Vanessa Orr

Credentials: Ph.D. Candidate

Position title: 7th Year Graduate Student


Phone: 608-262-0599

Chemistry Building, 6207

Vanessa Orr with Paris in the background

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Vanessa received a B.S. in Chemistry and a minor in Mathematics from California Lutheran University in 2014. While there she worked on the optimization of direct arylation, a type of palladium-catalyzed cross coupling, under the advisement of Dr. John F. Tannaci. Since joining the McMahon | Woods group, she has been working in the rotational spectroscopy sub-group. In collaboration with Kaori Kobayashi’s Group and John F. Stanton, she is working on the semi-equilibrium structure determination of thiophene. This project involves analysis of 20+ isotopologues and applying computational methods presented in the pyrimidine project to a heterocycle with a row-3 element. The vibrational states of thiophene below ~900 cm-1 have been analyzed as a separate project. Another on-going project centers on the analysis of the vibrational states of the anti-clinal conformer of 4-cyano-1,2-butadiene, which was synthesized by Sam K. with the help of undergraduate researchers and was recently published in JOC. This molecule involves the internal rotation of an asymmetric top with an asymmetric frame, and interesting coupling of the harmonics of the vibrational states that correspond to this rotation. When not working on chemistry, Vanessa enjoys singing, listening to music, walking by the Madison lakes, and traveling.

Recent Publication:

Orr, V. L.; Esselman, B. J.; Dorman, P. M.; Amberger, B. K.; Guzei, I. A.; Woods, R. C.; McMahon, R. J. Millimeter-wave Spectroscopy, X-ray Crystal Structure, and Quantum Chemical Studies of Diketene – Resolving Ambiguities Concerning the Structure of the Ketene Dimer. J. Phys. Chem. A. 2016, 120 (39), 7753-7763.  View Article