Melanie Sanford

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Melanie Sanford
Born (1975-06-16) June 16, 1975 (age 43)
Nationality American
Education Classical High School
Alma mater Yale University, California Institute of Technology, Princeton University
Awards MacArthur Fellowship, Sackler Prize
Scientific career
Fields chemistry
Institutions University of Michigan
Doctoral advisor Robert H. Grubbs
Other academic advisors John T. Groves

Melanie Sanford (born June 16, 1975) is an American chemist, who currently works at the University of Michigan, where she holds the positions of Moses Gomberg Collegiate Professor of Chemistry and Arthur F. Thurnau Professor of Chemistry.[1]


Sanford was born and grew up in Providence, Rhode Island. She attended Classical High School. She graduated from Yale University with a BS and MS in Chemistry in 1996, having carried out research with Robert H. Crabtree, while competing for the Yale Gymnastics NCAA team. She graduated from the California Institute of Technology with a Ph.D. in 2001, where she studied Chemistry with Robert H. Grubbs. She did postdoctoral work at Princeton University, where she studied with John T. Groves.[2]

Sanford began her academic career as an Assistant Professor at the University of Michigan in 2003. She was promoted to Associate Professor with tenure in 2007 and Full Professor in 2013.


Sanford is best known for her studies of high-valent organopalladium species, particularly those implicated in Pd-catalyzed C–H functionalization reactions.[3][4] Her group has also developed new methods to access fluorinated and radiofluorinated materials for agrochemicals, pharmaceuticals[5] and radiology.[6] In a collaboration with Matthew Sigman at the University of Utah her group has designed new compounds for use in redox flow batteries.[7][8]

Awards and Honors[edit]

Sanford has received numerous awards and honors, including a 2011 MacArthur Fellowship[9] and the 2013 Sackler Prize in Chemistry.[10] She is also a Fellow for the American Association for the Advancement of Science, and was elected a member of the National Academy of Sciences[11] and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 2016.[12]


  1. ^ Melanie S Sanford
  2. ^ Jim Austin (November 24, 2006). "Melanie Sanford: The Interview". Science.
  3. ^ Dick, Allison R.; Hull, Kami L.; Sanford, Melanie S. (2004). "A Highly Selective Catalytic Method for the Oxidative Functionalization of C–H Bonds". Journal of the American Chemical Society. 126 (8): 2300–2301. doi:10.1021/ja031543m.
  4. ^ Lyons, Thomas W.; Sanford, Melanie S. (2010). "Palladium-Catalyzed Ligand-Directed C–H Functionalization Reactions". Chemical Reviews. 110 (2): 1147–1169. doi:10.1021/cr900184e. PMC 2836499.
  5. ^ Allen, Laura J.; Lee, Shin Hee; Cheng, Yang; Hanley, Patrick S.; Muhuhi, Joseck M.; Kane, Elisabeth; Powers, Stacey L.; Anderson, John E.; Bell, Bruce M. (2014-07-16). "Developing Efficient Nucleophilic Fluorination Methods and Application to Substituted Picolinate Esters". Organic Process Research & Development. 18 (8): 1045–1054. doi:10.1021/op5001258. ISSN 1083-6160.
  6. ^ Mossine, Andrew V.; Brooks, Allen F.; Makaravage, Katarina J.; Miller, Jason M.; Ichiishi, Naoko; Sanford, Melanie S.; Scott, Peter J. H. (2015-11-14). "Synthesis of [18F]Arenes via the Copper-Mediated [18F]Fluorination of Boronic Acids". Organic Letters. 17 (23): 5780–5783. doi:10.1021/acs.orglett.5b02875. ISSN 1523-7060. PMC 4672358. PMID 26568457.
  7. ^ Cabrera, Pablo J.; Yang, Xingyi; Suttil, James A.; Hawthorne, Krista L.; Brooner, Rachel E. M.; Sanford, Melanie S.; Thompson, Levi T. (2015-07-06). "Complexes Containing Redox Noninnocent Ligands for Symmetric, Multielectron Transfer Nonaqueous Redox Flow Batteries". The Journal of Physical Chemistry C. 119 (28): 15882–15889. doi:10.1021/acs.jpcc.5b03582. ISSN 1932-7447.
  8. ^ Sevov, Christo S.; Hickey, David P.; Cook, Monique E.; Robinson, Sophia G.; Barnett, Shoshanna; Minteer, Shelley D.; Sigman, Matthew S.; Sanford, Melanie S. (2017-02-21). "Physical Organic Approach to Persistent, Cyclable, Low-Potential Electrolytes for Flow Battery Applications". Journal of the American Chemical Society. 139 (8): 2924–2927. doi:10.1021/jacs.7b00147. ISSN 0002-7863.
  9. ^ "Melanie Sanford, Organometallic Chemist". MacArthur Foundation. Retrieved 3 February 2015.
  10. ^ "The Raymond and Beverly Sackler International Prize in the Physical Sciences". Retrieved June 25, 2013.
  11. ^ "National Academy of Sciences Members and Foreign Associates Elected". Retrieved 2016-05-05.
  12. ^ "Press Releases - American Academy of Arts & Sciences". Retrieved 2018-07-26.

External links[edit]