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From metalloproteins to coordination chemistry: a learning exercise to teach transition metal chemistry

Reglinski, J. and Graham, D. and Kennedy, A.R. and Gibson, L.T. (2004) From metalloproteins to coordination chemistry: a learning exercise to teach transition metal chemistry. Journal of Chemical Education, 81 (1). pp. 76-82. ISSN 0021-9584

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Abstract

This paper presents an exercise in inorganic chemistry that examines the principles of coordination chemistry, ligand design, and catalysis by looking at the breadth of chemistry displayed by metalloproteins. This exercise offers an alternative perspective on coordination chemistry by developing the topic in reverse - from use to design. Students obtain visually stunning images from the protein crystallographic database and analyze the metal environments of these species in relation to the X-ray crystal structures of simple inorganic complexes and data on the chemistry of these model complexes through the use of electronic libraries. By offering the students a highly visual, reversed perspective on coordination chemistry, we have circumvented many of the minor intellectual hurdles that make this subject frustrating for the beginner. For students with an aptitude in this area, the exercise offers an opportunity for them to apply their knowledge of inorganic chemistry and develop lateral thought processes involving previously learned material.