Chemistry at Illinois University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

Roman Boulatov

Assistant Professor of Chemistry

Roman Boulatov received his undergraduate degree from the University of St. Petersburg in 1996 and his Ph.D. from Stanford University in 2002. After completing his postdoctoral at Harvard University, Roman joined the University of Illinois in the spring of 2005. His research is in a highly-multidisciplinary area of energy transduction at the molecular, supramolecular, meso- and macroscopic scales. He is particularly interested in experimental synthetic studies of the basic principles of chemomechanical energy transduction.


We study the effect of force on rates of localized chemical reactions. We are motivated by the increasing need to model quantitatively multiscale phenomena, such as directional translation of a microscopic object by structural changes in a reacting (macro)molecule (molecular propulsion), fragmentation of polymers in shear flows or on clean surfaces, propagation of cracks in polymers and operation of motor proteins. Being unsatisfied with the limited resolution of conventional force spectroscopies, we developed our own approach which uses molecular force probes to generate restoring forces in structurally diverse functional groups. Our work combines organic and inorganic synthesis, physical characterization and quantum-chemical calculations providing an opportunity for group members to gain broad expertise in methods of modern chemical science.

For more information on Dr. Boulatov, see his group website at:


Yang, Q.; Huang, Z.; Khvostichenko, D.; Kucharski, T.; Chen, J.; Boulatov, R. A molecular force probe. Nature Nanotech. 2009 , 4, 302-306 . (cover article)

Kucharski, T. J.; Huang, Z.; Yang, Q.-Z.; Tian, Y. C.; Rubin, N. C.; Concepcion, C. D.; Boulatov, R. Kinetics of thiol/disulfide exchange correlates weakly with the restoring force of the disulfide moiety. Angew. Chem. Int. Ed., 2009, 48, 7040-7043 (VIP article).

Huang, Z.; Yang, Q.; Khvostichenko, D.; Kucharski, T.; Chen, J.; Boulatov, R. Method to derive restoring forces of strained molecules from kinetic measurements. J. Am. Chem. Soc. 2009, 131, 1407-1409.

Huang, Z.; Yang, Q.; Kucharski, T.; Khvostichenko, D.; Wakeman, S. M.; Boulatov, R. Macrocyclic disulfides for studies of sensitized photolysis of the S-S bond.Chem. Eur. J., 2009, 15, 5212-5214

Boulatov, R. Metalloporphyrin catalysts for oxygen reduction (invited review). In Fuel Cell Catalysis. Koper, M.; Wieckowski, A., Eds.; Wiley: New York, 2009; pp. 637-693..

Yang, Q.; Khvostichenko, D.; Atkinson J.; Boulatov, R. Simple Dimer Containing Dissociatively-Stable Mono-Imidazole Ligated Ferrohemes. ChemCommun 2008, 963-965.

Khvostichenko, D.; Choi, A.; Boulatov, R. DFT Calculations of the Lowest-Energy Quintet and Triplet States of Model Hemes: Effects of Functional, Basis Set and Zero-Point Energy Corrections. J. Phys. Chem. A. 2008, 112, 3700-3711.

Khvostichenko, D.; Yang, Q.; Boulatov, R. Simple Heme Dimers with Strongly Cooperative Ligand Binding. Angew. Chem. Int. Ed. 2007, 46, 8368-8370.


  • NSF CAREER Award
  • Air Force Office Young Investigator Award
  • IUPAC Prize for Young Chemists
  • Stanford Graduate Fellowship
  • Presidential Fellowship


Chem. Eng. News 2009, Aug. 24, p. 10 ( insights.pdf); Inside Illinois 2009, July 16, p.8 (; ScienceDaily 2009, June 28 (

Editorial: May the force be with you. Nature Nanotechnology, 2009, 4, 271 (

J. M. Lenhardt, S. L. Craig Force probe in a bottle. Nature Nanotechnology, 2009, 4, 284-285 (

Mechanochemistry: Tag of War, Nature 2009, 458, 552

Researchers develop microscopy technique. MarketWatch, March 29, 2009

Giving molecules a stretch. Chemistry World, March 31, 2009

J. Silversides "Ironing out fuel cells." Chemical Sciences, 2008, 3. (text)

R. F. Service, "Power to the (Poor) People" Science, 2006, 314, 46. (text)


Photo of Roman Boulatov