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Postdoctoral Researcher Selected for ACS Future Investigator Spotlight

UD launches Center for Clean Hydrogen to accelerate sustainable energy technology development

Salman Khan, second year postdoctoral scholar with the Vlachos Research Group, invited to present at the ENFL Future Investigator Spotlight symposium at the Fall 2023 national American Chemical Society conference.  


April 4, 2023

University of Delaware postdoctoral researcher, Salman Khan, is already preparing for the Fall 2023 national meeting of the American Chemical Society (ACS). That is because he has been invited as a symposium presenter for the Energy and Fuels Division’s (ENFL) Future Investigator Spotlight. Khan will present his research on modeling supported sub-nanometer metal cluster catalysts for propane dehydrogenation using machine learning and multiscale modeling during the national convention in San Francisco, CA from August 13-17, 2023.

The ENFL Future Investigator Spotlight symposium was launched to recognize and support the outstanding contributions of young division members. Twice a year, ACS hosts one of the largest scientific conferences in the world, attracting scientists and researchers from around the globe to share their latest research findings and exchange ideas. At ACS Fall 2023 – Harnessing the Power of Data, the ENFL Future Investigator Spotlight symposium will provide a platform for beginning researchers like Khan to showcase their work and make connections with others in their field.

Khan is currently a second-year postdoctoral researcher at the University of Delaware. His advisor, Dion Vlachos, Unidel Dan Rich Chair in Energy Professor of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering, nominated him to present at the symposium. Khan also submitted an abstract of his research to the ENFL Programming Committee. The combination resulted in an invitation to present his research to the scientific community at the highly acclaimed conference.

Presenters selected for the ENFL Future Investigator Spotlight are pursuing careers in academia, and Khan is no exception. In contrast to industry positions, Khan explains that a faculty-focused career path allows him to practice fundamental research and provides him independence in selecting research areas of personal interest. The opportunity to teach and inspire future generations also motivates his career aims. Khan is dedicated to sharing his knowledge and expertise with others. He is interested in exploring non-conventional teaching methods, such as using animation to make complex topics more understandable, and overall hopes to make a positive impact as both a researcher and an educator.

Khan earned his undergraduate degree from the Indian Institute of Technology, Kanpur before attending University of California, Santa Barbara where he obtained a Ph.D. in chemical engineering. Now, with the Vlachos Research Group at the University of Delaware, he continues his research on catalysts and is exploring new avenues for innovation.

Khan’s selection to present his research at the ENFL Future Investigator Spotlight symposium exemplifies his dedication to becoming a leader in computational catalysis and is a testament to the quality and importance of his research. It also highlights the potential for early-career researchers like Khan to make significant contributions to the field of chemical engineering. By using machine learning to characterize catalysts that are difficult to study experimentally, Khan’s work has the potential to optimize reactions, improve industrial processes and efficiency, and pave the way for a more sustainable future.