Category Archives: Research & Funding

New NSF support

We are grateful for the new support from NSF Division of Chemistry (CHE) that allows us to work on machine learning and electrochemistry with our collaborator Prof. Quanquan Gu at UCLA Computer Science! Stay tuned for our research progress in the future.

2020 Scialog Collaborative Innovation Award

We are excited to be awarded the 2020 Scialog Collaborative Innovation Award! This project is in collaboration with UCLA postdoc alum Prof. Nanette Boyle‘s group at Colorado School of Mines, with the project title “Solar-augmented direct air capture of methane using methanotrophic bacteria”.

A fellow of Scialog: Negative Emissions Science, Chong is grateful for the funding support from the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation and the Research Corporation for Science Advancement.

The departmental news report can be found here.

We need postdocs

The recent influx of research grants supporting the next 5 years enables the Liu lab to host additional postdoctoral researchers in the Liu group. The candidates are expected to have expertise in either of the two areas: (1) inorganic materials synthesis and electrochemical catalysis; (2) bio-based materials and microbiology.

Please contact Chong for more information:

Some funding updates

2020 is not a bad year for the Liu Group so far, as the Liu Group has been awarded a few grants from external funding agencies:

  1. As we reported earlier, the Liu Group is part of the NSF CCI Phase I: Center for Integrated Catalysis, a multi-group center developing spatially separated and temporally switchable catalysts.
  2. The Liu Group is awarded by the NSF Division of Chemistry with a 3-year standard grant: CAS: Ambient Electrochemical Activation of Light Alkanes with Early Transition Metal-Oxo Species.
  3. The Liu Group is awarded by the NSF Division of Chemistry with a 2-year EAGER grant: EAGER: Nanostructure-enabled solution catalysis with concentration gradients.
  4. The Liu Group forges an industrial sponsorship with BASF California Research Alliance (CARA).
  5. Last but not least, the Liu Group receives the NIH NIGMS R35 Maximizing Investigators’ Research Award (MIRA), titled as “Spatiotemporal control of concentration gradients with electrochemistry in extracellular space”. This is a 5-year project about our foray into the interface between electrochemistry and microbiology!

We are grateful for all the research support! Check out our exciting research progresses in the years to come!

NSF CCI: Center for Integrated Catalysis!

We are proud to be part of the newly sponsored CCI Phase I: NSF Center for Integrated Catalysis (CIC)! This center is led by our colleague Prof. Paula Diaconescu of UCLA and joined with Prof. Jeffery Byers and Prof. Dunwei Wang of Boston College, Prof. Loi Do of the University of Houston, and Prof. Alexander Miller of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Guess what we can do when you put organometallic chemistry and material sciences together.

The NSF Center for Integrated Catalysis is supported by the Centers for Chemical Innovation (CCI) program of the NSF Division of Chemistry.  With a 3-year 1.8 M support, we aim to develop the fundamental chemistry needed to prepare synthetic plastics from pools of abundant feedstocks in a single reactor using spatially separated and temporally switchable catalysts. Looking forward to the exciting synergy that we have for chemical catalysis!

The press release at UCLA Chemistry & Biochemistry is here.

A website for our center is incoming~ Stay tuned.

Paper is accepted by Nature Catalysis

Roselyn‘s project on electricity-driven microbial CO2 fixation has been accepted by Nature Catalysis. This work is a collaboration with Prof. Ellen Sletten’s group in our department. Congratulations to Roselyn and all co-authors!

On a side note, Roselyn was selected in the Naval Research Enterprise Intern Program (NREIP), sponsored by the Office of Naval Research (ONR). This summer she will spend ten weeks at Naval Research Laboratory at Washington, DC. Enjoy the summer on the east coast. 🙂

Bionic leaf selected as one of the “Top 10 Emerging Technologies of 2017”

The concept of coupling microbes with inorganic catalysts for artificial photosynthesis is recognized as one of the “Top 10 Emerging Technologies of 2017“. This was announced by the World Economic Forum recently in collaboration with Scientific American. Chong’s work published in Science, 2016 is highlighted in the detailed report from Scientific American. 

Now we fix nitrogen!

The “bionic leaf” device that Chong was developing in Prof. Dan Nocera’s lab at Harvard extends the range of molecules that it can handle. Beyond the efficient CO2-fixing device that was reported last year in Science, now we applied a diazotrophic bacterium to fix N2 and demonstrated the use of bio-fertilizer generated by electricity. This work is published online in PNAS this week, of which Chong and Kelsey are co-first authors.