Ulrich Fekl received his PhD in 2000 from the University of Erlangen-Nürnberg (Germany). When he was an undergraduate student he spent several months on an EEC ERASMUS fellowship at Imperial College (London, UK) and later, as a graduate student on a DAAD graduate exchange fellowship, at the University of Washington (USA). His PhD, for research on mechanisms of inorganic and organometallic reactions in Professor Rudi van Eldik's group, was awarded “summa cum laude”. Studies included conventional and high-pressure conditions.
In 2000 he moved to the University of Washington in Seattle (USA) to work with Professor Karen Goldberg on novel platinum(II) and platinum(IV) systems for alkane C-H bond activation. This work has been highly influential on the field and has been referenced over 450 times already. He held a DAAD postdoctoral fellowship.
In 2003 he took up a faculty position at the University of Toronto. His current research interests include the synthesis of metallacycles and of transition metal Lewis-acids to catalyze organic reactions. Another field of research are reactions at coordinated ligands. Novel and useful reactions of dithiolene complexes have been discovered. Particularly important are discoveries regarding reactions of olefins, industrially important compounds, with sulfur centers. Spectroscopic and structural studies complement the synthetic and mechanistic work. This research is currently changing the way reactions of dithiolenes are being understood and applied, with particularly promising applications in ethylene-based technologies and in desulfurization. Ulrich Fekl received tenure at the University of Toronto in 2008.