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Although it was once thought that inorganic compounds couldn't occur in living organisms, metal compounds are now known to be the driving force behind many vital processes in nature--from the mechanism of oxygen production in photosynthesis to keeping many proteins and enzymes working. Claudio Verani, Ph.D., associate professor of chemistry in Wayne State University's College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, is working to understand how the ingenuity of metals in nature can inspire solutions to human dilemmas--from information storage to renewable energy to cancer treatment. For these endeavors, he is using some of the most vibrant metal compounds as a starting point for developing new molecular materials in the lab.