Faculty Directory

Vega-Vila, Juan Carlos

Vega-Vila, Juan Carlos

Assistant Professor
Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering
1208A Chemical and Nuclear Engineering Building

Dr. Juan Carlos Vega-Vila was born and raised in Puerto Rico, where he completed his B.S. in Chemical Engineering from the University of Puerto Rico-Mayagüez (UPRM). During his time at UPRM, Dr. Vega-Vila performed research under the advice of Prof. Nelson Cardona-Martínez on catalyst design for biomass applications. He later earned a Ph.D. from Purdue University, working under the advice of Prof. Rajamani Gounder on “Synthetic Strategies to Tailor Active and Defect Site Structures in Lewis Acid Zeolites for Sugar Isomerization Catalysis.” After receiving his doctoral degree, he performed postdoctoral research at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) developing synthetic protocols to investigate the influence of synthesis conditions on zeolite crystallization. The Vega-Vila research group joins the Department of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering to work on addressing current sustainability concerns with an emphasis on carbon dioxide emissions by combining the synthesis of inorganic, porous materials with reaction engineering and catalysis fundamentals to tackle challenges in heterogeneous catalysis, separations, and continuous crystallization processes.


  • B.S., Department of Chemical Engineering, University of Puerto Rico, Mayagüez
  • Ph.D., Davidson School of Chemical Engineering, Purdue University
  • Postdoctoral Researcher, Department of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering, University of California, Los Angeles

Heterogeneous catalysis, zeolite synthesis, materials design and characterization, reaction engineering, inorganic and porous materials, energy and sustainability 

CHBE 410: Statistics and Design of Experiments (Fall 2023)

Selected publications:

  • Vega-Vila, J. C., Gounder, R., “Quantification of Intraporous Hydrophilic Binding Sites in Lewis Acid Zeolites and Consequences for Sugar Isomerization Catalysis.” ACS Catalysis, 10 (2020) 12197-12211.

  • Vega-Vila, J. C., Holkar, A., Arnold, R. A., Prentice, D., Dong, S., Tang, L., La Plante, E. C., Ellison, K., Kumar, A., Bauchy, M., Srivastava, S., Sant, G. N., Simonetti, D., “Metal Cations as Inorganic Structure-Directing Agents during the Synthesis of Phillipsite and Tobermorite.” Reaction Chemistry & Engineering, 8 (2023) 1176-1184.

  • Cordon, M. J., Vega-Vila, J. C., LaRue, A., Huang, Z., Gounder, R., “Tighter Confinement Increases Selectivity of D-Glucose Isomerization Toward L-Sorbose in Titanium Zeolites.” Angewandte Chemie International Edition, 59 (2020) 19102-19107.

  • Vega-Vila, J. C., Harris, J. W., Gounder, R., “Controlled Insertion of Tin Atoms into Zeolite Framework Vacancies and Consequences for Glucose Isomerization Catalysis.” Journal of Catalysis, 344 (2016) 108-120.

  • Gounder, R., Vega-Vila, J. C., Harris, J. W., “Processes for Producing Materials Having a Zeolite-Type Framework with Heteroatoms Incorporated Therein.” U.S. Patent No. 10,414,664 B2, Sep. 17, 2019.

Vega-Vila Joins CHBE as Assistant Professor

Vega-Vila Joins CHBE as Assistant Professor