Kurt Zilm, a world recognized leader in the field of nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) spectroscopy, has been named the William K. Lanman, Jr. Professor of Chemistry. His appointment was effective Feb. 20.
A member of the Faculty of Arts and Sciences and chair of the Department of Chemistry, Zilm is known for his development of new NMR methods and their application to a wide range of areas in chemistry. His research has involved important problems in organic geochemistry, supported metal catalysis, main group multiple bonding, fluxional transition metal poly-hydrides and dihydrogen complexes, as well as NMR of matrix isolated reactive intermediates. More recently his group has focused on the use of solid state NMR in the study of macromolecular complexes and phase separated proteins.
The Zilm lab developed the first highly sensitive methods employing proton detection for high resolution solid state NMR, an advance recognized by the 2017 Günther Laukien Prize. Current research in the Zilm lab is split between development of instrumentation for dynamic nuclear polarization, enhanced NMR of microliter-sized samples, and applications of NMR to the structural biology of infectious prions and other phase states of prion protein implicated in Alzheimer’s disease.
Zilm received his B.S. and Ph.D. degrees from the University of Utah. Following postdoctoral study in chemical physics at the University of California, Berkeley, and an appointment as a visiting scientist at the National Bureau of Standards in Gaithersburg, Maryland, he came to Yale in 1983.
He is a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science and a member of the Connecticut Academy of Sciences. Zilm’s devotion to teaching was recognized by the Harwood F. Byrnes/Richard B. Sewall Teaching Prize in 2018.
In addition to his research and teaching, Zilm hosts Science Saturdays at Yale. This popular science outreach program combines lectures by Yale professors with science demonstrations by Yale students, typically drawing over 150 students and members of the general public from throughout the Northeast several times a semester.