Members

Contact Nadine Gruhn if you are a Penn faculty member, postdoc or student and are interested in becoming a member of the Vagelos Institute.

Director
A photo of Professor Karen I. Goldberg.

Karen I. Goldberg (she/her)

Vagelos Professor of Energy Research
Department of Chemistry
Group Website

Managing Director
A photo of Doctor Nadine E. Gruhn.

Nadine E. Gruhn (she/her)

Dr. Gruhn has been with the Vagelos Institute since 2017. From 2008 to 2017 she was the Managing Director of the first NSF Center for Chemical Innovation, the Center for Enabling New Technologies through Catalysis, led by the University of Washington. Prior to that, she was a Staff Scientist at the University of Arizona and Director of the Center for Gas-Phase Electron Spectroscopy. She earned a B.S. degree from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, her Ph.D. in Inorganic Chemistry from the University of Arizona, and did postdoctoral research at Indiana University.

Administrative Coordinator
A photo of Ms. Erika Martinez.

Erika Martinez

Ms. Martinez has been with the Vagelos Institute since 2023. She received her B.A. in Chemistry and History from the University of Miami (FL) in 2011, and a M.A. in Modern European Studies at Columbia University in 2015. She spent the next few years working at the College of Central Florida, including two years as Dual Enrollment Coordinator working directly with high school students taking college credit courses. In 2023, she completed her M.S. in Education at Penn’s Graduate School of Education. She is also the administrative coordinator for the undergraduate, dual-degree Vagelos Integrated Program in Energy Research (VIPER).

Executive Committee
A photo of Professor Zahra Fakraai.

Zahra Fakhraai (she/her)

Professor of Chemistry
Group Website 

 

Photo of Professor Daeyeon Lee

Daeyeon Lee

Russell Pearce and Elizabeth Crimian Heuer Professor of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering
Group Website

Energy Research Interests: The Soft Materials Research and Technology (SMART) lab is dedicated to innovating soft matter systems and processes aimed at addressing critical challenges in energy and sustainability. We specialize in optimizing polymer-porous solid interactions for plastic waste upcycling, creating bicontinuous materials to enhance energy device efficiency, and fabricating polymer nanocomposite coatings/membranes for effective water, heat, and light management.

A photo of Professor Thomas E. Mallouk.

Thomas E. Mallouk

Vagelos Professor of Energy Research
Department Chair of Chemistry
Group Website 

Energy Research Interests:  The Mallouk group works on the synthesis of nanoscale inorganic materials and their applications to problems in renewable energy conversion.  They are studying solar  water splitting using dye-sensitized semiconductors, electrocatalytic CO2 reduction, and electrocatalysis in alkaline fuel cells. They are also developing the electrochemistry of bipolar membranes, which enable energy storage in redox flow batteries and related applications in electrochemical energy conversion and separations.

A photo of Professor Eric Schelter.

Eric J. Schelter

Professor of Chemistry
Group Website

 

A photo of Professor Alexandra Vojvodic.

Aleksandra Vojvodic (she/her)

Rosenbluth Associate Professor of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering
Director of the Penn Institute for Computational Science
Group Website

 

 Other Faculty Members
A photo of Professor Jessica Anna.

Jessica M. Anna (she/her)

Adjunct Professor of Chemistry
Group Website

A photo of Professor Robert Carpick.

Robert Carpick (he/him)

John Henry Towne Professor
Mechanical Engineering and Applied Mechanics
Group Website

Energy Research Interests: We work at the intersection of mechanics, materials, chemistry, and physics to determine the atomic-scale origins of interfacial phenomena and apply the results to benefit sustainable technologies. We focus primarily on tribology – the study of friction, wear, adhesion, lubrication – and mechanochemistry, connecting these phenomena to the structure, composition, and mechanical properties of materials, especially at surfaces and interfaces.

Photo of Russell Composto

Russell Composto

Professor and Howell Family Faculty Fellow
Departments of Materials Science and Engineering, Bioengineering, & Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering
Group Website

Energy Research Interests: The Composto group investigates solid polymer electrolytes prepared from polymer nanocomposites which allow for tuning the structure-conductivity relationship.  In collaboration with the Detsi group, the Composto group also investigates SPE’s under confinement in nanoporous to microporous scaffolds.  Confinement introduces changes in thermal properties, structure, and conductivity.

Photo of Professor Eric Detsi

Eric Detsi

Associate Professor of Materials Science and Engineering
Group Website 

A photo of Professor Ivan Dmochowski.

Ivan J. Dmochowski (he/him)

Professor of Chemistry
Group Website 

Energy Research Interests: The Dmochowski laboratory applies analytical methods and principles of supramolecular chemistry and bioinorganic chemistry to achieve separations chemistry relevant to current environmental challenges. Rare earth element separations using biological and abiological chelating surfactants are technology platforms currently in development. Water purification via chelating host capsules is another important focus. A third project area involves the design of environmental sensors, e.g., for monitoring changes in pH or fluoride anion concentration.

A photo of PRofessor Marija Drndic.

Marija Drndic

Fay R. and Eugene L. Langberg Professor of Physics
Group Website

A photo of Professor Joseph Francisco.

Joseph S. Francisco

President’s Distinguished Professor of Chemistry and Earth & Environmental Science

A photo of Professor Raymond Gorte.

Raymond J. Gorte

Professor Emeritus
Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering

Energy Research Interests: Catalyst synthesis by Atomic Layer Deposition (ALD), preparation and characterization of transition metals on perovskite supports (Intelligent Catalysts), catalytic upcycling of polyolefins.

A photo of Professor Lei Gu.

Lei Gu (he/him)

Assistant Professor of Electrical and Systems Engineering
Group Website

A photo of Professor Deep Jariwala.

Deep Jariwala

Associate Professor of Electrical and Systems Engineering
Peter and Susanne Armstrong Discinguished Scholar
Group Website

Energy Research Interests: Deep Jariwala works on novel low-dimensional semiconductor materials with wide applications in areas relevant to energy and sustainability research. His group focuses on optically active low-dimensional chalcogenide semiconductors for investigating fundamental light-matter interactions and their utility in energy conversion and transduction phenomena. Ultimately, the envisioned application is in novel photovoltaics, photocatalysts and electrocatalytic applications as well as low-power computing and communication devices such as transistors, lasers, photodetectors and optical modulators.

A photo of Professor Cherie Kagan.

Cherie Kagan

Stephen J. Angello Professor of Electrical and Systems Engineering, Materials Science and Engineering, and Chemistry
Associate Dean for Research, Penn Engineering
Group Website

A photo of PRofessor Dohyung Kim.

Dohyung Kim (he/him)

Assistant Professor of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering
Group Website

Energy Research Interests: Our projects focus on developing unique materials, processes, and methods that improve the functionality and applicability of electrochemically active surfaces and interfaces. Specifically, we design heterostructured interfaces that could manipulate the electric double layer, investigate the fundamental processes behind the dissociation of molecules in electrochemical environments, and develop electrochemical methods to reduce and sequester carbon dioxide into nanostructured carbons.

A photo of Professor Marisa Kozlowski.

Marisa C. Kozlowski (she/her)

Professor of Chemistry
Group Website

Energy Research Interests: Research thrusts in the Kozlowski group related to energy and sustainability include the upcycling of polyolefins to value-added materials using a range of catalytic processes and the development of more efficient light activated processes for the synthesis of fine chemicals.

Photo of Professor Samantha McBride.

Samantha McBride (she/her)

William K. Gemmill Term Assistant Professor of Mechanical Engineering
Group Website

Energy Research Interests: Dr. McBride’s research integrates interfacial science, fluid physics, and soft matter physics across multiple length scales to develop engineered solutions for critical challenges in water, energy, and sustainability. Applications include material design for sustainability, recovery of resources and energy from waste streams, CO2 sequestration, environmental remediation, desalination, and other problems within the energy-water nexus.

Photo of Professor Monica McCallum

Monica E. McCallum (she/her)

Assistant Professor of Chemistry
Group Website

 

A photo of Professor Daniel Mindiola.

Daniel J. Mindiola

Brush Family Professor of Chemistry
Graduate Chair of Chemistry
Group Website

Energy Research Interests: The Mindiola group works on several fronts relevant to energy. We are currently developing simple-to-make catalysts using earth-abundant metals and exploring how such systems can polymerize terminal alkynes to cyclic polyalkynes. Another project involves the immobilization of well-defined metal pre-catalysts on oxide supports in order to prepare not only highly robust, but recyclable catalysts for the activation and functionalization of alkanes, including methane.

A photo of Professor Christopher Murray.

Christopher B. Murray

Richard Perry University Professor of Chemistry and Materials Science and Engineering
Group Website

 

A photo of Professor Abraham Nitzan.

Abraham Nitzan

Donner Professor of Physical Sciences and Professor of Chemistry
Group Website

Energy Research Interests:
Theoretical studies of activation, relaxation and energy transfer processes in molecular systems.
Transport phenomena in condensed phases and on surfaces.
Theory of chemical reaction rates in condensed phases.
Ionic diffusion and conductivity in solid ionic conductors, in polymers and in confined systems.
Electromagnetic and electronic interactions in small particles and clusters.
Theoretical investigations of charge transfer and charge separation phenomena in condensed phases, at interfaces and in nano-junctions.

Photo of Professor Chinedum Osuji

Chinedum Osuji (he/him)

Eduardo D. Glandt Presidential Professor of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering
Department Chair of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering
Group Website

Energy Research Interests: The Osuji lab advances research on the synthesis and processing of nanostructured self-assembled materials, including lyotropic surfactant mesophases, and block copolymers. These materials exhibit uniform and tunable nm-scale structure and chemistry, and are being developed for controlling neutral and charged-species transport in applications such as water nanofiltration, and separators for batteries and fuel cells.

A photo of Professor Amish Patel.

Amish J. Patel  (he/him)

Associate Professor of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering
Group Website

A photo of Professor Eliana Perez-Rodriguez.

Iliana Pérez-Rodríguez (she/her)

Assistant Professor of Earth & Environmental Science
Elliman Faculty Fellow
Group Website

A photo of Professor James Petersson.

E. James Petersson (he/him)

Professor of Chemistry; Biochemistry & Biophysics
Group Website

Energy Research Interests: We use chemical modification of peptides and proteins to provide new functionality for the environmentally friendly isolation and recycling of rare earth elements. Proteins with synthetic modifications are also being designed for novel photochemical catalysis and energy harvesting applications.

A photo of Professor Peter Psarras.

Peter Psarras

Research Assistant Professor of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering
Group Website

Photo of Professor Andrew Rappe

Andrew M. Rappe (he/him)

Blanchard Professor of Chemistry
Professor of Materials Science and Engineering
Group Website

A photo of Professor Eric Stach.

Eric Stach (he/him)

Robert D. Bent Professor of Engineering
Materials Science and Engineering
Director of the Laboratory for Research on the Structure of Matter
Group Website

Energy Research Interests: The Stach Group focuses on the use of materials characterization approaches to understand the relationship between materials structure and function, using primarily electron, ion and x-ray microscopy techniques.  We work collaboratively with many VIEST faculty in the areas of heterogeneous catalysis, solar fuels, electrocatalysis, battery materials and advanced electronics for energy efficiency.

Photo of Professor Kathleen Stebe

Kathleen J. Stebe (she/her)

Richer & Elizabeth Goodwin Professor of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering & Mechanical Engineering and Applied Mechanics
Group Website

A photo of Professor Joseph Subotnik.

Joseph Subotnik

Edmund J. and Louise W. Kahn Endowed Term Professor of Chemistry
Group Website

 

A photo of Professor Neil Tomson.

Neil C. Tomson (he/him)

Associate Professor of Chemistry
Group Website

A photo of Professor John Vohs.

John M. Vohs

Carl V. S. Patterson Professor of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering

A photo of Professor Patrick Walsh.

Patrick J. Walsh

Professor of Chemistry
Group Website

Energy Research Interests: Energy related research in the Walsh group involves developing catalytic processes, and where necessary enantioselective versions, to make organic molecules with greater efficiency and under conditions that are more eco-friendly.  Lately, much success has been achieved toward the synthesis of organic building blocks without use of precious metal catalysts.  Targets of interest in the group include alkynes, heterocycles and heteroaromatic systems (benzofurans, indoles, pyrroles, etc.). Our team has a strong track record of fruitful collaborations with groups that need organic precursors, organic glasses and catalyst development.

A photograph of Professor Nathaniel J. Wei.

Nathaniel J. Wei (he/him)

Assistant Professor of Mechanical Engineering and Applied Mechanics

Group Website

Energy Research Interests: Our group investigates the fluid mechanics of renewable-energy systems and their interactions with the atmosphere. We seek to identify and characterize flow mechanisms that can be leveraged to enhance the performance of wind turbines and wind farms. We are also developing methods for large-scale field measurements of atmospheric flows in renewable-energy and environmental contexts.

 Photo of Professor Karen Winey.

 Karen I. Winey (she/her)

Harold Pender Professor of Materials Science and Engineering & Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering
Group Website

Energy Research Interests: The Winey research group is developing polymer membranes for electrochemical devices, particularly fuel cells and batteries, by exploring the underlying physics of charge transport in polymers.  In addition, Winey leads a multidisciplinary team to convert polyolefin waste into a feedstock for specialty polyolefins.

A photo of Professor Liang Wu.

Liang Wu

Assistant Professor of Physics

Group Website

Energy Research Interests: We develop and utilize time-resolved and nonlinear optical techniques in both the terahertz and optical frequency regimes to study and control properties of materials broadly known as ”quantum materials’’, which are topological and correlated materials. ​We are particular interested in topological materials and quantum magnets. Our ultimate goals are to understand/discover new physics of these materials and to control them by light or strain or electrical gating to apply them to the next generation of quantum computers, solar cells and memory devices.

A photo of Professor Shu Yang.

Shu Yang

Joseph Bordogna Professor of Materials Science and Engineering & Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering
Department Chair of Materials Science and Engineering
Group Website

A photo of Professor Andrew Zahrt.

Andrew Zahrt (he/him)

Assistant Professor of Chemistry
Group Website

Energy Research Interests: The Zahrt Lab focuses on leveraging machine learning and automation to expedite the development of innovative chemical technologies. Our specific interests include creating closed-loop optimization systems, utilizing machine learning to enhance high-throughput characterization, and combining automation with machine learning to create new green technologies.

A photo of Professor Bo Zhen.

Bo Zhen

Associate Professor of Physics
Group Website

 

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