James K. McCusker

James K. McCusker
  • MSU Foundation Professor
  • Department of Chemistry


James K. McCusker, professor of chemistry, is an internationally renowned physical-inorganic chemist. His research focuses on ultrafast excited-state dynamics of transition metal compounds, particularly how they relate to the development of solar energy conversion strategies based on earth-abundant materials. His research group also studies the photophysical properties of molecules and their innate spin properties in order to forge a link between magnetism and electron and energy transfer processes.

McCusker earned his BS and MS in chemistry from Bucknell University and his PhD in chemistry from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. He then served as a National Institutes of Health Postdoctoral Fellow at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill from 1992-94. He was a Hellman Faculty Fellow (1997-98) and an Alfred P. Sloan Fellow (1998-2000) as an assistant professor at the University of California, Berkeley, before joining the MSU faculty in 2001.

Since coming to MSU, McCusker has earned several prestigious awards, including being named a Fellow of the Royal Society of Chemistry in 2016 and awarded MSU’s William J. Beal Outstanding Faculty Award in 2018. He is currently associate editor of the journal Chemical Science and president of the Inter-American Photochemical Society. Research from McCusker’s group has led to the publication of 80 peer-reviewed papers and 300 invited seminars at conferences and universities in more than 20 countries.