Conn Center Staff

Mahendra Sunkara, PhD, Director

Mahendra Sunkara, PhD, is the Director of the Conn Center, where he directs the Center’s research themes, growth, and operations.
 

Dr. Sunkara received his B. Tech. degree in Chemical Engineering from Andhra University (India) in 1986, a M.S. in Chemical Engineering from Clarkson University in 1988, and a PhD in 1993 from Case Western Reserve. He earned his PhD under guidance of Prof. John Angus on chemical vapor deposition of diamond. He worked at Faraday Technology, Inc. in Dayton, OH, from 1993-1996 as a Project Engineer before joining UofL as an assistant professor in 1996.

Mahendra’s primary research is in the development of such renewable energy and energy efficiency technologies as solar cells, lithium ion batteries, electrochromics, production of hydrogen from water, and process development for growing large crystals of diamond, gallium nitride, and bulk quantities of nanowires. He has published over 150 articles in refereed journals, four book chapters, and was awarded over 25 U.S. patents. He co-authored a book entitled “Inorganic Nanowires: Applications, Properties and Characterization” published by CRC Press. He was awarded the Ralph E. Powe Junior Faculty in Engineering award in 1999 and a NSF CAREER award in 1999. In 2002, the Louisville Magazine placed him in the list of top 25 young guns in the city of Louisville. In 2009, he received the UofL President’s distinguished faculty award for research and United Phosphorus CDS Award from the Indian Institute of Chemical Engineers in 2009. He has been named as Fellow of Kentucky Science and Engineering Foundation in 2017. His research work was cited about 8000 times with an h-index of 42. He graduated over 20 M.S/M.Eng and 20 PhD students who found successful careers in academia as faculty at institutions such as RPI, Texas A&M, U of Tulsa, IIT - Hyderabad and in Industry such as Intel, HP, Veeco, Applied Materials, and Lexmark, etc. He serves on the board of a publicly traded company, Karuturi Global and serves on the editorial boards of Nanotechnology and Nature Scientific Reports.

He founded Advanced Energy Materials, LLC (AdEM) in 2010 to commercialize his technology on scalable manufacturing of nanowire based materials for catalysts, batteries and absorbents. The company recently established commercial production facilities for advanced catalysts and adsorbents for removal of sulfur from diesel and fuels and hydrogenation applications around the world. He founded a IT training and consulting company, Indacle Software, Inc.in 1995, and established Chemener Batteries Ltd, a lead acid battery manufacturing unit in India.

The Phoenix House

216 Eastern Parkway
502-852-8574
502-852-8619 fax
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Andrew Marsh, Assistant Director

Andrew Marsh is the Assistant Director of the Conn Center, where he is responsible for daily operations, public relations and communications, and facilitating the growth of the Center. He is the Program Officer for the UofL Leigh Ann Conn Prize for Renewable Energy.

He received his MFA in Studio Art & Design from Southern Illinois University in Edwardsville, IL in 2001 and holds a BFA in Art Studio from the University of Kentucky in Lexington (1995). At Kentucky (1989-1995), he helped establish the iron casting program in Sculpture, was studio assistant for sculptors Jack Gron and John Tuska, and received the T.J. Oexmann Award for Outstanding Art Studio Student. Andrew became the Custom Metalwork Manager for the Land Cruiser Connection in Washington DC (1995-1998), producing high quality expedition-class equipment solutions for off-roading enthusiasts. At Southern Illinois (1998-2001), he fused the cast iron foundry process with sculptural steel fabrication techniques and performance art events; his elaborate Devil's Night Ironworks is part of the Founder's Collection at Sculpture Trails Outdoor Museum in Indiana.

From 2001 to 2004, Andrew was an Artist in Residence at the award-winning City Museum in St. Louis, MO. He is credited with constructing over 50 interactive exhibits, monumental steel playground features, and specialty environments in this most unusual museum. Concurrently, he served as Adjunct Faculty in the Art Department of Webster University, where he taught foundry, steel fabrication, and ferrous performance art. In 2005, Andrew relocated to Louisville to serve as Research Grant Coordinator at the University of Louisville's James Graham Brown Cancer Center (2005-2009). He orchestrated writing and editing for over 350 manuscripts and grant proposals, curated survivor artworks, and tutored international researchers in English and technical writing. While at the Cancer Center, he was the recipient of the University of Louisville Presidents' Professional Development Program Award. In 2010, he joined the Conn Center. In addition to communications and operations, he develops center personnel, programs, and facilities, including The Phoenix House, biennial RE3Workshop, annual research summer camps, and Industrial Hemp to Energy program.

 

To date, Andrew's metal sculptures, photographs, paintings, videos, and performances have appeared in over 250 group and solo exhibitions and collections throughout the US and in the United Kingdom, including an installation at The Phoenix House. Through Lucky 7 Arts, he continues to innovate as an artist at his BLDG 15 Studios in Louisville. In addition, he serves as Executive Officer and Chair of the Board of Directors for Josephine Sculpture Park in Frankfort, KY since 2009, and chaired the 2017 & 2019 National Conferences on Contemporary Cast Iron Art & Practices held at Sloss Furnaces National Historic Landmark in Birmingham, AL.

The Phoenix House

216 Eastern Parkway
502-852-8597
502-852-8619 fax
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Gamini Sumanasekera, PhD Theme Leader, Energy Storage

Gamini Sumanasekera, PhD, is the Energy Storage Theme Leader at the Conn Center, where he focuses on developing materials and processes for chemical energy storage and other renewable energy applications. 

He obtained his doctorate in Physics from Indiana University in Bloomington in 1995 and worked on several projects related to quantum transport in disordered systems and heterostructures. He also holds an MS in Physics from Bowling Green State University, OH (1987), where he worked on Flux quantization in disordered bismuth films, and a BS in Physics with honors from the University of Peradeniya, Sri Lanka (1981). He served as a Post-Doctoral Researcher in Physics at the University of Kentucky (1995-1999) and worked on the physical properties of nanoparticles, carbon nanotubes, and high Tc superconductors. He was a Senior Research Associate in Physics at Pennsylvania State University (1999-2002), where he continued his explorations into the electrical conductivity, thermoelectric power, Raman scattering, and electrochemical behavior of novel and functionalized nanomaterials. He joined the Physics faculty at the University in Louisville in 2002, was promoted to Associate Professor in 2007, and served as the Associate Director of the Institute of Advanced Materials and Renewable Energy.

Gamini is the author/co-author of over 150 original research papers and holds patents in the area of Li-ion battery, microfluidics, graphene, and thermoelectric materials and processes. Among his awards are the University of Louisville’s College of Arts & Sciences Distinguished Faculty Award in Research and Scholarship and the University Scholar distinction. His research in experimental condensed matter physics now includes 2D material based heterostructures and thermoelectrics, doped nanodiamond-based thermionic emission, chemical sensors, highly correlated systems, and metal-insulator-transition.

Ernst Hall, Room 314
502-852-1558
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Jacek Jasinski, PhD Theme Leader, Materials Characterization Facility

Jacek Jasinski, PhD, is a Research Scientist and Materials Characterization Theme Leader focused on understanding the mechanisms underlying physical properties and functionality of technologically important device structures and materials. He also oversees the Materials Characterization Service Center.

He earned his M.Sc. in Solid State Physics (1992) and doctorate in Physics of Semiconductors from Warsaw University (Poland) in 1997. He served as junior faculty at the Institute of Experimental Physics at the Warsaw University, Poland (1997-2000), Post-doctoral Research Fellow in Materials Science at the Lawrence Berkley National Lab (2000-2004), and Post-doctoral Researcher in Engineering at the University of California, Merced (2004-2005). Between 2005 and 2008, he was a Research Scientist in the School of Engineering at the University of California. In 2008, he joined the Institute for Advanced Materials and Renewable Energy at the University of Louisville Speed School of Engineering as Chief Scientist. In 2009, Jacek was appointed Theme Leader in Materials Characterization at the Conn Center.

Jacek is author/co-author of 175 original research papers in refereed journals, over 40 articles in refereed conference proceedings, and is co-author of a book chapter in "Dilute III-V Nitride Semiconductors and Materials Systems." He is the guest author of a special issue of ChemEngineering (an open access journal by MDPI) on Functional Materials for Renewable Energy Technologies. He serves as a reviewer for a number of journals, including Applied Physics Letters, Microscopy and Microanalysis, Catalysis Today, and Small Methods, and as a proposal reviewer for the Center for Functionalized Nanomaterials at Brookhaven National Laboratory. He is a c0-organizer of scientific symposia and meetings such as Symposium K: Graphene and Graphene Nanocomposites at the 2014 MRS Fall Meeting, Symposium TC4 on Advances In Spacial, Energy and Time Resolution In Electron Microscopy at the 2016 MRS Fall Meeting, as well as the biennial Renewable Energy & Energy Efficiency (RE3) Workshops. Among his awards are the Foundation for Polish Science Award (1997) and the Polish Physical Society Award (1992).

In his current position, Jacek collaborates with a number of faculty, both UofL and external, as well as industrial partners on a number of various materials development projects, mainly in the fields of energy, catalysis, and nanomaterials. In his research, he applies electron microscopy in combination with diffraction and spectroscopic techniques to study the relationship between the material structure, its chemistry, and physical properties and to understand the mechanisms underlying physical properties, functionality, and durability of technologically important materials and device structures.  

Lutz Hall Room 010
502-852-6338
502-852-2535 fax
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Thad Druffel, PhD, PE Team Leader, Solar Energy Conversion

Thad Druffel, PhD, PE is the Theme Leader for Solar Manufacturing R&D focused on scalable manufacturing of photovoltaics and other renewable energy production and storage solutions.

He received his doctorate in Chemical Engineering from the University of Louisville in 2009 and was awarded the Guy Stevenson Award for excellence in graduate studies. He holds an MS in Mechanical Engineering from Colorado State University (2000) and a BS in Mechanical Engineering from Carnegie Mellon University (1990) and is a registered Professional Engineer in the Commonwealth of Kentucky (Lic. 22550). He interned at the Robotics Institute at Carnegie Mellon University before joining the United States Peace Corps in 1990, where he served as a math, physics, and chemistry teacher in Malawi. He then joined Eco-Systems Ltd., a manufacturer of solar water heaters, in Malawi as a field/design/manufacturing engineer. Thad worked as a Mechanical Engineer for Obermeyer Hydro in Fort Collins, CO (1994-2000). He relocated to Louisville to work with CDI Engineering Group (GE Appliances) and then Optical Dynamics Nanotechnology, where he served as Senior Mechanical Engineer and then Vice President of Applied Research and Development until 2010, where he led an R&D group in commercial applications of optical nanocomposite thin films. He was the architect of the nanoCLEAR product, an antireflective coating for eyeglass lenses, which received a Nano50 Award from Nanotech Briefs in 2006. He has also consulted with industrial clients to develop products based on large area deposition of nanoparticles. He joined the Conn Center in 2010. He is the founder of Bert Thin Films, LLC, which is commercializing a front side metallization paste for the solar industry based on research originating from his work at the Conn Center.  

Thad's primary research is investigating utilization of nanocomposites on wide area flexible substrates with intended applications in solar energy via roll-to-roll deposition techniques. He has several publications and patent applications related to this research in photonic applications of thin film nanocomposites. He is experienced as the principal investigator in grants from the National Science Foundation, Department of Energy, and the State of Kentucky as well as industry sponsored research. His background includes research and development topics in both Mechanical and Chemical Engineering and he has been involved in projects ranging from solar and water facilities in Africa to corporate research and development of cutting edge technologies.

Ernst Hall, Room 302
502-852-2265
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Jagannadh Satyavolu, PhD Theme Leader, Biomass and Biofuels

Jagannadh Satyavolu, PhD, is the Theme Leader for Biomass and Biofuels focused on developing renewable feed streams for green fuel processing technology.


Dr. Satyavolu’s research focus is in developing cost-effective process technologies for biomass processing, novel separations for C5 and C6 sugars from biomass, synthetic pathways to convert the sugars to values added bioproducts, and integrated biorefineries. His research interests also include technologies dealing with the production of biogas, biohydrogen, and drop-in biocoal products. At Conn Center, he develops technologies and in such a way that the cost of biofuel production is comparable to costs from synthetic sources. To this extent, he identifies the most suitable biomasses, promotes business and commercial relationships among biomass growers and biofuel producers, and develops integrated processes to produce C5, C6, and lignin - platform of biofuels and biochemical intermediates.

Dr. Satyavolu has 30 years of experience in commercial business leadership roles, operations and capital project management, product and process technology development, industrial application research, and academia. His research and commercial implementation projects included lignocellulosic biomass conversion for energy, chemicals, paper and other industrial markets; waste to energy conversion technologies; process integration and economics; water treatment and recycle; and new product/process development for chemical, food, and biotechnology industries. Prior to joining Conn Center, he worked at Cargill, Georgia Institute of Technology, Battelle Labs, and the Ohio State University.

Dr. Satyavolu received his PhD (1989) and MS (1984) in Chemical Engineering from The Ohio State University and a BTech (1982) in Chemical Engineering from Andhra University in India. He had several publications and holds 20 US and international patents. He has lead multiple projects from concept to commercialization. He joined the Conn Center in 2011.

Lutz Hall Room 435
502-852-3923
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Jinjun Liu, PhD Theme Leader, Ultrafast Spectroscopy

Jinjun Liu, PhD is the Ultrafast Spectroscopy Theme Leader at the Conn Center, where he contributes to the advancement of renewable energy science and technology through basic spectroscopic studies conducted in the center's Ultrafast Transient Absorption Spectroscopy facility. 

He received his B.S. in optoelectronics at East China Normal University in 1999 and worked for two years in the State Key Laboratory of Precision Spectroscopy in Shanghai. For his Ph.D., he studied Chemical Physics at the Ohio State University in Dr. Terry A. Miller's research group. At both laboratories, he examined transient molecular species or "free radicals" using various high-resolution spectroscopic techniques. Jinjun received his PhD in 2007 and served as a post-doctoral fellow with Dr. Frederic Merkt at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology (ETH), Zurich. Among other scientific achievements at ETH, he determined the ionization and dissociation energies of the hydrogen molecule with unprecedented precision, which remains as the gold standard for quantum electrodynamics (QED) calculations of these quantities. Jinjun joined the Chemistry faculty at the University of Louisville in 2012 as an Assistant Professor and was promoted to Associate Professor in 2017.

 

Research in the Liu Group consists of spectroscopic studies on gas-phase molecules and condensed-phase materials in both frequency domain (using high-resolution laser systems) and time domain (using ultrafast laser systems). The high-resolution studies in the Liu Group center on the spectroscopic detection and characterization of reactive chemical intermediates and molecules in excited electronic states. These studies lead to a detailed understanding of molecular structures and dynamics and the nature of chemical bonding. Unambiguous identification and analysis of the experimentally obtained spectra is a prerequisite to subsequent work omn the chemical reactions that involve these intermediates. Quantum chemistry calculations are used to help understand these molecules. 

 

The goal of the ultrafast spectroscopy study in the Liu Group is to contribute to the advancement of renewable energy science and technology through basic spectroscopic studies. Currently, this group is focused on characterizing solar cell materials of interest to understand their fundamental dynamic processes and interfaces for the Conn Center. This information is essential to developing their functions and applications toward renewable energy applications. 

 

Dr. Liu is a recipient of the 2015 National Science Foundation CAREER Award and the 2017 Flygare Award of the International Symposium on Molecular Spectroscopy.  

Find out more on Dr. Liu's research group at http://louisville.edu/faculty/j0liu028 and https://sites.google.com/site/uofllaserlabs/home.

Chemistry Bldg 144
502-852-1223
502-852-8149 fax
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Joshua Spurgeon, PhD, Theme Leader, Solar Fuels

Joshua Spurgeon, PhD, is a Research Engineer and Theme Leader for Solar Fuels research focused on economically viable approaches to solar water splitting, electrosynthetic fuel formation, and advanced electrocatalysts.

He received his doctorate in Chemical Engineering from the California Institute of Technology in 2010. He also holds an MS in Chemical Engineering from Caltech (2006) and a BS in Chemical Engineering from the University of South Carolina (2004). He conducted research on proton exchange membrane fuels cell at the University of South Carolina (2000-2004), before pursuing research into scalable and inexpensive nanostructured photovoltaics at Caltech (2004-2009). As a post-doctoral scholar at Caltech (2010), he worked on multifunctional membranes for solar fuels applications and demonstrated the viability of solar-driven water vapor electrolysis. He then became a Research Scientist at the inception of the Department of Energy's solar fuels innovation hub, the Joint Center for Artificial Photosynthesis (JCAP, 2011-2013), where his research involved photoelectrochemical studies of the interfaces between catalysts and semiconductors. He became Project Lead for the Interface group and Proccessing, Materials, and Integration Team at JCAP (2013) before joining the Conn Center at the University of Louisville in 2014.

Josh was a National Merit Scholar and McNair Scholar at the University of South Carolina, as well as a National Science Foundation Fellow at Caltech, where he also won the Demetriades Prize in Renewable Energy and was a distinguished Everhart Lecturer. His research includes the study of novel photoelectrode materials for solar fuels generation, catalysts and strategies for controlling the selectivity in electrochemical carbon dioxide reduction, and developing novel approaches to efficient, cost-effective solar water electrolysis. 

Ernst Hall Room 102a
502-852-4520
502-852-8619 fax
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William "Hank" Paxton, PhD, R&D Engineer

William (Hank) Paxton, PhD, is the Research and Development Engineer at the Conn Center for Renewable Energy Research within the Speed School of Engineering. His research is focused primarily on the development of novel semiconducting materials and specializes in reactor design.

He obtained his doctorate in Electrical Engineering from Vanderbilt University in 2013 focused on the utilization of diamond structures for the direct conversion of heat into electricity. He also obtained both his master’s degree in Electrical Engineering (2011) and a bachelor’s degree in Engineering, Physics and Mathematics (2009) from Vanderbilt University. Paxton began a company, IOP Technologies, immediately following completion of his Ph.D. to commercialize his promising research from his graduate studies. He joined the Conn Center in 2015.

Paxton is the author/co-author of over 8 original research papers and currently has three patents pending in areas ranging from energy conversion to the design of industrial production reactors. He is currently involved in the design, implementation, and validation of several material deposition systems including: Halide Vapor Phase Epitaxy (HPVE) and Metal Organic Chemical Vapor Deposition (MOCVD) for the creation of various, next generation III-V semiconductors; Microwave Plasma-Enhanced Chemical Vapor Deposition (MPCVD) for the growth of diamond/carbon films and nanostructures; grid-scale energy storage techniques; and conversion of biomass into fuels.

 

SIGMA Labs Room 001
270-331-1116
502-852-8619 fax
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Arjun Thapa, PhD, Scientist, Energy Storage R&D Manager

Arjun Kumar Thapa, PhD, is research scientist at the Conn Center, where he is focused on synthesis and development of high capacity cathode and anode materials for Li-ion, Li-Air, Li-S, Na-ion batteries and capacitors. He is the R&D Manager for the center’s Battery Research Laboratory.

 

He received his doctorate in Material Science & Engineering from Saga University (Japan) in 2007 under Prof. Masaki Yoshio. His research was focused on synthesis and development of cathode materials for Li-ion batteries and megalo-capacitance capacitors. He also holds an MS in Material Science & Engineering from Saga University (Japan) in 2004. He conducted research on synthesis of halogen doped o-LiMnO2 cathode materials for lithium-ion batteries and their performance at elevated temperature.

 

Arjun received his M.Sc. in Physical Chemistry from Tribhuvan University (Nepal) in 1999. As a Postdoctoral Fellow at Advance Research Center in Saga University (2007-2008), he worked on novel high-energy density capacitors in collaboration with Ishihara Sangyo Co. Ltd. Japan. In 2008, he joined in the group of Prof. Tatsumi Ishihara at Kyushu University (Japan) as a Global COE Postdoctoral Fellow, where he focused on synthesis of mesoporous metal oxides catalyst for Li-Air batteries for the New Energy for Industrial & Technology Development Organization (NEDO Grant), Japan. He was project lead for Li-Air battery research group in Prof. Ishihara’s lab from 2009 to 2011. He joined Conn Center in 2011 as a Senior Research Associate.

 

He is author/co-author of over 30 original research papers, one book chapter in capacitor and currently one patent pending. As a battery researcher, he has over 14 years of research engineering experience in material science/battery development for different synthesis process and application in energy storage systems in coin cell, pouch cell, electrolytes preparation, In-situ XRD, dual-carbon battery, and hybrid capacitors.

 

SIGMA Battery R&D Lab 005

502-595-8075

502-852-8619 fax

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Eunice Salazar, Unit Business Manager

Eunice Salazar is the Unit Business Manager of the Conn Center, where she is responsible for all financial operations, including requisitions, invoicing, accounts receivable/payable, reconciliation, and pre-/post-award grant accounting.

She received her MBA in Entrepreneurship from the University of Louisville in 2010. During this study, she worked with teams to consult with local businesses to write industry competitive analyses and business plans, and looked for ways to improve operations. She travelled with the program to Dubai, Abu Dhabi UAE, and Istanbul, Turkey, to learn about what it takes to conduct business in those countries. She earned her BA in Foreign Languages and International Studies from Bellarmine University in 2005. As part of the Honors program, she wrote her thesis about the translation process and its challenges. During a study abroad in Paris, France, Eunice took courses in translation and political science at the Institute Catholique de Paris and Universite Sorbonne Nouvelle through the MICEFA exchange program.

Before coming to UofL, Eunice gained valuable experience at CertiCell, LLC, a start-up company in the wireless industry, where she worked for 7 years. She worked in various roles starting as an Administrative Assistant, then Database Analyst and Enterprise Resource Planning Administrator/Accounting Assistant before becoming Office Manager. She led the implementation of the net-based ERP system, Netsuite, and provided training and technical support for employees at all levels of the company.

 

Originally from Quito, Ecuador, Eunice has spent most of her life in the United States. She's a native Spanish speaker and studied French and Italian as part of her undergraduate studies. She enjoys learning about various cultures and visiting different countries. Eunice is a member of The Greater Louisville International Professionals (GLIP) and National Society of Hispanic MBAs (NSHMBA).

The Phoenix House

216 Eastern Parkway
502-852-8578
502-852-8619
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Paul Ratnasamy, PhD Emeritus Theme Leader, Biofuels

Paul Ratnasamy, PhD, is an Emeritus Theme Leader of Biofuels for the Conn Center where he was a central figure from 2009-2011.

He obtained his doctorate in Chemistry from Loyola College, Madras. After post-doctoral experiences in the US (1967-1969) and Belgium (1969-1972), he joined the Indian Institute of Petroleum, Dehradun, in 1972. He transferred to the National Chemical Laboratory (NCL) in Pune, India in 1979, where he started the Catalysis Division in 1980. He was the Director of NCL for 7 years (1995-2002). Between 2004 and 2009, he was honored as the Indian National Science Academy’s Srinivasa Ramanujan Research Professor at NCL. Among his awards are the Padma Shree (2001), a Third World Academy of Sciences Award in Technology (1994), the Viswakarma Medal by the Indian National Academy (1994), the Om Prakash Bhasin Award (1992), the K.G. Naik Gold Medal (1989), the Shanti Swarup Bhatnagar Prize in Engineering Sciences (1984), and a Vasvik Industrial Research Award (1982).

Paul is the author/co-author of 206 original research papers in refereed journals and holds more than 100 patents including 30 U.S. patents in the area of catalysis. He has served on the editorial boards of the Journal of Catalysis, Applied Catalysis, Zeolites, Catalysis Letters, Topics in Catalysis, CATTECH, and Microporous and Mesoporous Materials and as a council member of the Internatinal Zeolite Association, from which he won the International Award for lifetime achievement in zeolite chemistry and catalysis research (2004). He is a founder-member of the Indian Catalysis Society (730 members) and past president of the Indo-Pacific Catalysis Association.

In the area of applied catalysis, he and his group have discovered, developed, and commercialized the following seven catalysts and catalytic processes in Indian chemical plants: Xylene isomerization; production of ethyl benzene from agro-ethanol and benzene (the first plant worldwide); toluene disproportionation; production of diethyl benzene, styrene, and formaldehyde; and the manufacture of TS-1 zeolites. In recognition of this feat, the President of India honored him with the Padma Shree Award in Science and Engineering, one of its highest civilian recognitions, in 2001. Paul has served as a consultant to a large number of Indian and foreign chemical companies in the area of industrial catalysis.

Rodica McCoy Research Manager - Retired, Materials Characterization Facility

Rodica McCoy was a Research Manager at the Conn Center, where she coordinated the daily operations associated with analytical services offered by the Materials Characterization Service Center. Rodica retired from the University of Louisville in October, 2013.

She received her BA in Chemistry from the University of Louisville in 1985. She holds a BS in Ceramic Engineering from Alfred University (1978) and an Associates in Applied Science from Erie Community College, Buffalo, NY (1972). Before coming to University of Louisville, Rodica gained valuable industrial experience from Corning Glass Works in Corning, NY, where she worked for 6 years in the Analytical Services Department performing X-Ray Fluorescence Analyses, and at Corhart Refractories in Louisville, KY, where she worked for 4 years as process engineer.

Rodica was at UofL for 27 years. She worked in the Materials Research Laboratory in Speed Scientific School, which became the Institute for Advanced Materials and Renewable Energy in 2006. In 2009, this Institute was absorbed into the newly formed the Conn Center for Renewable Energy Research as the Materials Characterization Service Center. At the Service Center, Rodica performed advanced material analyses for industrial customers outside the university. She also worked closely with university faculty and students, who use the equipment and staff expertise for their research studies.

In addition to her duties at the Service Center, Rodica served as coordinator for the statewide workshop on Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency. These workshops bring together university researchers from Kentucky and industry partners to share ideas and discuss current issues related to renewable energy, energy efficiency, and advanced energy materials.

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