Erin is a synthetic chemist focused on uniting areas of synthetic organic chemistry, photochemistry, inorganic materials, and polymer chemistry for new applications in materials science and synthesis. She finished her PhD research with Prof. Abigail Doyle and Prof. Tomislav Rovis, leveraging photoredox catalysis to develop new synthetic methods for C–O bond activation. A primary focus was employing phosphines with a photoredox catalysis to activate alcohols and carboxylic acids to generate carbon centered radicals. Following her PhD, she moved to Cornell University as a Cornell Presidential Postdoctoral Fellow to work with Prof. Brett Fors on new methods of polymerizations. Here, she developed a new strategy for a photocontrolled polymerization from a C–H bond to render polymer conjugation for polymer upcycling and biomedical applications.
The Stache Lab will apply advanced methods in catalysis to develop new polymerization strategies to access polymers with unique material properties. Identification of monomers to access new materials and ultimately study potential applications will be a key focus. Additionally, her research will focus on polymer sustainability, such as, developing new methods for degradable polymers. Despite the sophistication of methods to prepare such commodity polymers like polyethylene and polystyrene, strategies to repurpose these materials at their end of life lag far behind. Identification and development of polymer degradation methods will be another key focus of research.