The Mork Family Department of Chemical Engineering and Materials Science will see a significant boost in research and teaching capacity spanning computational quantum materials, electron microscopy, sustainable energy and more, with the addition of four new faculty members this year.
Joining the department are Assistant Professor Yu-Tsun Shao, Choong Hoon Cho Chair, Professor of Chemical and Materials Science Jay H. Lee, Assistant Professor Zhenglu Li, and Shelly and Ofer Nemirovsky Provost’s Chair and Professor of Chemical Engineering and Materials Science and Biomedical Engineering Charles Zukoski.
Shao is an expert in harnessing powerful electron microscopy techniques to understand materials at an atomic level. He focuses on the interplay between spin, lattice, polarization, and charge with applications in the development of quantum materials.
“I develop new imaging modes to look at atoms in materials in a different way. I try to understand how the atoms arrange and their functionalities and how that correlates with the material’s properties,” Shao said. “When you develop a new imaging mode, it’s like you putting on a new pair of glasses. You can see the hidden things that nobody else can see.”
Shao received his Ph.D. in materials science and engineering at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign in 2018. He joins USC Viterbi after working as a postdoctoral researcher in Professor David Muller’s group at Cornell University.
Shao has received numerous professional recognitions, including the Robert P. Apkarian Postdoctoral Scholar Award in 2021, the Presidential Student Award of the Microscopy Society of America in 2016, and the Ludo Frevel Crystallography Scholarship Award of the International Centre for Diffraction Data in 2016.
Jay H. Lee
Lee comes to USC Viterbi after more than a decade at the Korea Advanced Institute of Science & Technology (KAIST), where he served as Associate Vice President of the International Office and Department Chair of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering. An expert in the design and operation of energy and chemical systems with emphasis on sustainability, Lee takes on the role of Choong Hoon Cho Chair in the Mork Department.
Lee’s research harnesses mathematical modeling, optimization, and AI methods to create coherent multi-layer methodologies and algorithms for a range of applications in energy transition and sustainability. Some of Lee’s group’s current projects include using machine learning to estimate a battery system’s state of health, and the early-stage evaluation of CO2 capture and conversion technologies.
“It is special to come back to Southern California where I did my Ph.D. study,” Lee said. “Mork is a highly interdisciplinary department encompassing several specialty fields including chemical engineering, materials science, and petroleum engineering.”
“I think truly innovative things can be done at the boundaries of traditional disciplines. I plan to contribute to building strength in the growing topic of sustainable energy, especially carbon management and hydrogen supply chain,” Lee said.
Prior to his time at KAIST, Lee has also been a faculty member of Auburn University, Purdue University and Georgia Institute of Technology. Lee is a Fellow of the IEEE, AIChE and the International Federation of Automatic Control (IFAC).
Li develops and uses advanced theories and computational approaches to study excitations in quantum materials. Li is particularly interested in electron-phonon coupling in materials with strong electron correlations and the non-equilibrium dynamics and coherence of excitons and phonons. His group’s research is carried out using intensive high-performance computing resources.
“Quantum materials host exotic electronic, optical, magnetic, and superconducting properties,” Li said. “The comprehensive theoretical understanding of these phenomena is critical to predict new materials’ properties and to utilize quantum materials for future devices and sensors.”
Li said he was excited by the opportunities for collaboration with colleagues at USC Viterbi.
“In the Mork Family Department, I will carry out studies on the role of phonons in correlated superconductors and nonequilibrium excitations. This research will provide new understanding in the behaviors of correlated electrons and might provide insights into unconventional superconductivity,” Li said.
Li received his Ph.D. in physics from the University of California at Berkeley in 2019, advised by Professor Steven G. Louie. Prior to joining USC Viterbi, he was a postdoctoral fellow at the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory and the University of California at Berkeley. In 2021 he received the American Physical Society Nicholas Metropolis Award for Outstanding Doctoral Thesis Work in Computational Physics.
Charles F. Zukoski
Zukoski is an internationally renowned scholar in chemical engineering who is a member of the National Academy of Engineering and was named one of the Hundred Chemical Engineers of the Modern Era by the American Institute of Chemical Engineers.
He served as USC Provost and Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs from 2019 – 2022. As the university’s second-ranking administrator, he oversaw the Dornsife College of Letters, Arts and Sciences, the Keck School of Medicine and 21 other professional schools and academic units, in addition to USC’s museums, and the divisions of student affairs, libraries, research, student religious life, and enrollment services.
Prior to joining USC, Zukoski served as provost and executive vice president for academic affairs at the University at Buffalo from 2012-2019. Before this, he was at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, where he served as vice chancellor for research and Elio Eliakim Tarika Chair of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering.
Zukoski holds a bachelor’s degree in physics from Reed College and a Ph.D. in chemical engineering from Princeton University.
Published on April 25th, 2023
Last updated on April 25th, 2023