Peter Larsen, Ph.D.

Senior Lecturer, CLI
+1 507 258 8024
(507) 258-8066
318 Commons


Ph.D., Chemistry, University of Kansas, 2005
B.A., Chemistry and Biology, Luther College, 2000

While formal academic training focuses on increasingly narrow disciplines, it is incumbent on educators to encourage life-long engagement with an increasingly complex world in a thoughtful, critical, and scrupulous manner.


I completed my doctorate in Bioinorganic Chemistry in 2005 followed by a post-doctoral fellowship in Germany. On returning from Germany, I took employment with the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, MN and accepted teaching hours from Rochester Community and Technical College. The development of a strong chemistry lab curriculum has drawn me to the University of Minnesota – Rochester.

My research background is in synthetic chemistry, with a focus on biologically-inspired metal ion binding sites for the activation of small molecules (O2, S8, NO and H2O). These binding motifs are intended for the pursuit of catalytic function. In addition, while working at Mayo Clinic I have also developed an interest in the clinical practice of biochemical genetics.

The opportunity to be part of developing a new academic program and a new university is an incredible chance to innovate and build a strong foundation for future students.


Education is a multi-faceted life-long engagement, not the 4 years we spend as an undergraduate. In our classes, students are trained in the formal subjects they would encounter at any rigorous academic institution; however, we seek to present our curriculum in an innovative interdisciplinary context. We do not practice science isolated from the outside world, but as part of a greater and increasingly inter-related world.

Science labs and chemistry labs in particular are intended to teach skills related to physical manipulation of chemicals and equipment; however, we do a great disservice to students if this is the extent of the lab experience. I strive to provide students with opportunities to practice the skills they have learned in their coursework and apply those skills to integrated problem-solving. It is the transition of student knowledge from the controlled academic environment to the external that is promoted as students prepare for the careers of the future. In the end, I hope to produce scientists and citizens who are prepared to encounter the new problems in a changing world with critical analysis grounded in a firm understanding of fundamentals.

Selected Publications

Abhishek Dey; Rosalie K. Hocking; Peter L. Larsen; A. S. Borovik; Keith O. Hodgson; Britt Hedman; Edward I. Solomon. “X-ray Absorption Spectroscopy and Density Functional Theory Studies of [(H3buea)FeIII-X]n- (X = S2-, O2-, OH-): Comparison of Bonding and Hydrogen Bonding in Oxo and Sulfido Complexes.” Journal of the American Chemical Society, 2006, 128, 9825-9833.

Peter L. Larsen, Rajeev Gupta, and A. S. Borovik: “Chalcogens as Terminal Ligands to Iron: Synthesis and Structure of Complexes with FeIII-S and FeIII-Se Motifs.” Journal of the American Chemical Society, 2004,126, 6522-6523.

Peter L. Larsen, Terry J. Parolin, Douglas R. Powell, Michael P. Hendrich, and A. S. Borovik: “Hydrogen Bonds around M(m-O)2M Rhombs: Stabilizing a {CoIII(m-O)2CoIII} complex at Room Temperature.” Angewandte Chemie Int. Ed. 2003, 42, 85-89.