Principal Investigator

Professor Andrew Peterson

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.

Undergraduate Researcher

Kaley Brauer

Kaley Brauer is a senior undergraduate student in the Department of Physics who joined the Catalyst Design Lab in the fall of 2016. She is concentrating in Astrophysics and her previous work involved modeling near-Earth asteroids, emulating the CMS trigger, and analyzing spectroscopy of X-ray binary systems with a method known as Doppler tomography. Since spring of 2014, she has acted as the Head of Design for Brown’s chapter of The Triple Helix, a scientific magazine. Kaley is currently interested in scientific visualization and modeling physical systems with a new focus on energy and sustainability.

Postdoctoral Researcher

Muammar El Khatib

Muammar El Khatib joined the School of Engineering at Brown University as a Postdoctoral Research Associate in October 2016. In 2010, he received his B.S. in Chemistry from Universidad del Zulia (Venezuela). In the same year, he was awarded an Erasmus Mundus Scholarship to follow his M.S. in Theoretical Chemistry and Computational Modelling in the following European universities: Université Paul Sabatier (France), Universitat de València (Spain), and Università degli Studi di Perugia (Italy). In 2012, he started his Ph.D. in a joint project between the "Agence Nationale de la Recherche Française" (ANR) and the "Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft" (DFG). His Ph.D. work consisted in the characterization of metallic and insulating properties of low-dimensional systems by employing wave function theory (WFT). The Kohn's localization was implemented and applied as an indicator of charge and spin delocalization through the introduction of the total position-spread tensor (defined as the second moment cumulant of the total electronic position operator). At Brown, his research will be focused on accelerating the search of accurate electrochemical barriers using machine learning.

Postdoctoral Researcher

Javad Hashemi

Javad Hashemi is a postdoctoral research associate in catalyst design lab. In his research he uses machine learning and computational physics/chemistry to better understand the working mechanisms of lithium ion batteries. Javad received his PhD in physics from Aalto University in Finland at 2013 and was a postdoctoral fellow In University of Helsinki up to 2016. He worked on a range of topics from development of time dependent density matrix functional theory (TDRDMFT) to electronic transport, solar cell materials, and computational spectroscopy throughout his career in science.

Graduate Student

Benjamin Johnson

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.

Postdoctoral Researcher

Georg Kastlunger

Georg Kastlunger joined the School of Engineering at Brown University as a Postdoctoral Research Associate in the fall of 2016. He graduated in Chemistry at the University of Vienna in 2011, where in his master thesis he applied a cluster expansion approach for simulating the ternary FeNiAl alloy phase diagram on the basis of density functional theory (DFT). His PhD work, which he conducted at both the University of Vienna and the Vienna University of Technology (TU Wien), he focused on the simulation of electron transport in single molecule junction systems. A special emphasis was thereby put on the calculation of non-coherent electron transport applying Marcus theory. His research on this topic was funded by the Austrian Science Fund (FWF) and a grant co-sponsored by the Austrian Academy of Sciences (OEAW), the Austrian Chemical Society (GOECH) and the Springer Media group. After receiving his PhD in the summer of 2016, he joined the Catalyst design lab, where he focuses on the theoretical simulation of water electrocatalysis within DFT.

Visiting Graduate Student

Ju Ye Kim

Ju Ye Kim joined the Catalyst Design Lab at Brown University as a visiting student in August 2016. In 2014, She received her B.S. degree in Chemical Engineering from the Sungkyunkwan University in South Korea. Now she is in the course of an integrated M.S. and Ph.D. program in Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering in KAIST (Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology). She has received a scholarship since she was an undergraduate student which is supported by the Korean Government. Her research interests include the fabrication of electrocatalysts which convert carbon dioxide into valuable fuels such as methane and ethylene by tuning the surface of copper. Currently at Brown University, she is studying the modification of electrocatalysts for improved performance in H2 evolution or CO2 reduction.

Graduate Student

Alireza Khorshidi

Alireza Khorshidi is a PhD graduate student in the Department of Mechanical Engineering at Brown University, and joined the Catalyst Design Lab in the spring of 2014. He received his B.S. (2008) and M.S. (2011) degrees in Civil Engineering and Structural Engineering, respectively, from Sharif University of Technology, Iran. He has research experience in micromechanics and elasticity of materials. His previous research achievements were published in Journal of Elasticity and Journal of the Mechanics and Physics of Solids. He is currently interested in studying the effect of mechanical strain on catalysis.

Graduate Student

Per Lindgren

Per Lindgren is a Ph.D. graduate student in chemical engineering. He received his B.S. in chemical engineering from the University of New Hampshire in 2015, and joined the Catalyst Design Lab in the fall of 2015. Per studies electrocatalytic systems using electronic structure calculations and related experiments. His research interests include water electrolysis and electrochemical reduction of carbon dioxide. Outside the lab, Per enjoys sports, especially cross-country skiing.

Undergraduate Researcher

Allison Managlia

Allison Managlia is an undergraduate with a concentration in Chemical and Biochemical Engineering. She has been a member of the Catalyst Design Lab since her sophomore year, and she is pursuing an honors research project currently. Her research applies to lithium ion batteries, and focuses on the solid-electrolyte interphase (SEI) formation. In particular, she is using electronic structure calculations to search for formation mechanisms of organic SEI components in synthetic systems.

Graduate Student

Shubham Sharma

Shubham Sharma is a PhD graduate student in the Chemical, Biochemical & Environmental Engineering program at Brown University, and joined the Catalyst Design Lab in the fall of 2016. He received his B. Tech (Bachelor of Technology) in Chemical Engineering from Heritage Institute of Technology, Kolkata, India. His research interests include Fuels & Energy, batteries, catalysts, water treatment technologies and statistical applications in the field of Chemical Engineering. His B. Tech project was titled “Removal of heavy metal ions from wastewater using Ferritization technique”. He was awarded the best paper in the oral session for the paper titled “Comparative study of dye wastewater using electrochemical oxidation and ceramic membrane based separation processes” by Indian Institute of Chemical Engineers in SCHEMCON (2015), India. Apart from academics, he enjoys swimming, playing guitar and community service.

Visiting Graduate Student

Xiao Xiao

Xiao Xiao joined the Catalyst Design Lab at Brown University as a visiting Ph. D student since Sept. 2015. He received his B.S. from Northwest A&F University, China in 2010, and started his Ph. D study in Beijing Forestry University in 2011 in China. He received a scholarship from the Chinese government for his stay at Brown. His research interests include biomass conversion and utilization, renewable energy and heterogeneous catalysis. He is currently performing research on bio-oil catalytic upgrading. Off campus, Xiao likes sports and photography, especially soccer and basketball.

Graduate Student

Yin-Jia Zhang

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.


Group alum

Postdoctoral Research Associate

Tuhina Adit Maark

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

Martha Gialampouki

Martha Gialampouki is a Postdoctoral Research Associate in the School of Engineering at Brown University since February 2014. In January of 2014, she received her PhD in Materials Science and Engineering from the University of Ioannina in Greece. Her PhD thesis focused on structural and electronic properties of metallic or oxide nanostructures on carbon substrates (CNTs and graphene) by ab-initio calculations. During her PhD, she was awarded for her research at the Solid State Physics and Materials Science Conference. Martha also worked as Teaching Assistant in the Computer Laboratory at University of Ioannina. Currently at Brown University, she is studying the solid-electrolyte interphase phenomena in Li-ion batteries with electronic structure methods.

Undergraduate DiMase Family Fellow

Cory Hargus

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.

Postdoctoral Research Associate

Seok Ki Kim

Seok Ki Kim joined the Catalyst Design Lab at Brown University as a Postdoctoral Research Associate since Dec 2013. In the fall of 2011, he received his Ph.D. in chemical and biological engineering from Seoul National University. His doctoral research was focused on designing a Pd catalyst for the hydrogenation of C2 hydrocarbons. After finishing up his Ph.D. degree, he was involved in several government research projects, specifically, development of supercritical­ catalysis converging technology for the biofuel production and development of design technology of nano­materials having optimized catalytic reactivity through massive computation, working as a post­doctoral research fellow in Korea Institute of Science and Technology (KIST). Currently at Brown University, his research interest is designing rational catalysts for the electrochemical reduction of carbon dioxide into hydrocarbons based on both the experimental and theoretical perspective.

Postdoctoral Research Associate

Ronald Michalsky

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.

Masters Student

Ming Xu

Ming Xu matriculated at Brown in the fall of 2011 as a 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. In the Peterson group, his work was under the realm of computational chemistry investigating the effects of electric dipole fields 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.

Postdoctoral Research Associate

Kai Yan

Kai joined in School of Engineering at Brown University as a Postdoctoral Research Associate in December 2013. After he finished his Master degree from Taiyuan University of Technology in 2008 in China, he started his PhD study in Max-Planck-Institute for Coal Research in 2008 in Germany with the support of Max-Planck-Society Scholarship. His PhD work focused on the synthesis of nano-structured catalysts using chemical fluid deposition method for catalytic transformation of cellulose-derived intermediates into value-added chemicals. He obtained his PhD from RWTH Aachen University in 2011. After that, he received the Ontario Postdoctoral Fellowship and worked at Lakehead University (Canada) as a postdoctoral fellow in 2012. His research interests continue on the novel synthesis of nanomaterials for catalytic conversion of biomass-derived monomers and photocatalysis.