The Department of Chemical Engineering welcomes two new assistant professors, Bryan Goldsmith and Nirala Singh. Goldsmith will begin his appointment in September 2017, and Singh will begin his in January 2018.
A native of the San Fernando Valley area near Los Angeles, Goldsmith most recently worked as a Humboldt Postdoctoral Fellow at the Fritz Haber Institute of the Max Planck Society in Berlin, Germany, working with Luca Ghiringhelli and Matthias Scheffler. During this time, he primarily developed and applied data analytics tools (e.g., machine learning and data mining) with the goal to extract materials insights and predict novel materials.
The Goldsmith research group will use electronic-structure theory and molecular simulation, as well as data analytics tools, to understand catalysts and materials under realistic conditions, and to help generate a platform for their design and use in chemical synthesis and pollution reduction. Areas of focus include: (i) Disordered and amorphous materials used as catalysts or catalyst supports; (ii) Nanoclusters and atomically dispersed metal-complexes supported by metal oxides for natural gas conversion; and (iii) Homogeneous organometallic catalysis for specialty chemical production, especially for carbon-hydrogen activation reactions.
Bryan likes traveling abroad, trying new foods, and learning languages. He and his fiancée, Divina, are both excited to join the Michigan community. A fun fact about him is that he is an identical twin.
“I am enthusiastic to begin teaching courses in the department this fall and to build up my research team,” he says. “My teaching goals are to help students reflect on their own understanding of the course material and to equip them with the tools and mindset to address the pressing challenges facing our world.”
Nirala Singh obtained his bachelor’s degree in chemical engineering from the University of Michigan in 2009. He received his PhD in 2015 at the University of California Santa Barbara, working with Eric McFarland and Horia Metiu.
After graduation in 2015, Nirala Singh did his postdoctoral research at the University of Washington and Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, working with Charlie Campbell and Johannes Lercher as a Washington Research Foundation Fellow in the Clean Energy Institute.
Nirala’s research focuses on developing electrochemical methods and catalysts to store and use renewable electricity. This includes flow batteries for energy storage, production of fuels and chemicals from renewable electricity or directly from sunlight, and electrochemical treatment of wastewater.
He grew up in Ann Arbor and completed his K-12 education in the Ann Arbor public school system. He says, “I am extremely excited to be returning to my hometown, and am looking forward to beginning my independent career at such a wonderful university. Go Blue!”