Rick Broene received his BS in Chemistry from Hope College (Holland MI) in 1985 at which time he was honored with a Sigma Xi summer research award. While at Hope he investigated the decomposition mechanism of trioxodinitrate(II) in the presence of metalloproteins.
He went on to graduate school at UCLA, where he worked on the synthesis and study of molecules with high carbon to hydrogen ratios (graphite-like molecules) specifically, the synthesis of circumanthracene. While there he also helped to design and synthesized the first asymmetric podand to be used for molecular recognition. He received his Ph.D. in 1991.
In a complete change of direction after grad school, he was a postdoctoral fellow at MIT, where he studied organometallic chemistry. While there, he reported the first method for highly enantioselective reduction of unfunctionalized trisubstituted olefins and achieved diastereoselective syntheses of indoles, indolines, and isoquinolines using zirconocene intermediates.
In 1998, Professor Broene was a Visiting Staff Member at Los Alamos National Lab in New Mexico. While at LANL, he continued to develop his interest in both homogeneous asymmetric catalysis while investigating the immobilization of catalysts on solid supports. This interest was expanded during the 2004-05 academic year when he was a visiting scholar at UNC Chapel Hill working the broadly defined area of late transition metal catalyzed polymerization reactions. In 2011, he was a visiting scholar at UT, Austin, again focusing on late transition metal catalysis. Research grants from the NSF, PRF, Research Corporation, CUR, Pfizer and DOE have enabled 90 students to work on projects in his labs over the past 30 years.