Liu Joins ChBE Faculty

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Assistant Professor Dongxia Liu.

The A. James Clark School of Engineering and the Department of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering (ChBE) are pleased to welcome their newest faculty member, Assistant Professor Dongxia Liu.

Liu, who earned her Ph.D. in chemical engineering from the University of Rochester in 2009, is currently completing her postdoctoral research in the Department of Chemical Engineering and Materials Science at the University of Minnesota. She will arrive on campus in January 2012.

Liu feels the Clark School will be a great place to launch her career in academia. "I was attracted to the location, high quality of research, and free academic atmosphere in ChBE," she explains. "The campus is within easy driving distance of the nation’s capital and many prominent national labs...The ChBE department has a wonderful and diverse community of faculty and students contributing to cutting-edge research in many important areas...[and] faculty [members] have the opportunity to do what they think is best in their research and teaching."

Liu also identified with the ChBE faculty's award-winning commitment to excellence in engineering education.

"A key factor in my decision to pursue an academic career is to teach and interact with bright, young and eager students," she says. "I would like to share my excitement for chemical engineering, materials science, and catalytic science with both undergraduate and graduate students, and to inspire and empower them with independent thinking skills that are crucial for scientific discoveries."

Liu plans to develop a research program based on her interdisciplinary background in materials synthesis, catalytic science, and fuel cells. Her projects will focus on the design of a new class of nanostructured materials for use in renewable and sustainable technologies. The materials can be applied to increasing the reaction efficiency in biomass-based fuels such as switchgrass, facilitating the production of fuels and chemicals from municipal waste, and the design of cost-effective catalysts and membranes that would contribute to the commercialization of fuel cells.

"Lignocellulosic biomass…and municipal solid waste [represent] abundant carbon-neutral renewable source[s] for the production of fuels and chemicals currently produced from crude oil...[while] fuel cells have the potential to supply clean, highly efficient, and sustainable energy to replace the internal combustion engine," says Liu. "[These] are expected to be important technologies for the future."

Liu is currently recruiting members for her research group. Undergraduates, graduate students, and postdocs are invited to learn more by visiting her web site at

Published July 1, 2011