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About Dennis D. Cao

Dennis Cao is an organic chemist with an interest in developing new materials that rely on fundamentally interesting molecular designs. His two current research focuses, which rely heavily on collaborations with eager Macalester undergraduates, seek to 1) leverage alkyne metathesis to produce porous 2D and 3D alkyne-expanded hydrocarbon compounds that are valuable for gas adsorption and molecular encapsulation applications and 2) synthesize novel electron deficient compounds that have a predicted tendency to stabilize radical electrons, thus making them attractive targets for molecular electronics.
EDUCATION: B.S. University of California, Berkeley; PhD: Northwestern University.
Cao has been teaching at Macalester since 2015.


Present Assistant Professor, Chemistry, Macalester College


Research Interests


  • Organic Chemistry I

Contact Information

Olin-Rice Science Center, 319
Macalester College
1600 Grand Avenue
St. Paul, MN 55105