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Shabana Khan’s Personal Story of Discovery

Dr. Shabana Khan is an Associate Professor in the Department of Chemistry at the Indian Institute of Science Education and Research (IISER) in Pune and a member of the Editorial Advisory Board for Organometallics. Her research deals with the synthesis and application of low-valent compounds with main group elements. Her goal is to develop an economical, environmentally-friendly catalyst that can replace traditional transition metal catalysts, such as rhodium, platinum, and iridium, which are used for several organic transformations. “The day it can convert CO2 to methanol without using transition metal at industrial scale would be great for the chemists,” she said.

As a child in the small town where she grew up, she would go to the market with her mother. “You see the colors of the vegetable varies from orange to green to red,” she said. “That always made me curious. What is the origin of these colors?” At the age of 14, she read a biography of Marie Curie, and that was a turning point for her. She couldn’t believe a woman could be a scientist.

Shabana Khan’s family was very conservative. “They had the impression that girls should just get educated through the class 12 and then go for the marriage and should be taking care of the family.” Her mother, who always wanted an education but never had the opportunity, was an inspiration for Khan. “My mother wanted me to go to a good school, so she had a big fight with the family members especially with my grandfather.” Her father eventually agreed to send her to college.

After getting her undergraduate degree and qualifying the CSIR exam, she received her Ph.D. admission to IIT Delhi. “That was the turning point. I was exposed to the real education system and environment.” After her Ph.D., she got a job in industry as a research scientist. “I did not find that work interesting because I was more inclined to go for the more fundamental research.” She left that job for a post-doc position at Goettingen University. After three years, she received a faculty offer from IISER Pune.

As an EAB member, she has gained a lot of insight into how a journal functions, as well as an understanding of how to measure her work against other research. She also learned how to analyze papers and gives advice to other researchers. She tries to educate and spread awareness among scientists in India about her field, serving as an ambassador for Organometallics and helping authors understand what to expect from the journal.

Read selected research by Dr. Shabana Khan

Silicon(II) Bis(trimethylsilyl)amide (LSiN(SiMe3)2, L = PhC(NtBu)2) Supported Copper, Silver, and Gold Complexes
Organometallics 2015, 34, 22, 5401-5406
DOI: 10.1021/acs.organomet.5b00745

One Pot Synthesis of Disilatricycloheptene Analogue and Jutzi’s Disilene
Inorganic Chemistry 2010, 49, 20, 9689-9693
DOI: 10.1021/ic101552r

Reactivity Studies of a Disilene with N2O and Elemental Sulfur
Inorganic Chemistry 2011, 50, 21, 10878-10883
DOI: 10.1021/ic201419m

Preparation of RSn(I)–Sn(I)R with Two Unsymmetrically Coordinated Sn(I) Atoms and Subsequent Gentle Activation of P4
Journal of the American Chemical Society 2011, 133, 44, 17889-17894
DOI: 10.1021/ja207538g

Acyclic α-Phosphinoamido-Germylene: Synthesis and Characterization
Organometallics 2016, 35, 20, 3635-3640
DOI: 10.1021/acs.organomet.6b00689

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