Fall 2019 molecular engineering Ph.D. graduates
Since the molecular engineering Ph.D. program’s inception in 2014, it has grown to include over 70 students working across the University of Washington on everything from designing and testing battery materials to designing proteins that can turn genes on or off at will.
The following students completed their dissertations last fall:
As a graduate student in the lab of mechanical engineering professor Igor Novosselov, Justin analyzed the formation and evolution of particulate nanostructures generated by combustion. These particulates are a major component of air pollution with known health risks and adverse environmental impacts. He found that young, amorphous particles show more of an increased toxicological response than structured, mature particles. Further understanding of this complex process will help build a cleaner and healthier society. While at UW, Justin participated in the Alaska Airlines Environmental Innovation Challenge, which invites entrepreneurial students to showcase their problem-solving ideas. His team Apollo was selected as one of the 2019 finalists for their project to develop a low-cost electrode optimized for next-generation solar cells. Justin is now a junior data engineer at Allstate in Bothell where he is working with Allstate agents across the country on their data infrastructure.
As a graduate student in the lab of materials science and engineering professor Alex Jen, Dion worked on designing and testing new types of electrolyte materials for lithium-sulfur (Li-S) batteries. This type of battery could potentially be made twice as light as a lithium-ion cell, using cheap, earth-abundant materials; however, Li-S batteries are not currently commercially viable because they tend to die after only a few recharge cycles. This work could lead to better batteries for electric vehicles, as well as other applications where low weight is critical. While at UW, Dion was a graduate fellow at the Clean Energy Institute. Dion is now a postdoctoral scholar with Gao Liu’s Applied Energy Materials group at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory. The group focuses on synthesis and processing of energy materials, including energy storage materials, solar energy materials, high performance materials and prototype development based on modern computational, synthesis and processing methods.
As a graduate student in the lab of chemical engineering professor Vince Holmberg, Grant worked on developing new materials for high-capacity lithium-ion and sodium-ion batteries that can charge faster and last longer. His research focused on characterizing battery materials made of antimony, which can charge from empty to full in three minutes and store roughly double the energy of current battery materials. While at UW, Grant received an NSF Graduate Research Fellowship, was named to the Husky 100 and served in the Graduate & Professional Student Senate. Grant is now a product engineer at ABV Technology, a small startup in St Paul, Minnesota that has developed a way to transform alcoholic beverages into non-alcoholic beverages without altering their intended flavor and taste.
View our current students at https://www.moles.washington.edu/phd/current-students/