Where did you study?
I went back to school after working and restarted my education at American River Community College in Sacramento, CA. Then I transferred to UC Berkeley and majored in Materials Science and Mineral Engineering and Mechanical Engineering with a minor in Theoretical and Applied Mechanics. Enjoying school, I decided to stay at UC Berkeley and obtained my Ph.D. in Materials Science and Engineering focusing on Ab Initio studies of Materials Approaching their Ideal Strength. After finishing my Ph.D. I took a position in the Materials Science and Engineering department at University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign.
Describe one of your current research topics, why it is important, what you have already achieved, and what you hope to achieve in the near future.
My group focuses on materials discovery, design and development (MD3) for a sustainable future. This research focuses on the application of high-throughput first-principles computational approaches which make use of high-performance computing. This work spans desalination and water purification, materials for novel solar energy applications, and catalysis materials for CO2 reduction to value added products and the production of biofuels. The goal with CO2 reduction is to close the fuel cycle but transforming the waste CO2 into liquid fuels. We apply computational techniques to understand the interactions at the surfaces of catalysis, this information allows us to intelligently design the catalysis for selectivity and efficiency.
When you are not teaching, what do you enjoy doing in your free time?
With COVID-19 it is a good thing I enjoy reading, most anything, but lately it has been History, Fantasy and Science Fiction. Also enjoy cooking so have been ordering a lot of good ingredients online having fun cooking new dishes. In more normal times, I enjoy being active and outdoors, running and hiking the trails in the area or white-water rafting up outside of Sacramento. Love to travel and have lived overseas, really looking forward to being able to travel again.