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Yuriy Román

Robert T. Haslam (1911) Professor of Chemical Engineering 
Principal Investigator


yroman@mit.edu | ChemE Faculty Page
Office: 66-558b
Phone: 617-253-7090

Professor Yuriy Román is from Mexico City, Mexico. He earned his B.S.E. in Chemical Engineering from the University of Pennsylvania in 2002. After working in industry for a year, Prof. Román moved to Madison, WI to pursue graduate studies.  He received his Ph.D. in Chemical and Biological Engineering from the University of Wisconsin-Madison in 2008, working under the supervision of Professor James A. Dumesic.  His thesis work involved the catalytic conversion of carbohydrates obtained from lignocellulosic biomass into chemical intermediates used for the production of biofuels and biomaterials. He then moved to the California Institute of Technology to do postdoctoral research in the synthesis and characterization of microporous and mesoporous materials in the group of Professor Mark E. Davis. There, he investigated the synthesis and implementation of  microporous Lewis and Brønsted solid acids for the isomerization of carbohydrates and production of acetic acid from methanol.

Alina Haverty
Administrative Assistant



haverty@mit.edu
Office: 66-542
Phone:
617-253-4533

2010 - present

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Ran Zhu
Postdoc


ranzhu@mit.edu
Office: 66-008
Phone: 617-253-0848

 

Ran received his B.S. in Chemistry and Mathematics from Iowa State University in 2013, where he studied quantum dot synthesis under the supervision of Prof. Javier Vela and synthesis and characterization of new complex intermetallic structures under the supervision of Dr. Qisheng Lin and Prof. Gordon Miller. He obtained his M.S. in Material Science and Engineering from the University of Pennsylvania in 2014. At UPenn, he researched the dual-phase membrane for syngas production in Prof. Raymond Gorte's group. He received his Ph.D. in Chemical Engineering from Syracuse University under the guidance of Prof. Jesse Bond in 2020. His Ph.D. thesis focuses on the oxidative C-C scission of levulinic acid and methyl ketones over supported vanadium oxide catalysts. Ran joined the Román lab in October 2020 to research kinetics and catalyst engineering in heterogeneous olefin metathesis over supported tungsten oxide and molybdenum oxide.

2010 - present

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Jie Zhu
Postdoc


jiezhu@mit.edu
Office: 66-021
Phone: 617-253-0848

 

Jie received her B.S.in Chemical Engineering from East China University of Science and Technology in 2015. She then moved to Japan to pursue her graduate studies in the University of Tokyo. She obtained her M.S. (2017) and Ph.D. (2020) in Chemical System Engineering under the supervision of Prof. Tatsuya Okubo. At UTokyo, Jie worked on the synthesis of metal-containing zeolites and their applications on NH3-SCR and propane dehydrogenation. Jie visited the van Bokhoven group at ETH Zürich for one year in 2018-2019, during which she researched on methane partial oxidation over Cu-ERI zeolites. Jie joined the Roman lab in May 2021 as a postdoctoral associate. Her current research focuses on the design of zeolite materials for methane partial oxidation and lignin hydrodeoxygenation.

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Guido Zichittella
Postdoc

zguido@mit.edu
Office: 66-019
Phone: 617-253-0848

 

Guido received his B.Sc. in Chemical Engineering from the Politecnico di Milano, Italy, in 2013. He then moved to Switzerland to pursue his M.Sc. in Chemical and Bioengineering at ETH Zurich where he worked under Prof. Massimo Morbidelli and Prof. Javier Pérez-Ramírez. He continued with his Ph.D. in the group of Prof. Javier Pérez-Ramírez, which he obtained in 2019 and where he focused on developing and understanding halogen-mediated light alkane activation over catalytic surfaces. For his doctoral work, Guido won the ETH Medal and the ABB Research Award and was nominated in 2019 among the 30 most influential scientists in Europe under the age of 30 by Forbes magazine. After his Ph.D., he continued as a Scientist at ETH Zurich to develop operando spectroscopic techniques to understand the mechanism of working catalysts for C-H functionalization. In September 2021, Guido joined the group of Prof. Yuriy Román as a SNSF postdoctoral fellow, where he is currently focused on understanding and developing systems for C-C bond activation in catalytic plastic upcycling.

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Suyong Han
Postdoc


syhan@mit.edu
Office: 66-008
Phone:
617-253-0848

 

Suyong Han is from Seoul, Korea and received his B.S. in chemical and biomolecular engineering at Georgia Institute of Technology in 2017. Then he pursued his Ph.D. in Chemical and biomolecular engineering at North Carolina State University under the supervision of Professor Milad Abolhasani. His thesis focuses on accelerating gas-liquid reactions, developing an automated flow chemistry platform for process intensification. He joined Román Lab in September 2021 to focus on flow synthesis of the metal-organic framework.

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Andres Granados
Postdoc


aagf@mit.edu
Office: 66-008
Phone: 617-253-0848

 

Andres is originally from Mexico. He received his B.S. in Chemical Engineering from Universidad Autonoma Metropolitana (UAM) at Mexico City in 2009, where he also pursued his M.S. (2011) and Ph.D. (2019) in the Catalysis Department with Prof. Jose Antonio de los Reyes as his advisor. His Ph.D. work focused on hydrodeoxygenation of lignin derived compounds over bifunctional and metal-metal oxides catalysts where he specialized on method development for zeolites characterization and deactivation studies and reaction system design. He moved to the US in early 2019 and later joined the Energy Research Group at Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) under the supervision of Prof. Michael Timko where he worked on catalyst design and optimization for upgrading of bio-oil produced from hydrothermal liquefaction of biomass by setting up a trickle-bed high-pressure flow reactor customized upon project requirements. Andres joined the Roman lab in November 2021 as a Postdoctoral Associate. His current research focuses on development of thermo-catalytic strategies to upgrade bio-crude oils obtained from the HTL system in a collaboration with his previous WPI’s research group.

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Jamison Watson
Postdoc


jamisonw@mit.edu
Office: 66-008
Phone: 617-253-0848

Jamison received his B.A. in Chemistry from St. Olaf College in 2014. He then moved to Illinois to pursue graduate studies at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. He received his M.S. in 2017 and his Ph.D. in 2021 in the Agricultural and Biological Engineering department under the supervision of Professor Yuanhui Zhang. His thesis focused on the thermochemical conversion of bio-waste (e.g., crop residues, food waste, animal waste, etc.) into biocrude oil via hydrothermal liquefaction. Jamison joined the Román Lab in January 2021 to focus on the catalytic upgrading and hydrodeoxygenation of lignin into a sustainable aviation fuel blendstock.

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Hwajun Lee
Postdoc


hwajun@mit.edu
Office: 66-008
Phone: 617-253-0848

Hwajun received his B.S. in Chemical Engineering from Yeungnam University, Korea in 2015. He then pursued his M.S. (2017) and Ph.D. (2021) in the Division of Environmental Science and Engineering at POSTECH (Korea) under the supervision of Prof. Suk Bong Hong. During his Ph.D. he focused on the synthesis of novel zeolite structures and/or compositions via the Multiple Inorganic Cation Approach. Hwajun joined the Roman group in February 2022 as a postdoctoral associate. His current research focuses on the rational design and target synthesis of zeolites. 

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Max Hülsey
Postdoc


mhuelsey@mit.edu
Office: 66-008
Phone: 617-253-0848

Max received his B.S. degree in Biochemistry at Heidelberg University conducting research on metal-organic DNA intercalation complexes in the Kulak group. During his master’s degree in Chemistry at Heidelberg University, he joined the Román group working on converting and upgrading lignin biomass on catalytic surfaces. He then joined the National University of Singapore for his Ph.D. in the Yan group focusing on the spectroscopic and spectrometric study as well as catalytic applications of model single atom catalysts. During his Ph.D, he also developed dynamic promotion methods for catalytic reactions under oscillating potentials. He currently is a Schmidt Science Postdoctoral Fellow co-supervised between the Surendranath and the Román labs working at the interface of thermal and electrocatalysis.

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Mostapha Dakhchoune
Postdoc


mdakhcho@mit.edu
Office: 66-008
Phone: 617-253-0848

Mostapha received his B.Sc. in Environmental Engineering from the University of Florence, Italy, in 2013. He then moved to Bologna (Italy) to pursue his M.Sc. in Chemical Engineering at the Alma Mater University of Bologna. Mostapha did his PhD at the École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL, Switzerland) under the supervision of Prof. Kumar Varoon Agrawal where he worked on the development of two-dimensional inorganic membranes for gas separation. He spent one year in Zurich (Switzerland) working in the R&D department of a startup that aimed at separating propane/propylene mixtures with MOF membranes. Mostapha joined the Román Group as a Schmidt Science Fellow on October 2022, where he is currently focusing on the electric field promotion of catalysis and solvation effect under two-dimensional materials.

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Thejas Wesley
Ph.D. Student


tswesley@mit.edu
Office: 66-008
Phone: 617-253-0848

Thejas graduated from the University of Wisconsin-Madison in 2017 with a B.S. in Chemical Engineering and Honors in Research. He conducted undergraduate research under the advisement of Professor James Dumesic, investigating the reactivities of supported AuPd catalysts for pyrone hydrogenation and 1-hexanol amination, and PtMo catalysts for low-temperature Water-Gas Shift. This work led to Goldwater and Astronaut Scholarships. As a co-advised student in the Román and Surendranath labs here at MIT, Thejas is studying the electrochemical promotion of nonfaradaic catalytic reactions.

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Soonhyoung Kwon
Ph.D. Student


s1105hk@mit.edu
Office: 66-021
Phone: 617-253-0848

Soonhyoung Kwon received his B.S. in Chemical and Biological Engineering from Seoul National University, Korea in 2017. He conducted undergraduate research with Professor Kookheon Char. His study was focused on two schemes. The first one was design, synthesis, and application of nanoporous fluorescent PPE films via NVIPS(Non-solvent Vapor Induced Phase Separation). The second one was use of PrDA(Photo retro Diels-Alder) reaction  for wavelength modulation of photoluminescence in fluorescent conjugated polymers. Soon’s current research focuses on the mechanism of pore generation in zeolites with transition-state analysis.

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Alexander Khechfe

Ph.D. Student

akhechfe@mit.edu

Office: 66-008

Phone: 617-253-7982

Alexi Khechfe is from Cupertino, CA, and received his B.S. in chemical engineering from the University of California, Santa Barbara in 2018. He conducted research with Professor Eric McFarland, where he characterized carbon formation mechanisms in molten Ni-Bi for the catalytic production of hydrogen and solid carbon from methane. He also spent a summer as an undergraduate researcher at Chalmers University in Gothenburg, Sweden where he studied the electrodeposition of MnO2 for hybrid supercapacitor electrodes. Alexi’s current research focus is catalyst design for electrochemically promoted catalyst systems.

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Kaylee McCormack

Ph.D. Student

kaymcco@mit.edu

Office: 66-019

Phone: 617-253-7982

Kaylee was raised in upstate New York and east Central Florida. She obtained her B.S. in Chemical Engineering from Auburn University in May 2017, where her research was in organic chemistry, working on the development of photoresists that degrade completely to gaseous materials. She then performed research at the Technical University of Denmark in Kongens Lyngby, Denmark as part of a Fulbright grant from Fall of 2017 to the Summer of 2018. There her thesis focused on the deactivation of the industrial catalyst used for methanol to formaldehyde oxidation through experimental and mathematical modeling.  After completing the Fulbright grant, she moved to Boston, MA to pursue graduate studies at MIT. Her current research focuses on the development and characterization of novel core-shell electrocatalysts that have enhanced stability under ORR conditions compared to traditional catalysts.

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Griffin Drake

Ph.D. Student

drakeg@mit.edu

Office: 66-019

Phone: 617-253-7982

Griffin Drake is from Portland, OR, and received his B.S. in chemical engineering from Oregon State University in 2019. His previous research work is primarily focused on solar thermochemical energy storage, working with Professor Nick AuYeung, but he has also worked on esterification kinetics (Professor Thomas Schwartz, U. Maine) and methanol electrooxidation (Professor Adam Holewinski, CU Boulder). He enjoys drawing. His current research focuses on plastic depolymerization and upcycling.

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Daniel Zheng

Ph.D. Student

djzheng@mit.edu

Office: 66-008

Phone: 617-253-0848

Daniel received his B.S. in Materials Science and Engineering from Cornell University in 2019. As an undergraduate, he studied ion exchange of transition metal oxide nanoparticles for use as supercapacitor electrodes and electrocatalysts with Professor Richard Robinson. He also spent a summer at Pacific Northwest National Lab with Dr. Jason Zhang developing a solvent-free fabrication method for free-standing Li-S battery cathodes. As a co-advised student in the Román and Shao-Horn groups, Daniel is working on methanol oxidation and direct methanol fuel cells.

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Blake Johnson

Ph.D. Student

blakej@mit.edu

Office: 66-019

Phone: 617-253-7982

Blake grew up in Bloomington, MN and received Bachelor’s degrees in Chemical Engineering (B.Ch.E.) and Chemistry (B.S.) from the University of Minnesota in 2019. As an undergraduate researcher, Blake worked with Professor Aditya Bhan to elucidate the mechanism of methylbenzene dealkylation in solid-acid catalysts during methanol-to-olefins catalysis. Following this project, Blake developed methods to assess catalyst deactivation in terms of site-loss rate, selectivity, and yield. Blake’s current work at MIT focuses on the non-Faradaic promotion of catalysis.

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Husain Adamji

Ph.D. Student

hadamji@mit.edu

Office: 66-008

Phone: 617-253-7982

Husain grew up in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania. He received a B.S. in Chemical Engineering from Tufts University in May 2020. As an undergraduate, Husain performed research in Professor Prashant Deshlahra’s group where he studied structure-property relations in next-generation Group III-V semiconductors like GaAsBi using Density Functional Theory (DFT). Following this project, Husain also worked with Professor Deshlahra on the selective oxidative dehydrogenation of propane using nitric oxide as a homogeneous gas-phase catalyst. At MIT, Husain is a co-advised student in the Roman and Kulik groups, and is working on novel inorganic porous catalyst design inspired by biological enzymes.

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Lucas Baston

Ph.D. Student

labaston@mit.edu

Office: 66-021

Phone: 617-253-7982

Lucas is from Mankato, MN and graduated from Purdue University in 2020 with a B.S. in chemical engineering and minors in chemistry and economics. While at Purdue, he performed undergraduate research in the lab of Professor Rajamani Gounder studying the effects of zeolite framework topology on copper ion exchange and diffusion for the selective catalytic reduction of NOX. Lucas enjoys hiking, video games, and Magic: The Gathering. His current research focus is on the design of zeolite catalysts using machine learning and transition state imprinting.

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Bhavish Dinakar

Ph.D. Student

bdinakar@mit.edu

Office: 66-019

Phone: 617-253-7982

Bhavish graduated from the University of California – Berkeley in 2020 with a B.S. in Chemical Engineering. His undergraduate research primarily focused on developing materials for carbon capture (Professors Jeff Long and Jeff Reimer), and he has also worked on isotopic composition measurements of nitrous oxide (Professor Kristie Boering) and catalysis with nanoparticles encapsulated in porous organic frameworks (Professor Matteo Cargnello, Stanford University). As a co-advised student in the Román and Dincă groups, his current work focuses on catalysis in conductive metal–organic frameworks.

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Matthew Webber

Ph.D. Student

mswebber@mit.edu

Office: 66-021

Phone: 617-253-7982

Matt grew up in Sanford, ME and received his B.S. in Chemical Engineering from the University of Maine in 2020. As an undergrad, he conducted research with Prof. Thomas Schwartz into the catalytic etherification of biomass derivatives over zeolites as well as the hydrogenation of amino acids to their corresponding alcohols. He also worked with Prof. Howard Patterson to investigate the vapochromic response of transition metal iodides when exposed to volatile organic compounds. Matt’s current research is focused on the catalytic upgrading of lignin.

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Anna Brenner

Ph.D. Student

annabren@mit.edu

Office: 66-021

Phone: 617-253-7982

Anna graduated from the University of Kansas in 2021 with a B.S. in Chemical Engineering. Her undergraduate research with Dr. Mark Shiflett focused on developing an alternative treatment for hemochromatosis using advanced materials such as zeolites, hydrotalcites, clays, tannins, and hops. During her time at KU, she was awarded the NOAA Hollings Scholarship where she interned for the NOAA Chemical Sciences Laboratory and studied the effect of consumer volatile chemical products on ozone pollution in New York City. At MIT, Anna is currently working on catalytic strategies for plastic waste rehabilitation.

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Karl Westendorff

Ph.D. Student

karlwest@mit.edu

Office: 66-021

Phone: 617-253-7982

Karl received his B.S. in Chemical Engineering from the University of Virginia in 2021, where he conducted research under Profs. Gaurav Giri, Dean Harman, and Chris Paolucci. With Prof. Giri, Karl investigated metal organic frameworks and their ability to separate CO2/CH4 mixtures. Additionally, Karl researched methods to control MOF polymorphism. In the Harman Lab, Karl investigated Mo and W-based dearomatization complexes with applications in pharmaceutical development and used computational techniques to understand these complexes’ reactivity. Karl’s computational work with Prof. Paolucci studied Pd speciation in SSZ-13 zeolites to aid in their potential use as passive NOx adsorbers. Now co-advised between the Román and Surendranath groups, Karl investigates the electric fields present at heterogeneous interfaces and their effects on catalysis. 

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Martin Sipka

Ph.D. Student

sipkam@mit.edu

Office: 66-021

Phone: 617-253-7982

Martin received his M.S. in mathematical modelling from Charles University in Prague in 2020. His work is focused on connecting machine learning and simulations and applying the techniques to the areas of Poisson geometry and chemical reactions. Martin joined Román lab as a Visiting student in March 2022 to apply and further extend the methods of automatic collective variable identification. His systems of interest are primarily heterogenous aluminosilicate catalysts.