Postdoctoral Fellowship

The application period for the 2020 Vagelos Institute Postdoctoral Fellowship is now closed. Application details for the 2021 fellowship will be available in summer 2020. 

Supported through the generosity of Roy and Diana Vagelos, the Vagelos Institute Postdoctoral Fellowship is awarded to outstanding future leaders in energy science. This highly competitive fellowship focuses on energy science with an emphasis on working collaboratively across labs. Fellows are co-advised by at least two faculty members of the Institute.

Eligibility and Qualifications

  • Applicants must have completed all requirements for their doctorate by the fellowship start date, and no longer than three years before the application close date. Fellows will be expected to begin their appointment by no later than September 1 of the fellowship year.
  • This program is intended to recruit outstanding new talent in energy science and technology to Penn, and is therefore limited to applicants who are not current Penn postdocs.
  • Fellows will be eligible for support for up to two consecutive years. The initial appointment will be for one year, with second-year appointment contingent upon satisfactory performance and agreement by both the Fellow and their advisors.
  • Postdoctoral Fellows are expected to play a leadership role in the development of collaborative research throughout this new Institute. Thus, the proven ability to thrive in a leadership role in a collaborative environment and highly developed communication skills will be critical skills for success.
  • Fellows are expected to be committed to their personal professional development. They will be required to participate in training to improve skills in science communication and leadership.

2019 Postdoctoral Fellows

2019 Vagelos Institute Postdoctoral Fellows: Ahmad Shamsabadi, Nathanael Hirscher, and Alex Confer

Alex Confer received a B.S. in Chemistry & Biochemistry and a B.A. in Mathematics Maxima cum laude from LaSalle University, where he performed research with Michael Prushan. He received his Ph.D. in Chemistry from The Johns Hopkins University in 2019, where he worked with David P. Goldberg. His postdoctoral work is with Neil Tomson and Eric Schelter, and is focused on using metal clusters supported by flexible, redox-active ligands for low-energy activation of N2 and CO2.

Nathanael Hirscher received his B.Sc in Chemistry with High Distinction from the University of Virginia, where he worked with Brent Gunnoe. He received his Ph.D. in Chemistry in 2019 from the California Institute of Technology under the mentorship of Theodor Agapie. His postdoctoral research is focused on tandem catalytic methods for oxidation of methane to methanol, working with Karen Goldberg and Eric Schelter.

Ahmad Shamsabadi received his B.S. in Chemical Engineering from the Iran University of Science and Technology with advisor Nezamoddin Ashrafizadeh, and a M.S. in Gas Processing and Transmission Engineering from the Petroleum University of Technology in Ahwaz Iran, where he worked with Masoud Bahrami and Ali Kargari. In 2019 he received his Ph.D. in Chemical Engineering from Drexel University, where he worked with Masoud Soroush. His postdoctoral work is with Zahra Fakhraai and Raymond Gorte, and is focused on the microporosity of polymers and their relationship to the performance and stability of catalysts for fuel cell applications.


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