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  •    Assistant Professor
  • Inorganic and Organometallic Chemistry, Catalysis
  • Ph.D. 2020, Harvard University

Contact information

Tel: (office) +82-42-350-2829, (lab) +82-42-350-####
Location: (office) Room 607 (E6-6), (lab) Room ### (E6-6)
Fax: +82-42-350-2810


Ph.D. Chemistry, Harvard University, 2020 (Advisor: Theodore A. Betley)
B.S. Chemistry, KAIST, 2014

Professional Experiences

Assistant Professor, Department of Chemistry, KAIST, 2022 April – present
Postdoctoral fellow, Princeton University, 2020 – 2022 (Advisor: Robert. R. Knowles)


ACS Division of Inorganic Chemistry Young Investigator Award, 2021
BioLEC-EFRC Distinguished Postdoctoral Fellowship, 2020 – 2022, Department of Energy (USA)
Distinction in Teaching, 2016, Harvard University
Kwanjeong Graduate Fellowship, 2014 – 2019
Deans List, College of Natural Sciences, 2013, KAIST


Brief Introduction

Our lab is interested in addressing problems of energy, environmental, and biological relevance for a greener and more sustainable future. Borrowing inspiration from natures enzymatic reactivity, we aim to combine transition metal catalysis and light-harvesting techniques to convert earth-abundant materials into value-added commodity chemicals. Specifically, we seek to develop generalizable transition metal architectures to conduct challenging redox transformations (e.g., water oxidation, CO2 reduction, N2 fixation, etc.) via facile proton and electron transfer processes both in the ground and excited states. Our research program encompasses the synthesis and characterization of reactive transition metal complexes to correlate their physical and electronic structure with reactivity.

Research topics

Coordination chemistry
Transition metal catalysis
Small molecule activation
Proton/electron transfer processes

Representative publications

-Baek, Y.; Betley, T. A.* Reversible C–C Bond Cleavage of a Cobalt Diketimide into an Elusive Cobalt Aryl Nitrenoid Complexes. Angew. Chem. Int. Ed. 2022, e202115437.
-Baek, Y.; Das, A.; Zheng, S-L.; Reibenspies, J. H.; Powers, D. C.; Betley, T. A.* C–H Amination Mediated by Cobalt Organoazide Adducts and the Corresponding Cobalt Nitrenoid Intermediates. J. Am. Chem. Soc. 2020, 142, 11232.
-Baek, Y.; Hennessy, E. T.; Betley, T. A.* Direct Manipulation of Metal Imido Geometry: Key Principles to Enhance C–H Amination Efficacy. J. Am. Chem. Soc. 2019, 141, 16944.
-Baek, Y.; Betley, T. A.* Catalytic C–H Amination Mediated by Dipyrrin Cobalt Imidos. J. Am. Chem. Soc. 2019, 141, 7797.