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Elvira Sayfutyarova Joins Department of Chemistry Faculty

10 June 2021
Elvira Sayfutyarova

The Department of Chemistry is pleased to announce that Elvira Sayfutyarova will be joining the department faculty starting January 1, 2022 as an assistant professor of chemistry.

Sayfutyarova earned her doctoral degree from Princeton University and completed her undergraduate work at Lomonosov Moscow State University in Moscow, Russia. She comes to Penn State from Yale University, where she is a postdoctoral researcher in the lab of Professor of Chemistry Sharon Hammes-Schiffer. There, she studies electron and proton transfer processes in organic synthesis and enzymatic systems.

Sayfutyarova is looking forward to joining the chemistry community at Penn State. “Penn State has a strong cluster of bioinorganic chemists working with metalloenzymes,” she notes. “I think we can have a very fruitful collaboration, and I am looking forward to working with them.  ‘One head is good, but two are better,’ as people say in my home country. By joining my theoretical studies with their experiments, we can further advance the understanding of metalloenzymes.” 

Sayfutyarova’s research area is theoretical chemistry. She is particularly interested in the electronic structure effects behind the chemistry of transition metal systems and photochemical reactions, where—despite recent advances in computational chemistry—many challenges remain.  “I am personally driven by a desire to study the enzymes containing transition metal clusters in active sites,” she explains. “They are not well-understood in terms of their electronic structure. Despite playing a major role in nature, many biologically important processes—from photosynthesis to respiration and drug metabolism—are catalyzed by metalloenzymes.” 

To meet these challenges, Sayfutyarova works on developing novel theoretical methods to model multi-nuclear transition metal complexes and homolytic bond-breaking processes, both of which represent common motives in enzymatic reactions.   

Department Head Phil Bevilacqua adds, “We are very excited to have Elvira join our department. She brings creative, original quantum chemistry approaches to studying novel reactions and she interfaces with the experimentalists in our exceptional bioinorganic group.”

In her free time, Sayfutyarova enjoys traveling, hiking, reading, cooking and learning about human psychology. She is also an avid baker and creator of decorated pies; her pie art has even been featured by several media outlets. 

Please join the Department of Chemistry in welcoming Elvira Sayfutyarova.