Dec. '19

Yahui is moving on...

After starting as a MS student in our group, moving into the PhD program, and then agreeing to stay on for another half year as a postdoc in our lab, Yahui is moving on: She accepted an offer in BASF's Catalysis Group in their Shanghai labs. 

Congrats, Yahui!!  We are very happy for you - but we will miss you!  Stay in touch!

Dec. '19

Two new PhD students join our group!

Two new graduate students joined our group! 

Riddhesh Patel will join our PI team, reinforcing our efforts to develop intensified process schemes for the specialty chemicals industry, and Chris Parker is joining our Catalysis Lab to help build our collaborative efforts with Dr. Beckman towards developing an exciting new technology for circular (re)use of polyolefins. 

Welcome, Riddhesh and Chris - we are excited to have you join our team!

Nov. '19

Zibo Zhen defends his MS thesis

Zibo Zhen successfully defended his MS thesis on the kinetics of the amination of succinic anhydrides.  Congrats, Zibo!  

Zibo will stay with our group for a few more months before joining P&G, Guangzhou, in their management trainee program.  Congratulations on this great job offer!!

May '19

Summer Research Students!

It's time for summer again, and with that it is time to welcome another group of undergraduate summer researchers to our two labs!  Eric Miller, Wesley Fox, Dominic Hipple, Tailor Daniels, and Albert Lopez will all be joining us over the next few weeks for the summer to conduct research on Process Intensification and/or Catalytic Reaction Engineering! 
Welcome all - I'm looking forward to an exciting summer experience!

April. '19

Congratulations, Dr. Yang!

Yahui Yang defended her PhD thesis with flying colors, and got hooded just a day later at the Pitt graduate commencement!   This is the culmination of years of hard work in the lab, combined with outstanding work mentoring undergraduate researchers and, to a truly exceptional degree, handling many different projects (often in parallel!) spanning almost every aspect of catalyst design, characterization, and evaluation across multiple classes of catalyst systems applied to various reaction and separation systems. 
This is one well deserved degree - CONGRATULATIONS, Dr. Yang!!

April. '19

Nasser wins the 2019 ChemE 'Outstanding TA award'!

Nasser Al Azri won this year's "Outstanding Teaching Assistant" award from our ChemE Department.  This is all the more remarkable as this was Nasser's first TA-ing, and he was assigned to one of our highly intensive 6-credit "pillar" courses, notably the particularly difficult and challenging "Thermodynamics" pillar!  Congratulations, Nasser!

March '19

Zequn defends his MS thesis

Zequn defended his MS thesis!   In his thesis, he designed a self-supporting nanoparticle monolith - a first of its kind!  Well done, Zequn - and all the best for the next step in your career! 

Feb. '19

And another sweep of the ChE Research Day

Our research group had another fantastic run at the 2019 ChE Research Day! At an exciting event, which featured Klavs Jensen from MIT as our keynote speaker, Yahui Yang received the first place graduate poster award for our collaborative work on MOFs for alkane/olefin separation, while her mentee, Eyram Akabua, received the first place in the undergraduate poster competition for her work on nanostructuring catalysts for oxidative dehydrogenation reactions.   

To further round things off, Chas Ambrass from our PI Lab won second place in the latter category for his work on studying the kinetics of an amination reaction and applying this knowledge towardsthe "batch-to-continuous" transition of an industrial dispersants manufacturing process! 

Congratulations everyone - awesome job!! I could not be any more proud of you all! 

Jan. '19

Taylor Shaffer joins our group

Taylor Shaffer is joining our group for her MS studies.  She will be focussing on exploring the use of a cavitation reactor for processing of highly viscous reactive mixtures.  Welcome, Taylor!

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  • Nov '18
    ​Exciting news:  Eyram Akabua won a first place award in the Catalytic Reaction Engineering section of the undergraduate poster competition at the national AIChE meeting in Pittsburgh this past week!  Her poster, entitled "Greening the Chemical Industry: Towards Cleaner Ethylene Production", is based on her summer research in our lab (which she is continuing this fall).  Congratulations, Eyram - and kudos also to your wonderful graduate mentor, Yahui Yang! 

  • Oct ‘18
    ​Sanjana Karpe is joining our research lab as PhD student. Sanjana comes with an MS in ChemE from CUNY, and will join Yifan on the development of catalysis for methane upgrading via microwave catalysis.  Welcome, Sanjana!

  • May ‘18
    It's time for summer - which means time for undergraduate research!  We are again getting two wonderful undergraduate researchers through our MCSI summer program - welcome Eyram Akabua and Trevor Devine!  Additionally, we will have two more undergraduate researchers join our lab through the first RAPID Summer Intern Program: Chas Ambrass and Brandon Hlavaty will reinforce our PI team!  Welcome all - I'm looking forward to an exciting summer experience!

  • Feb’18
    Our research lab excelled (again!) at our annual Departmental Research Day, both on the graduate and the undergraduate level:  Nasser Al Azri and our PI team won first place among the graduate student posters, and Isaac Mastalski won first place among the undergraduate posters!  Congrats, Nasser and Isaac!  Well done! 



  • Dec '17
    ​We are excited to have two new PhD students join our lab this month:  Nasser Al Azri will join our growing team in the Process Intensification Lab, and Yifan Deng will strengthen our nanocatalyst research (and nucleate a new collaboration on electrocatalysis with the McKone lab!).  Welcome, Nasser and Yifan!

  • Nov '17
    Our lab received two new grants from RAPID, DOE's 10th latest NNMI institute, focused on Modular Chemical Process Intensification for Clean Energy Manufacturing. In line with RAPID's mission to "to enable the development of breakthrough technologies to boost energy productivity and energy efficiency through manufacturing processes", both projects aim to develop next-generation technologies for the natural gas and the specialty chemicals industry, respectively.
    In the first project, we will work closely with our industrial partner, Lubrizol, towards transitioning the production of specialty chemicals from the traditional batch processes to continuous processing. This transition promises to drastically reduce cost, energy intensity, waste production, and physical foot-print of these processes. The second project, jointly with West Virginia University, NETL, and Shell, aims to develop a new process for microwave-assisted, low-temperature upgrading of natural gas to aromatics.

  • Oct '17
    We are happy to have two new MS students join our lab:  Zibo Zhen will join our team in the Process Intensification Lab, and Zequn Li will reinforce our nanocatalyst research.  Welcome, Zibo and Zequn!

  • May '17​
    We are again getting two wonderful MCSI summer research undergraduate students!  Kendra LaVallee and Eric McElhinny were accepted into the competitive summer research program of our Mascaro Center for Sustainable Innovation and will work in our lab during this summer.  Welcome, Kendra and Eric!!

  • April '17​
    Three of our long-time undergraduate researchers, Julie Hartz, Pat Asinger, and Charlie Hansen, are graduating and moving on to graduate school at the University of Virginia, MIT, and CalTech, respectively.  All the best wishes to Julie, Pat, and Charlie - we could not be more proud of you!! 


  • Dec. '16
    Sharlee Mahoney and Amey More both successfully defended their PhD theses.  Sharlee will move to Southern CA for her job with CardnoChemrisk, and Amey will stay in the area for a postdoc at DOE's NETL.  Sharlee and Amey - stay in touch!  We will miss you!!

  • July '16
    Sharlee's PLOS One paper won our department's best paper award!  Congrats, Sharlee!! 

  • May '16
    Isaac Mastalski, Brett Amy, and Kenny To are joining our group as summer research students (joining Julie Hartz and Pat Asinger who are continuing their research) Welcome!!

  • March '16
    Amazing! Two of our undergraduate researchers, Charlie Hansenand Pat Asinger, are among the three Goldwater award winners from Pitt this year!!! Congratualtions, Charlie and Pat - we could not be more proud of you!! 

  • January '16
    Our group is welcoming a large group of new lab members! Jason Ferree, Yu-Chieh Cheng, Wanling Zhu, Roshni Pillai, and Prahlad Krishna all joined our group officially as graduate students.   Welcome!!


  • October '15
    Yung-Chieh Lai defended his PhD thesis and will start as postdoc at NETL.  Congrats, Yungchieh!  We'll miss you (but are glad you will stay in Pittsburgh!)

  • September '15
    Piyathip Thanapistikul joined our lab for his MS thesis work.  Welcome, Piyathip! 

  • July '15:
    Our awesome undergrads did it again! Sarah Casne and Julie Hartz won first place in the school-wide Mascaro Summer Research Symposium! Congratulations, Sarah and Julie!

  • July '15:
    Chris Ewing successfully defended his PhD thesis, and accepted a job offer from PNC, starting next month!  Congrats, Chris, and best of luck at your job - we will miss you!

  • April '15
    Jonathan Hughes won 1st place at the AIChE Midatlantic undergraduate poster competition.  Well done, Jonathan! 

  • April '15
    Yahui Yang successfully defended her MS thesis! Congratulations, Yahui!!

  • April '15
    Our group had again an outstanding showing at our department's annual research day!   Sharlee Mahoney won first place graduate poster award (again!), and four of the top five undergraduate research posters came from our group, including first place by Natalie Isenberg. Both Natalie and third place winner Jonathan Hughes won OXE awards to present their posters at the AIChE regional meeting in Maryland! Well done, everyone!! 

  • January '15
    Gizem Ozbuyukkaya and John Hubczak officially joined our research group as graduate students. Welcome, Gizem and John!


  • November '14
    Kimaya Padgaonkar won third place for her poster presentation at the national AIChE Annual Meeting in Atlanta! Fantastic, Kimaya!

  • July '14
    Natalie Isenberg and Jonathan Hughes won first place in the MCSI Summer Research competition! Congratulations, Natalie and Jonathan!

  • May '14
    Natalie Isenberg, Kimaya Padgaonkar, Jonathan Hughes, Bronson Lockwood, and Jeff Schallick will all join our group for the summer on Mascaro research internships, and Yutao Gong will join us with a Swanson School summer reseatch internship! Congratulations all, and we look forward to having you as part of our team!

  • April '14
    Our group did a clean sweep at our department's research day!  Chris took first place among oral presentations, Sharlee won first place among graduate poster presentations, and Brittany won second place among undergraduate poster presentations! Congratulations, all!!

  • April '14
    Brittany Givens, who worked in our lab for the past year as an undergraduate researcher, has received a Dean's Fellowship and a Sloan Fellowship to conduct her graduate studies at the University of Iowa.  Great news, Brittany, and stay in touch! 

  • March '14
    Saurabh successfully defended his PhD thesis and accepted a job offer from Intel. Congrats, Saurabh - we will miss you!

  • February '14
    David Palm who was part of our group as an undergraduate researcher for three semesters ('12/13) received a very prestigious Churchill scholarship to study at the University of Cambridge. David will work in the group of Erwin Reisner  for one year to work on an MSc, and then return to the US for graduate studies in ChemE.  Congratulations, David - we are immensely proud of you!!


  • November '13
    Saurabh received our department's best paper award. Congrats, Saurabh!

  • October '13
    Saurabh received our department's Coull award as best graduate student, continuing the proud tradition of our research group (this is the 4th Coull award in the pat five years for our group! Way to go, guys!!!)

(Starting with the fall of 2013, we will keep a 'news archive' for our group here, so that past news items don't get forgotten that easily!)