Peter M. Graham, Ph.D.

Associate Professor
Office: Science Center 416
Phone: (610) 660-1794
Fax: (610) 660-1783

Curriculum Vitae (CV)

I graduated with a B.S. in Chemistry from the College of William and Mary in 2000. At William and Mary I participated in undergraduate research under the supervision of Dr. Robert Pike and synthesized a series of copper-containing polymeric networks.

I continued my education at University of Virginia under the mentorship of Dr. Dean Harman where my research focused on the development of a tungsten dearomatization agent that would enable the functionalization of aromatic molecules such as benzene or pyridine. In 2005, I completed my dissertation entitled "The Synthesis and Reactivity of Tungsten Dearomatization Agents."

Next, I moved to Vancouver, BC, Canada as a post-doctoral fellow with Dr. Peter Legzdins in the field of carbon-hydrogen bond activation. In August of 2008, I joined the Department of Chemistry at St. Joseph's University.

My research program at Saint Joseph's University involves undergraduates from the Chemistry and Chemical Biology Programs. Students are involved with all aspects of chemical research and learn how to prepare and characterize transition metal complexes that are air and moisture sensitive.


B.S. The College of William and Mary (2000)

Ph.D. University of Virginia (2005)


Professional Experience

Postdoctoral Fellowship - University of British Columbia (2005 - 2008)


Courses Taught

  • CHM 120 General Chemistry I
  • CHM 125 General Chemistry II
  • CHM 120L General Chemistry I Laboratory
  • CHM 125L General Chemistry II Laboratory
  • CHM 350 Inorganic Chemistry
  • CHM 350L Inorganic Chemistry Laboratory
  • CHM 440 Organometallic Chemistry


(†SJU undergraduate co-authors)
  • Carden, R. G.†; Ohane, J. J.†; Pike, R. D.; Graham, P.M. “Synthesis of Tungsten and Molybdenum Carbon Dioxide Complexes” Organometallics 2013, 32, 2505-2508.
  • Graham, P.M.; Buschhaus, M.S.A.; Baillie, R.A.; Semproni, S.P.; Legzdins, P. "Hydroperoxide-Initiated Intramolecular Insertions of NO into Metal-Carbon Bonds" Organometallics 2010, 29, 5068-5072.
  • Graham, P.M.; Buschhaus, M.S.A.; Pamplin, C.B.; Legzdins, P.; "Reactivity of Cp*Mo(NO)(=CHCMe3) with Olefins and Dienes: C-H Activation Reactions of Molybdenacyclobutanes" Organometallics 2008, 27, 2840-2851.
  • Graham, P.M.; Buschhaus, M.S.A.; Legzdins, P; "Intramolecular C-H Activation Reactions of Molybdenacyclobutanes" J. Am. Chem. Soc. 2006; 128(28); 9038-9039.
  • Graham, P.M.; Delafuente, D.A.; Liu, W.; Myers, W.H.; Sabat, M.; Harman, W. D.; "Diels-Alder Reaction of Pyridine Activated by a π-Basic Tungsten Fragment" J. Am. Chem. Soc. 2005, 127, 10568-72.
  • Graham, P.M.; Mocella, C.J.; Sabat, M.; Harman, W.D.; "Dihapto-Coordinated Amide, Ester, and Aldehyde Complexes and their Role in Decarbonylation" Organometallics 2005, 24, 911-919.
  • Graham, P.M.; Meiere, S.H.; Sabat, M.; Harman, W.D.; "Dearomatization of Benzene, Deamidization of N,N-Dimethylformamide, and a Versatile New Tungsten π Base" Organometallics 2003, 22, 4364.
  • Graham, P.M.; Pike, R.D.; Sabat, M.; Bailey, R.D.; Pennington, W.T.; "Coordination Polymers of Copper(I) Halides" Inorganic Chemistry 2000, 39, 5121.

Grants and Awards

American Chemical Society - Petroleum Research Fund Undergraduate Research Grant (2014 - 2017)

“Synthesis and Reactivity of Molybdenum and Tungsten Carbon Dioxide Complexes”



Carbon Dioxide Activation and Utilization

As part of nature’s carbon cycle, photosynthesis converts atmospheric carbon dioxide into carbohydrates which provide cells with energy and the chemical building blocks needed to synthesize other compounds. Since the industrial revolution, humans have relied on fossil fuels to provide energy and the chemical building blocks needed for the manufacture of everything from plastics to pharmaceuticals. This reliance on fossil fuels has broken the balance of the global carbon cycle by concentrating carbon in the atmosphere. The development of alternative chemical processes that use carbon dioxide as a chemical building block would ease this imbalance. Not only would such processes decrease the reliance on petroleum raw materials, but they would also consume excess carbon dioxide by converting it to useful chemicals. This would provide an economically viable way to mitigate carbon dioxide emission by chemical industry, and could become an important facet of ultimately restoring balance to the global carbon cycle.

Carbon dioxide is an attractive alternative carbon starting material; however, its innate stability presents a major challenge, and only a handful of known chemical processes can make use of carbon dioxide as a raw material. Therefore, in order to effectively use carbon dioxide in chemical reactions, its chemical stability must be overcome. To do that, we need to "activate" carbon dioxide. This requires the use of a catalyst and my lab is focused on studying potential catalysts that contain the metals tungsten and molybdenum.

I recently discussed this research on WHYY's The Pulse.  The interview is available to listen to here:

Mentioned in SJU News