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Welcome to the Darko Lab!

The Darko Research Lab is interested in research at the interface of synthetic organic and organometallic chemistry.  Browse our website to learn about the people, our research, and chemistry at UT.

Group News


  • May. Cris’s Hammett study on our Rh(II) complexes with tethered axial ligands was published in JOC. Congrats, Cris! 
  • April. Say hello to our newest PhD grad! Dr. Cris Zavala successfully defended his dissertation. Way to go, Cris!
  • April. Paul, Malcolm, and Grace presented posters at the first annual Chemistry Department Undergraduate Research Symposium.
  • January. Paul Pitcher, Malcolm Bailey, and Grace Shelton have joined the group as undergraduate researchers. Welcome to the group!



  • December. Derek successfully defended his dissertation. Congratulations to Dr. Derek Cressy! 
  • October. Derek, Cris, Will, and Anthony’s paper on tuning Rh(II)-catalyzed cyclopropanation with tethered thioether ligands was published in Dalton Transactions. Congrats, guys! 
  • July. Will successfully defended his Master’s thesis. Congrats, Will!
  • January. Jobe Courtney joined the group as an undergraduate researcher.  Welcome Jobe!


  • November.  Eric and Ampofo were the recipients of a Student/Faculty Research Award from the UT Graduate School to study the detection of organophosphorus nerve agents.  Congrats!
  • October. Cris participated in career day with Centro Hispano de East Tennessee by performing chemistry demos.  Good work, Cris!
  • September. Congrats to Will and Anthony for their EurJOC publication on using Darko rhodium catalysts for silyl-hydrogen insertion.
  • September. The Darko lab and other scientists at UT showcased the connection of science and art at the Art of Science Exhibition at the Arts & Culture Alliance Emporium.
  • August. Mitchell Regelson joined the group as an undergraduate researcher.  Welcome Mitchell!
  • January. Congrats to Brad, Derek, and Jay for their Inorganic Chemistry paper titled “Synthesis and Catalytic Properties of Dirhodium Paddlewheel Complexes with Tethered, Axially Coordinating Thioether Ligands.”


  • October. Will and Derek presented posters at the Center for Selective C-H Functionalization Annual Meeting.
  • August. Laura Altawil joined the group as an undergraduate researcher.
  • June. Cristian Zavala joined the group.  Welcome Cris!
  • May. Congrats to “cool hand” Jay for graduating.  Kimberly Hollister joined the group as our latest REU student and Melodi Harfouche joined as an undergraduate researcher.  Welcome Kim and Melodi!
  • April. Will was the recipient of the George L. Sivils Graduate Student Award. The award provides a research stipend and funds for a conference presentation. Congrats, Will!
  • March. Will and Derek received Graduate Senate Travel Awards to present their work at the ACS Meeting and Exposition in New Orleans.
  • February. The Office of Research & Engagement presented the Darko lab with an award for Excellence in Laboratory Safety.
  • January. Derek was selected as a recipient of a Chancellor’s Fellowship for Spring 2018.  Congrats, Derek!