Bowring Research Lab

Miriam BowringMiriam A. Bowring


I am an associate professor at Reed College in Portland, Oregon. I teach general and inorganic chemistry courses, and run a research laboratory. In the laboratory, we aim to untangle the fundamental mechanisms that make catalysts work. We have a special focus on protons, the smallest nuclei, and determining what sets them apart from the heavier atoms. New efficient catalysts for synthesis and fuels can be developed based on the mechanisms we uncover.

Before my arrival at Reed, I was an NIH postdoctoral fellow with Prof. James M. Mayer at both Yale University and University of Washington. We designed and built a single organic molecule to study the ultrafast, simultaneous movement of protons and electrons by laser spectroscopy in collaboration with the research groups of Profs. Daniel Gamelin and Cody Schlenker. I earned my Ph.D. with Profs. Robert G. Bergman and T. Don Tilley at the University of California, Berkeley. I began my graduate work by studying the mechanism of a known platinum catalyst for breaking carbon-hydrogen bonds and discovered that the platinum was not actually the catalyst after all. In related work, we found a new way to break strong carbon-carbon bonds by breaking a carbon-hydrogen bond first, using an original catalyst. My B.S. in chemistry is from Yale University, with Prof. Robert H. Crabtree as my senior thesis advisor. As an undergraduate student, I worked with Prof. Marisa C. Kozlowski at the University of Pennsylvania and Prof. Gregory C. Fu at MIT during two summer NSF-REU programs. Along the way, I have been a high school chemistry teacher, an ultimate frisbee coach, and worked with a science education nonprofit.


*Reed undergraduate coauthors

Rettig, I. D.; Xu, J.;* Knight, E. A.;* Truong, P. T.; Bowring, M. A. Variable Kinetic Isotope Effect Reveals Multi-Step Pathway for Protonolysis of a Pt–Me Bond. ChemRxiv: Cambridge: Cambridge Open Engage 2022. DOI: 10.26434/chemrxiv-2022-xvp7l.

Truong, P. T.; Miller, S. G.;* McLaughlin Sta. Maria, E. J.;* Bowring, M. A. Large Isotope Effects in Organometallic Chemistry. Chemistry: A European Journal, 2021, 27 (60), 14800–14815.

Carlson, A. W.;* Primka, D. A.;* Douma, E. D.;* Bowring, M. A. Evaluation of Air-Free Glassware Using the Ketyl Test. Dalton Transactions, 2020, 49 (43), 15213–15218.

Bowring, M. A.; Bradshaw, L. R.; Parada, G. A.; Pollock, T. P.; Fernández-Terán, R. J.; Kolmar, S. S.; Mercado, B. Q.; Schlenker, C. W.; Gamelin, D. R.; Mayer, J. M. Activationless Multiple-Site Concerted Proton-Electron Tunneling. Journal of the American Chemical Society, 2018, 140 (24), 7449–7452.

Bowring, M. A.; Bergman, R. G.; Tilley, T. D. Isolation of a Dicationic Platinum Complex with Two Accessible Coordination Sites. Organometallics, 2013, 32 (19), 5266-5268.

Bowring, M. A.; Bergman, R. G.; Tilley, T. D. Pt-Catalyzed C–C Activation Induced by C–H Activation. Journal of the American Chemical Society, 2013, 135 (35), 13121-13128.

Hill, A. D.; Zoerb, M. C.; Nguyen, S. C.; Lomont, J. P.; Bowring, M. A.; Harris, C. B. Determining Equilibrium Fluctuations Using Temperature-Dependent 2D-IR. Journal of Physical Chemistry B, 2013, 117 (49), 15346-15355.

Bowring, M. A.; Bergman, R. G.; Tilley, T. D. Disambiguation of Metal and Brønsted Acid Catalyzed Pathways for Hydroarylation with Platinum(II) Catalysts. Organometallics, 2011, 30, 1295-1298.