Office Phone: 301-405-8388
 Office Address: CHM3351
 Group Website

Assistant Professor


  • B.S. and M.S., UCLA (2009)
  • Ph.D., UC Davis (2012)
  • Postdoctoral Fellow, University of Pennsylvania (2012-2016)

Professional Experience

  • Assistant Professor, University of Maryland, College Park, 2016-present

Research Interests

Mechanistic Organometallic Chemistry, Supramolecular Catalyst Design, and Biomimetic Chemistry

Major Recognitions and Honors

  • Rising Stars in Chemistry Symposium, University of Chicago, 2015
  • R. B. Miller Graduate Fellowship for Excellent in Chemistry, 2012
  • Dolores Cannon Southam Award for Excellence in Undergraduate Research, 2009



Understanding of reaction mechanisms can jump-start the development of novel reactions and catalysts for broader use in the synthesis of pharmaceuticals, complex molecules, materials, and biological probes. My research program will entail the use of synergistic computational and experimental mechanistic studies to elucidate at the mechanisms of catalytic radical-type transformations in the realm of energy, organic synthesis, and biology. Ultimately, our research goals are to accelerate the development of new reactions, enzyme mimics, and organometallic catalysts. Our multidisciplinary research will focus on the (1) the rational design of shape-selective oxidation supramolecular catalysts (2) increasing fundamental understanding of open-shell intermediates invoked in transition metal and enzymatic catalysis, and (3) development of predictive models of reactivity and selectivity of first row transition metal-catalyzed carbon-carbon and carbon-heteroatom bond transformations.

Computational design, synthesis, and application of supramolecular catalysts with well-defined and tunable cavities

The Gutierrez research program will leverage the strengths of both computation and experiment to develop a new set of supramolecular catalysts tailored for selective oxidation of aliphatic CH bonds. Our approach relies on an innovative short and modular synthetic protocol to access a library of novel ligands/catalysts from commercially available building blocks. State-of-the-art computational methods will be used to guide the design of the catalyst to induce substrate specificity and stereo- and chemoselectivity. We envision developing general design principles for selective supramolecular catalysts extending beyond oxidation of CH bonds.

Mechanisms of iron-catalyzed organic transformations: From small molecule reaction design to enzymatic implications.

Much research has focused on the use of small-molecule iron catalysts and/or protein engineering to emulate the functions of iron-based enzymes. The Gutierrez research group will carry out mechanistic studies to insight into the factors controlling chemo-, regio-, and stereoselectivity in small-molecule catalytic processes.  Our studies are geared towards understanding, quantifying, characterizing, and modulating reactivity trends arising from key intermediates (i.e., high-valent iron-carbenoid/nitrido/oxo) in these processes with an emphasis on the influence of the first coordination sphere on reactivity and selectivity.

Insights into the dual transition-metal/photoredoxcatalysis for C-C bond forming reactions.

Visible light has emerged as a highly attractive source of energy to accomplish otherwise challenging chemical reactions via the use of photoredox catalysts (PC), often times in tandem with organo- or transition-metal (TM) catalysts, yet the mechanistic details are poorly understood. The Gutierrez research group will use computational methods to assess the influence of catalysts (ligand, metal center, coordination sphere, spin states, reduction potentials, etc.) and reaction conditions (solvent, counterions, temperature, etc.) on the energetic landscape of dual TM/PC C-H activation and cross-coupling reactions. Subsequent experimental validations will be carried out to develop a detailed mechanistic picture of these processes. We envision general reactivity and selectivity models arising from our studies leading to greater understanding of this highly promising area of photocatalysis.

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