New Faculty Focus: Clifton Wagner

August 12, 2022

Dr. Clifton Wagner

LSU Chemistry Assistant Professor Clifton Wagner

The Louisiana State University Department of Chemistry welcomes Assistant Professor Clifton Wagner, who has joined the department faculty for the fall 2022 semester.

Dr. Clifton Wagner, originally from Glen Burnie, Maryland, received his Bachelor of Science in chemistry from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. 

Following undergraduate studies, Wagner held various teaching positions focusing on the academic development of middle and high school students. As a tutor for C2 Education and teaching assistant for the MIT-Wellesley Upward Bound Program, Wagner taught standardized test preparation and abbreviated high school level math courses to prepare students for the school year. 

Wagner then pursued his graduate studies, completing his Ph.D. with Distinguished Professor Philip Power at University of California at Davis. His dissertation, which investigated the properties low-coordinate transition metal and main group metal amides, was titled, “Investigation of Intramolecular London Dispersion Force based Ligand Design via the Synthesis and Characterization of Metal Amides.”

His collective scientific and teaching experiences inspired Wagner to pursue a career as a faculty member. “With the exception of the discovery of new inorganic molecules, the observation of a student’s intellectual growth over the years has been a singularly rewarding experience,” said Wagner. 

In 2019, Wagner returned to the East Coast as a postdoctoral scholar for the lab of Associate Professor Tianning Diao at New York University. During his time there, he studied how redox-active ligand frameworks influence catalytic cross-coupling reactions. His research focused on addressing unanswered questions regarding the organometallic reactivity of pyridyl oxazoline and bioxazoline organonickel radical complexes.

At LSU, Wagner will build a research program that focuses on the investigation of novel inorganic synthetic methodologies. According to Wagner, his research goals are to “pursue the exploration of rigorously inorganic chemical space at a molecular level.”