Jason Keith - Chemistry Faculty - Colgate University

Colgate Directory


Jason Keith

Assistant Professor of Chemistry
Chemistry, 308 Wynn Hall
p 315-228-7394

I was born in Fort Worth, Texas in 1978 and moved to the small town of Weatherford, Texas with my parents and older brother when I was eight years old. I graduated from Weatherford High School in 1997. Upon graduation I went on to the University of North Texas where I pursued degrees in Chemistry and Mathematics. I graduated Magna Cum Laude in 2001. In the fall of that same year I began my graduate work at the California Institute of Technology and received my PhD in Chemistry in 2008. While there I was awarded a National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship. From 2008 to 2010 I was a postdoctoral fellow with Michael B. Hall in the Chemistry Department at Texas A&M University. In 2010 I moved to the mountains of northern New Mexico were I was a Director’s Postdoctoral Fellow in the Theoretical Division at Los Alamos National Laboratory until 2013. In the summer of 2013 I left the mountains that I had come to love and a life sharing a border with Mexico to move northeast to central New York and a new understanding of winter.

I am currently an Assistant Professor of Chemistry here at Colgate University. My research here is based on the application of Density Functional Theory to various projects involving electronic structure, spectroscopy and mechanism. My primary research efforts focus on transition metal systems although I have soft spot for f-block elements from my time at LANL and have also on occasion worked with main group and organic systems. While my research frequently focuses on fundamental concepts such as bonding, applied projects in my group are more commonplace and are often related to clean energy and the environment. I have publications in the areas of fuel cells, biofuels, nuclear energy, as well as environmental cleanup. I currently collaborate with many experimental chemists both here at Colgate and elsewhere.  


BS - Chemistry, BS - Mathematics, University of North Texas, 2001

PhD - Chemistry, California Institute of Technology, 2008


Palladium Mediated Activation of Molecular Oxygen

Keith Research Group


Professor Jason Keith's research group posing on the Persson steps

Current Group Members

Andre D'Souza '17 (joined Spring '14)
Daniel Kim '15 (joined Spring '14)
Haochuan Wei '16 (joined Summer '14)
Fiona Evans '16 (joined Summer '14)
Celia Sherry '15 (joined Summer '14)
Greg Zengilowski '15 (joined Fall '14)

High Performance Computing support provided by Louis J. Vernon

Former Group Members

Hyuk Yong Kwon '14
Cum Laude
Honors in Chemistry
Fall '13 - Spring '14
Current: South Korean Military Duty

Samuel P. McCollom '14
Magna Cum Laude
High Honors in Chemistry
Fall '13 - Spring '14
Current: Chemistry Graduate School at UPenn


2010 Los Alamos National Laboratory Director's Postdoctoral Fellowship

2001 National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship

1999 Barry M. Goldwater Scholarship

Colgate Highlights

Colgate News

Scientific Pedigree

Jason M. Keith obtained his Ph.D. in Chemistry in June 2008 from Prof. William A. Goddard, III, Professor at Caltech (California Institute of Technology) in Pasadena, CA

William A. Goddard, III obtained his Ph.D. in Engineering Science in October 1964 from Prof. Pol Duwez, Professor at Caltech (California Institute of Technology) in Pasadena CA

Pol Duwez received his D.Sc. in 1933 from Prof. Emile Henriot at U. Brussels in Belgium

Emile Henriot received his D.Sc. in Physics in 1912 from Marie Curie, Professor at the Sorbonne, Paris France

Marie Curie received her D.Sc. in 1903 from Prof. Becquerel at the Ecole Phys. Chim. Ind, Paris France


Google Scholar

  • Keith, J. M.; Kim, J. K.; Alexander, L.; Wu, R.; Martin, R. L.; Batista, E. R.; Michalczyk, R.; Scott, B.; Hanson, S. K.; Sutton, A. D.; Gordon, J, C.; Silks, L. A. P. “Aqueous Organocatalysis Applicable to the Carbon Chain Extension of Carbohydrate Derivatives: Application to the Production of Transportation Fuels” Curr. Org. Chem. 2014, manuscript accepted. 

  • Kuppuswamy, S.; Powers, T. M.; Johnson, B. M.; Brozek, C. K.; Krogman, J. P.;; Bezpalko, M. W.; Berben, L. A.; Keith, J. M.; Foxman, B. M.; Thomas, C. M. “One-Electron Oxidation Chemistry and Subsequent Reactivity of Diiron imido Complexes” Inorg. Chem.2014, 53, 5429. 

  • Donahue, C. M.; Pacheco, J. S. L.; Keith, J. M.; Daly, S. R. “Sulfur K-edge X-ray Absorption Spectroscopy and Time-Dependent Density Functional Theory of Arsenic Dithiocarbamates” Dalton Trans., 2014, 43, 9189. 

  • Minasian, S.G.; Keith, J.M.; Batista, E.R.; Boland, K.S.; Clark, D. L.; Kozimor, S.A.; Martin, R.L.; Shuh, D.K.; Tyliszczak T.; "New Evidence for 5f Covalency in Actinocenes Determined from Carbon K-edge XAS and Electronic Structure Theory" Chem. Sci. 2014, 5, 351.

  • Minasian, S.G.; Keith, J.M.; Batista, E.R.; Boland, K.S.; Kozimor, S.A.; Martin, R.L.; Shuh, D.K.; Tyliszczak T.; Vernon, L.J. "A Carbon K-edge X-Ray Absorption Spectroscopy and Time Dependent Density Functional Theory Examination of Metal–Carbon Bonding in Metallocene Dichlorides" J. Am. Chem. Soc. 2013, 135, 14731.

  • Hayes, P.G.; Xu, Z.; Beddie, C.; Keith, J.M.; Hall, M.B.; Tilley, T.D. "Synthesis and Reactivity of an Osmium Silylyne Complex" J. Am. Chem. Soc. 2013, 135, 11780.

  • Minasian, S.G.; Keith, J.M.; Batista, E.R.; Boland, K.S.; Bradley, J.A.; Clark, D.L.; Conradson, S.D.; Daly, S.R.; Kozimor, S.A.; Lukens, W.W.; Martin, R.L.; Seidler, G.T.; Shuh, D.K.; Tyliszczak, T.; Wagner, G.; Yang, P. "Trends in Transition Metal–Oxygen Orbital Mixing Identified Using Oxygen K-edge X-ray Spectroscopies" J. Am. Chem. Soc. 2013, 135, 1864.

  • Daly, S.R.; Keith, J.M.; Batista, E.R.; Boland, K.S.; Clark, D.L; Kozimor, S.A.; Martin, R.L. “Sulfur K-edge X-ray Absorption Spectroscopy and Time-Dependent Density Functional Theory of Dithiophosphinate Extractants: Minor Actinide Selectivity and Electronic Structure Correlations” J. Am. Chem. Soc. 2012, 134, 14408.

  • Keith, J.M.*; Teets, T.S.; Nocera, D.G. “O2 Insertion into Group 9 Metal-Hydride Bonds: Evidence for Oxygen Activation through the Hydrogen-Atom-Abstraction Mechanism” Inorg. Chem. 2012, 51, 9499.

  • Daly, S.R.; Keith, J.M.; Boland, K.S.; Batista, E.R.; Kozimor, S.A.; Martin, R.L.; Scott, B.L. “Probing Ni[S2PR2]2 Electronic Structure to Generate Insight Relevant to Minor Actinide Extraction Chemistry” Inorg. Chem. 2012, 51, 7551.

  • Minasian, S.G.; Keith, J.M.; Batista, E.R.; Boland, K.S.; Clark, D.L.; Conradson, S.D.; Kozimor, S.A.; Martin, R.L.; Schwarz, D.E.; Scott, B.L.; Shuh, D.K.; Wagner, G.; Wilkerson, M.P.; Wolfsberg, L.E.; Yang, P. "Determining Relative f and d Orbital Contributions to M–Cl Covalency in MCl62– (M = Ti, Zr, Hf, U) and UOCl5 Using Cl K-Edge X-ray Absorption Spectroscopy and Time-Dependent Density Functional Theory" J. Am. Chem. Soc. 2012, 134, 5586.

  • Keith, J.M.; Batista, E.R. “Theoretical Determination of Thermodynamic Factors in Selective Extraction of Am3+ from Eu3+ by Dithiophosphinic Acids” Inorg. Chem. 2012, 51, 13.

  • Keith, J.M.; Goddard, W.A., III “Chelating Base Effects in Palladium Mediated Activation of Molecular Oxygen” Organometallics 2012, 31, 545.

  • Keith, J.M.*; Meyerstein, D.; Hall, M.B. “Computational Investigations into Hydrogen Atom Abstraction from Rhodium-Hydride Complexes by Methyl Radicals in Aqueous Solution” Eur. J. Inorg. Chem. 2011, 31, 4901.

  • Travia, N.E.; Xu, Z.; Keith, J.M.; Ison, E.A.; Fanwick, P.E.; Hall, M.B.; Abu-Omar, M. M. “Observation of Inductive Effects that Cause a Change in the Rate-Determining Step for the Conversion of Rhenium Azides to Imido Complexes” Inorg. Chem. 2011, 50, 10505.

  • Keith, J.M.*; Abu-Omar, M.M.; Hall, M.B. “Computational Investigation of Concerted Dismutation of Chlorite Ion by Water-Soluble Iron-Porphyrins” Inorg. Chem. 2011, 50, 7928.

  • Keith, J.M.; Hall, M.B.; Richmond, M.G.  “Ortho Metalation Dynamics and Ligand Fluxionality in the Conversion of Os3(CO)10(dppm) to the Unsaturated Cluster HOs3(CO)8[m-PhP(C6H4)CH2PPh2]:  Experimental and DFT Evidence for the Participation of Agostic C-H and p-Aryl Intermediates at an Intact Triosmium Cluster” Organometallics 2010, 28, 4041.

  • Keith, J.M.; Hall, M.B. “Potential Hydrogen Bottleneck in [NiFe] Hydrogenase” Inorg. Chem. 2010, 49, 6378.

  • Keith, J.M.; Tomić Z.D; Zarić, S.D.; Hall, M.B. “Oxygen Atom Transfer Catalysis: Ligand Effects on the Key Reaction Barrier in Molybdenum (VI) Dioxo Systems” J. Mol. Catal A: Chem., Computational Catalysis Special Issue, 2010, 324, 15.

  • Keith, J.M.; Goddard, W.A., III “The Mechanism for Activation of Molecular Oxygen by cis- and trans-(Pyridine)2Pd(OAc)H: Pd0 vs. Direct Insertion” J. Am. Chem. Soc. 2009, 131, 1416.

  • Keith, J.M.; Goddard, W.A., III; Oxgaard J. “Pd-Mediated Activation of Molecular Oxygen: Pd(0) versus Direct Insertion” J. Am. Chem. Soc. 2007, 129, 10361.

  • Keith, J.M.; Muller, R.P.; Kemp, R.A.; Goldberg, K.I.; Goddard, W.A., III; Oxgaard J. “Mechanism of Direct Molecular Oxygen Insertion in a Palladium(II)-Hydride Bond” Inorg. Chem. 2006, 45, 9631.

  • Keith, J.M.; Oxgaard J.; Goddard, W.A., III “Pd-Mediated Activation of Molecular Oxygen in Nonpolar Medium” J. Am. Chem. Soc. 2005, 127, 13172.

  • Nielsen, R.J.; Keith, J.M.; Stoltz. B.M.; Goddard, W.A., III “A Computational Model Relating Structure and Reactivity in Enantioselective Oxidations of Secondary Alcohols by (–)-Sparteine-PdII Complexes” J. Am. Chem. Soc. 2004, 126, 7967.

  • Marchand, A.P.; Keith, J.M.; Alihodzic, S.; Ganguly, B.; Somers, A.W.; Hariprakasha, H.K.; Power, T.D.; Watson, W.H.; Bodige, S.G. “Stereoelectronic Control of Grignard Additions of Vinylmagnesium Bromide to 1-Methyl- and 3-Methylpentacyclo[,6.03,10.05,9]undecane-8,11-diones and to 1-Methylhexacyclo[,11.04,9.04,14.09,13]pentadeca-5,7-diene-3,10-dione” Struct. Chem. 2001, 12, 31.