The research of Professor Hess spans the areas of inorganic and bioinorganic chemistry. Central themes include the coordination chemistry of synthetic and biological systems, catalysis, and spectroscopic studies for structure elucidation. A key research area centers on the development of bio-inspired inorganic catalysts for multi-electron reactions, including H2 production and O2 activation. These small molecule transformations are central to life and at the heart of renewable energy and sustainable chemistry processes.
Professor Hess received her undergraduate degree (BS Chemistry) from the University of Chicago; there, she had the opportunity to work in the laboratory of Professor Gregory Hillhouse, who inspired her interest in inorganic chemistry. She subsequently pursued her PhD studies in the field of bioinorganic chemistry, supervised by Professor Harry Gray, at the California Institute of Technology. Following postdoctoral positions at the University of California, Berkeley, and the Max Planck Institute for Bioinorganic Chemistry, she joined the Chemistry Department at Durham University (2010). In 2014 she was appointed assistant professor of bioinorganic chemistry at TUM.