, E. V. Rybak-Akimova, Chem. Comm., 2010, 46, 424-426.


"Coordination-Mode Control of Bound Nitrile Radical Complex Reactivity: Intercepting End-on Nitrile-Mo(III) Radicals at Low Temperature", M. E. Germain, M. Temprado, A. Castonguay, O. P. Kryatova,  E. V. Rybak-Akimova, J. J. Curley, A. Mendiratta, Y-C. Tsai, C. C. Cummins, R. Prabhakar, J. E. McDonough, E. James, and C. D. Hoff, J. Am. Chem Soc., 2009, 131, 15412-15423.


"Nickel(II) Complexes of Monofunctionalized Pyridine-Azamacrocycles: Synthesis, Structures, Pendant Arm "On-Off" Coordination Equilibria, and Peroxidase-like Activity", V. G. Organo, A. S.  Filatov, S. Alexander, J. S. Quartararo, , Z. M. Friedman, and E. V. Rybak-Akimova, Inorg. Chem., 2009, 48, 8456-8468.


Complete listing of publications HERE