Marcus W. Drover


Local Contact Information

Title: Assistant Professor
Office: ChB 219A
Phone: 519-661-2111 ext. 86334


Inorganic Teaching Division

Synthesis, Catalysis, and Molecular Materials

Sustainable Chemistry, Organometallic Chemistry, Main Group Chemistry

Group Website


B.Sc. Memorial University; Ph.D. University of British Columbia; Visiting Scholar: University of Oxford, Postdoc: California Institute of Technology

Awards and Honors

  • Ontario Early Researcher Award (ERA-R19), 2024-2029
  • Polyhedron, Emerging Investigator in Inorganic Chemistry, 2024
  • Chemical Communications, Emerging Investigator, 2024
  • RSC Advances, Emerging Investigator, 2023
  • ACS Organic Inorganic Au, 2023 Rising Star in Organic & Inorganic Chemistry, 2023
  • Editorial Board Member, Journal of Coordination Chemistry, 2023-2026
  • Editorial Advisory Board, Organometallics, 2023-2026
  • Youth Editorial Board, Chemical Synthesis, 2022-2024
  • Journal of Coordination Chemistry Emerging Leader in Coordination Chemistry, 2022
  • Chemical Society Reviews Emerging Investigator, 2022
  • Dalton Transactions New Talent Americas, 2020
  • John C. Polanyi Award in Chemistry, 2020
  • Banting Postdoctoral Fellowship, 2017-2019
  • Resnick Postdoctoral Prize Fellowship in Sustainability Science, 2017-2019
  • NSERC Postdoctoral Fellowship, 2017-2019
  • CSC Award for Graduate Work in Inorganic Chemistry (AGWIC), 2016
  • Vanier Canada Graduate Scholarship, 2013-2016
  • Michael Smith Foreign Study Supplement (U. Oxford), 2013


Research in the Drover group bridges the traditional limits of synthetic inorganic and organic chemistry, with an overarching goal to develop new functional molecules: ligands, transition metal, and main group compounds that promote the equitable use of resources, specifically with regard to global hydrogen, carbon, nitrogen, and oxygen cycles. This research program tackles grand challenges in small-molecule activation and fully complements Western’s strengths in chemical synthesis and materials science and drive to become a leader in carbon solutions. Project areas include: 

  1. Designing Ligands with Lewis Acidic Secondary Coordination Spheres: Diphosphine ligands have found great applicability in the realm of synthetic chemistry, with modifications to backbone length and R substituent leading to dramatic improvements in performance, selectivity, and net reactivity. Recent work in our laboratory has concentrated on the preparation of diphosphine ligands featuring borane groups in the secondary coordination sphere (SCS). We and others have shown that these groups are participatory in chemical transformations, offering stabilization to Lewis basic substrates such as amides, sulfides, hydroxides, alkyl anions, hydrides, pyridines, and more. 
  1. Expanding the Hydride Transfer Toolbox: Hydride transfer reactions are ubiquitous in chemistry, mediating challenging reductions of a range of organic and inorganic substrates. Detailed characterization of these reagents continues to be an important challenge of broad interest. We look to build new hydride transfer delivery reagents with an aim to apply such to reactions related to sustainability. 
  1. Fuels from Waste: Achieving Selectivity in CO₂ Reduction: Despite the abundance of CO₂ in Earth’s atmosphere, catalytic transformations of this molecule currently focus on reduction to formate (HCO₂⁻) or carbon monoxide (CO) - representing a bottleneck for accessing reduced C₁-equivalents such as methanol (CH₃OH) directly.  We aim to identify new catalysts for the selective reduction of CO₂, a waste/greenhouse gas, to CH₃OH.​ 
  1. New Avenues in Dihydrogen Chemistry: Oxidation, Activation, and Storage: Given increased global demand on energy, finding an alternative to fossil fuel combustion is requisite. The management of electron equivalents between H₂ and H⁺ via oxidation has been considered a modern solution to this problem, delivering clean energy in the form of H₂ fuel cells. To date, the golden standard for H₂ oxidation (HOR) is Pt-metal – a high-cost material that is also employed by the automotive industry. We seek to find a cheaper base metal alternative.



  • CHEM2281: Inorganic Chemistry II – Chemistry of the Main Group Elements
  • CHEM9541: X-ray Crystallography Theory and Practice


Link to updated publication list on Google Scholar.

  • Ynone Co-Coordination at a Nickel Boranyl Complex: An Assessment of Secondary Coordination Sphere Effects Clapson Clapson, M.L.; Dilinaer, A. (Dina); Lanaque, T. C.; Zurakowski, J.A.; Austen, B. J. H.; Drover, M. W.* Inorg. Chem. 2024, ASAP. DOI: 10.1021/acs.inorgchem.3c04264.
  • A Blueprint for Secondary Coordination Sphere Editing: Approaches Toward Lewis Acid Carbon Dioxide Co-Activation Zurakowski, J.A.; Durfy, C.S.; Drover, M.W.* ChemSusChem2024e202400039. DOI: 10.1002/cssc.202400039**Included in “Hot Topic: Carbon Dioxide” and "Editor's Choice: Spotlight"
  • Electrochemical Properties of a Pyridine-Tunable Trisferrocenylborane Sharma, H.; Demchuk, M.J.; Debnath, S.; Austen, B.J.H.; Drover, M.W.* Organometallics 2024, ASAP. DOI: 10.1021/acs.organomet.3c00470. **Invited contribution for Applied Organometallic Chemistry.
  • Anomalous Hydroboration at a Square Planar Ni(II) Diphenylvinylphosphine Complex: Geometric Impacts on Solution Equilibria Clapson, M.L.; Austen, B.J.H.; Zurakowski, J.A.; Drover, M.W.* Organometallics 2024, 43, 119-125. DOI: 10.1021/acs.organomet.3c00442.
  • An Investigation of Allyl Bis(Diphosphine) Iron Complexes: Towards Precursors for Cooperative CO2 Activation Durfy, C.S.; Zurakowski, J.A.; Jobin, G.; Drover, M.W.* Chem. -Eur. J. 2023, e202302721. (7 pages) DOI: 10.1002/chem.202302721. *Selected as a “HOT” Article & Open access.
  • Racemic and Meso Diastereomers of a P-Chirogenic Diboranyldiphosphinoethane Austen, B. J. H.; Sharma, H.; Zurakowski, J. A.; Drover, M.W.* Organometallics 2022, 41, 2709-2715. DOI: 10.1021/acs.organomet.2c00336
  • A Guide to Secondary Coordination Sphere Editing Drover, M.W.* Chem. Soc. Rev. 2022, 51, 1861-1880. DOI: 10.1039/D2CS00022A
  • Bis(1-bora-4-phosphorinane) Ring Closure at Cp*M (M = Co, Fe) Complexes Zurakowski, J. A.; Austen, B. J. H.; Brown, K. R.; Drover, M.W.* Chem. Commun. 2022, 58, 2500-2503. DOI: 10.1039/D1CC07060F
  • Exterior Decorating: Lewis Acid Secondary Coordination Spheres for Cooperative Reactivity Zurakowski, J. A.; Austen, B. J. H.; Drover, M.W.* Trends Chem. 2022, 4, 331-346. DOI: 10.1016/j.trechm.2022.01.007
  • Competitive Gold/Nickel Transmetalation Demchuk, M.; Zurakowski, J. A.; Austen, B. J. H.; Nelson, D. J.; Drover, M.W. Chem. Commun. 2022, 58, 68-71. DOI: 10.1039/D1CC06064C