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Li-Chiang Lin named first holder of Umit S. Ozkan Professorship

A long-term goal of many young professors is to hold a named professorship. The prestige is surpassed only by the benefits: more funds to advance one's research. For Assistant Professor Li-Chiang Lin, this dream has now become a reality—and very early in his career. Dr. Lin, who joined CBE in Fall 2016, has been named the first holder of the newly-minted Umit S. Ozkan Professorship created in honor of Dr. Ozkan by alumnus William G. Lowrie ('66).

"I cannot be more pleased that the inaugural holder of this professorship is Li-Chiang Lin," Professor Ozkan said in announcing the appointment. "I am certain that the professorship will help propel his research to international recognition, which he is already beginning to receive."

About Li-Chiang Lin

Professor Lin obtained his Ph.D. from the University of California-Berkeley in 2014 and first published in 2012 with papers in Nature Materials and Nature Chemistry. Lin has published 31 papers since joining the department approximately three years ago, bringing his total to over 65 articles, many of them in high-impact journals.

Recently, via international collaboration, Lin and collaborators found a very interesting physical phenomena. The subsequent research paper, "Hexagonal superalignment of nano-objects with tunable separation in a dilute and spacer-free solution" was accepted for publication in Physical Review Letters, a very prestigious journal.

Other recent publications have appeared in Journal of the American Chemical Society, Chemistry of Materials and cover features in Chemical Communications, Journal of Physical Chemistry C, and more.

Dr. Lin performs computational studies using molecular simulations and quantum chemical calculations to identify novel, more energy-efficient and cost-effective materials with atomic-level understandings for energy- and environment-related applications. He is excited because the professorship will help him explore more fundamental development of molecular simulations.

“I will be able to support more students who can help advance the development of accurate intermolecular and intramolecular potentials to ensure reliable discoveries made by molecular simulations,” he said. “This work represents a critical direction toward computational material discoveries." Molecular simulations require a set of mathematical functions to describe molecular interactions, and developing systematic and robust methodologies to facilitate the parameterization of these functions if of utmost importance. 

Dr. Lin recently won the triennial award “Excellence in Publications by a Young Member of the Society” by the International Adsorption Society (IAS) for his contribution to the area of adsorption. In receiving the honor, Professor Lin gave an invited presentation at the 13th Triennial International Conference on the Fundamentals of Adsorption of the IAS in Australia this past May.

History of the Ozkan Professorship

Professors Li-Chiang Lin and Umit S. OzkanProfessors Li-Chiang Lin and Umit S. OzkanThe Ozkan Professorship created by William G. Lowrie is the second professorship created by Mr. Lowrie.  After seeing the impressive outcomes resulting from the first professorship he established in 2008—the H.C. “Slip” Slider Professorship in Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering, which honors Lowrie’s former professor and mentor, Slip Slider—Mr. Lowrie decided to create a second one to increase the impact even further.  

Like the Ozkan Professorship, the Slider Professorship supports an untenured junior faculty—highly uncommon in higher education. It has yielded outstanding results. To date, the three faculty members who have received the honor (Jessica WinterLisa Hall, and current holder Nicholas Brunelli) have each found invaluable help in achieving successes such as winning grant funding, receiving national honors such as the NSF CAREER award (Hall and Brunelli) and even starting a company (Winter).

The creation of the Ozkan Professorship was announced during the chairship of Andre Palmer, who was beyond pleased at the development.

“Creating an endowed chair or professorship is one of the most significant investments a contributor can make to their alma mater, because this type of support is crucial for recruiting and retaining the highest-quality faculty and propelling research,” then-Department Chairman Andre Palmer said.

“With strong faculty we can attract the brightest students, who benefit by learning from some of the most talented scholars in the world and get hands-on work experiences in the lab. One professor or chair can touch the lives of hundreds of students, so having the right faculty in place is our best point of entry for helping students achieve maximum success,” Palmer said.