Smaranda Marinescu grew up in Romania and moved to the US for college. She graduated from the California Institute of Technology (Caltech) in 2006. During her undergraduate studies, she did research in organometallic chemistry with Prof. John E. Bercaw on the synthesis and reactivity of group 3 dialkyl complexes supported by tetradentate, monoanionic ligands. After graduation, Smaranda continued one more year at Caltech, doing research in the group of Prof. Brian M. Stoltz, where she developed a homogeneous Pd-catalyzed enantioselective decarboxylative protonation. In 2007, she started her Ph.D. at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) under the tutelage of Prof. Richard R. Schrock, exploring molybdenum and tungsten alkylidene species for enantio-, Z-, and E-selective olefins metathesis reactions. After graduation in 2011, she undertook a postdoctoral position in the laboratories of Prof. Harry B. Gray at Caltech, as an NSF CCI postdoctoral fellow. Her research focused on mechanistic studies of the cobalt catalyzed hydrogen evolution, which shed new light on the previously speculative mechanisms of proton reduction. In August 2013, she started her independent career as an assistant professor in chemistry at the University of Southern California. Recently, Smaranda has received the Zumberge Individual award from USC and the NSF CAREER award.

Honors and Awards