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Karla Erickson

Karla Erickson

Phone (505) 606-2015


  • Chemical Science
  • Inorganic chemistry
  • Actinide chemistry
  • Chemical synthesis
  • Materials
  • X-ray spectroscopy and imaging


I have long been interested in organometallic chemistry, particularly catalysis and the synthesis of novel moleucles that express unique or unusual bonding motifs. As a graduate student, I studied tren-supported zirconium catalysts for main group bond forming reactions (such as dehydrocoupling and hydroelementation). Additionally, I studied the use of tin compounds to mimic these reactions. As a post-doctoral researcher at UCD, I shifted gears in my research focus to study the synthesis and reactivity of aluminum and silicon complexes supported by redox-active ligands. My career at Los Alamos has once again signified a shift, as I now focus on thorium and uranium organometallic complexes. Currently, I have multiple research projects that include catalysis and the activation of molecules that evidence the participation of f-electrons and/or f-orbitals.

Throughout the years I have developed experiences in a variety of techniques such as: heteronuclear NMR spectroscopy, X-ray diffractometry, strict air-free synthetic techniques (glovebox and schlenk-line work), as well as the usual suite of analytical techniques (GS-MS, IR, UV/vis-NIR).

I have also maintained a strong interest in community outreach, particularly in STEM education for K-5 and underrepresented groups and the mentorship of young scientists.

For more details, see my attached CV.


Post-Doctoral Researcher, University of California, Davis, 2014-2015

Ph. D. University of Vermont, 2014

B. S. Bates College, 2008  


LANL Positions

Seaborg Post-Doctoral Fellow, 2015-present


Professional Societies

Member, ACS



Employee of the Month, Kiplinger Team, January 2017

Outstanding Postdoctoral Researcher Award, American Institute of Chemists, March 2016

UC Davis candidate for the Beckman Postdoctoral Fellowship, November 2014

ACS Division of Inorganic Chemistry Graduate Student Travel Award, UVM, February 2014

Graduate Student Senate Travel Award, UVM, March 2014

Chemistry Camp Travel Award, UVM, September 2013



LANL publications:

2. Erickson, K. A.; Scott, B. L.; Kiplinger, J. L. “Ca(BH4)2 as a Simple Tool for the Preparation of Thorium and Uranium Metallocene Borohydride Complexes: First Synthesis and Crystal Structure of (C5Me5)2An(η3-H3BH)2 (An = Th, U).” Inorganic Chemistry Communications, 2017, 77, 44–46.

1. Pagano, J. K.; Erickson, K. A.; Scott, B. L.; Morris, D. E.; Waterman, R.; Kiplinger, J. L. “Synthesis and characterization of a new and electronically unusual uranium metallacyclocumulene, (C5Me5)2U(η4-1,2,3,4-PhC4Ph)” Journal of Organometallic Chemistry, 2017, 829, 79–84.


Graduate School Publications:

5.  Erickson, K. A.; Stelmach, J. P. W.; Mucha, N. T.; Waterman, R. “Zirconium-Catalyzed Amine Borane Dehydrocoupling and Transfer Hydrogenation” Organometallics, 2015, 34, 4693–4699.

4.  Erickson, K. A.; Dixon, L. S. H.; Wright, D. S.; Waterman, R. “Exploration of tin-catalyzed phosphine dehydrocoupling: catalyst effects and observation of tin-catalyzed hydrophosphination” Inorganica Chimica Acta, 2014, 422, 141–145. Invited for the Special Edition to Honor T. Don Tilley’s 60th Birthday

3.  Houck, J. D.; Machamer, N. K.; Erickson, K. A. “Graduate student outreach: model of a one-day ‘chemistry camp’ for elementary school students” Journal of Chemical Education, 2014, 91, 1606–1610. Authors contributed equally

2. Erickson, K. A.; Wright, D. S.; Waterman, R. “Dehydrocoupling of amine-boranes via Sn(II) and Sn(IV) catalysts” Journal of Organometallic Chemistry, 2014, 751, 541–545. Featured in the 50th Anniversary Edition

1. Maddox, A. F.; Erickson, K. A.; Tanski, J. M.; Waterman, R. “C–N Bond formation via ligand-induced nucleophilicity at a coordinated triamidoamine ligand,” Chemical Communications, 2011, 47, 1176911771.


Documents and Files