Andrew Peterson is an Assistant Professor of chemical engineering at Brown University and is the concentration advisor to undergraduates in Chemical and Biochemical Engineering. He received his B.Ch.E. in chemical engineering from the University of Minnesota, and spent four years in industry before starting his graduate studies at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. His Ph.D. was under the supervision of Professor Jefferson Tester and focused on reaction engineering in supercritical water systems. While at MIT, he was a frequent guest researcher at the Paul Scherrer Institut (Switzerland) and worked at BP Chemical and Cabot Corporation while earning a masters degree in chemical engineering practice during his graduate studies at MIT. He performed postdoctoral research with Jens Nørskov at the Technical University of Denmark and at Stanford University, where Andy led the group's efforts on understanding carbon dioxide electrocatalytic reduction from an electronic structure standpoint. Since coming to Brown, Andy has been the recipient of the Young Investigator Award from the Office of Naval Research.
Postdoctoral Research Associate
Tuhina Adit Maark is a Postdoctoral Research Associate at Brown University's School of Engineering since September 2012. Following her Masters in Chemistry from Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) – Bombay, India, she carried out her Ph.D. at National Chemical Laboratory, India under the guidance of Director, Prof. Sourav Pal. Her doctoral work was on computational study of hydrogen storage materials for fuel cells, with specific focus on complex metal hydrides, magnesium hydride, and metal-organic frameworks. She also contributed to a joint Indo-EU project "New materials for hydrogen powered applications". During her Ph.D. she was awarded Senior Research Fellowship by the Council of Scientific and Industrial Research, India. Tuhina is a Swedish Institute Fellow and performed her postdoctoral research at Uppsala University with Prof. Rajeev Ahuja where she continued her work on hydrogen storage and started a joint collaboration with Center for Nanotechonology, University of Bahrain, UAE on application of TiNi alloy as an electrode in Li ion batteries. Currently at Brown University Tuhina is a part of an ARO-MURI funded project, studying the effects of externally applied stress on the catalytic properties of transition metals for electrocatalytic conversion of CO2 to CO.
Postdoctoral Research Associate
Ronald Michalsky joined the Catalyst Design Lab at Brown University as a Postdoctoral Research Associate in June 2012. He received his M.S. in biotechnology from the University of Applied Sciences Mittelhessen. His thesis and short-term employment as a Research Scientist revolved around the development of membrane technology for the production of biopharmaceutical vectors. In 2012 he received his Ph.D. in Chemical Engineering from Kansas State University focusing on low-pressure solar-thermal reduction of nitrogen and water to ammonia. Currently at Brown University, his research interests are use of electronic structure calculations for the rational design of novel catalytic materials and electrochemical reduction of carbon dioxide into hydrocarbons. Off campus, Ronny likes to spend his time with traveling, hiking and playing piano.
Benjamin Johnson entered Brown in 2011 as a Ph.D. graduate student in chemical engineering. He received his B.S. in Chemical Engineering from Worcester Polytechnic Institute. After completing his undergraduate degree he worked for several years in environmental engineering, conducting on-site monitoring and remediation activities at chemically contaminated sites across the United States. He left industry to return to research and began graduate studies at Brown, joining Andrew Peterson's Catalyst Design Lab in 2012. In 2013 he was elected to Associate Membership in the Brown University Chapter of Sigma Xi. Benjamin's research interests include clean/renewable energy resources, sustainable development, and computer programming and technology applications in chemical engineering.
Ming Xu matriculated at Brown in the fall of 2011 as a Ph.D. graduate student at the School of Engineering, right after finishing up his bachelor's degree in Polymeric Materials and Engineering from Sun Yat-sen University in mainland China, where he also worked part-time as a teaching assistant for the Yale-China Teaching Fellows program during his senior year. Since the fall of 2012, Ming has assumed the role as both a teaching assistant for a graduate-level math class, and a research assistant in the Catalyst Design Lab headed by professor Andrew Peterson here at Brown. In this lab, his work is under the realm of computational chemistry, and he's been investigating the effects electric dipole fields have on the adsorbate-metal surface system, especially during the adsorption and dissociation processes in hopes of identifying a more mathematically rigorous form of BEP (the Brønsted–Evans–Polanyi) relation. Outside of lab work, he is an avid science writer with his work featured in The Providence Journal, The College Hill Independent etc. He is also actively involved in the Chinese international community on campus by serving on the board of Brown’s Chinese Students & Scholars Association from 2012-2013.
Yinjia Zhang is a Ph.D graduate student in the chemistry department in Brown since 2011 and is working as a research assistant in Catalyst Design Lab since 2012. During her undergraduate in Zhejiang University (ZJU), she was a student of Chu Kochen Honors College and received her B.S. in chemistry from ZJU – Hangzhou, China in 2011. Her research interests include heterogeneous catalyst for carbon dioxide reduction and computational chemistry. She is currently studying the product selectivity for carbon dioxide reduction in electrochemistry mainly via DFT calculations and related experimental works.
Undergraduate DiMase Family Fellow
Cory Hargus is an undergraduate in his senior year at Brown University. He has spent over a year as a member of the Catalyst Design Lab, studying the potential use of reduced metal oxides as coupled energy carriers and catalysts for the deoxygenation of low-grade bioliquids to upgraded fuel products. Cory’s research has been sponsored by a grant from the Institute for Molecular and Nanoscale Innovation (IMNI) and a fellowship from the DiMase Family. Off campus, Cory is an assistant and substitute teacher in math and robotics courses at the Wheeler School in Providence and performs in several musical groups around the city.