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Nicholas Brunelli

  • Assistant Professor, Chemical & Biomolecular Eng
  • 253 CBEC
    151 W. Woodruff Ave.
    Columbus, OH 43210
  • 614-688-3400



  • B.S., The Ohio State University, 2004
  • Ph.D., California Institute of Technology, 2010


Key Honors and Distinctions

  • NSF CAREER Award, 2017
  • Student Lagnajit Pattanaik, Goldwater Scholar, 2015
  • NSF Graduate Research Fellowship (2004-2007)
  • Outstanding Senior Chemical Engineering Alumni Award (2004)
  • Dow Outstanding Junior Award in Chemical Engineering (2003)
  • Donald F. Othmer Sophomore Award in Chemical Engineering (2002)
  • National Merit Finalist (2000)


RESEARCH AREAS - Brunelli Catalytic Materials Design Group
  • Heterogeneous and Immobilized Catalysis and Catalytic Materials; Sustainability, Energy, Environment.
  • Graduate student research opportunities are currently available.

Our research program focuses on the design, synthesis, spectroscopic interrogation, and reaction testing of novel catalytic materials. We bring a broad background of organic and inorganic synthesis techniques to investigate fundamental aspects of catalytic materials with the goal of increasing catalytic selectivity and activity. A major focus of our work is creating uniform catalytic sites. For heterogeneous catalytic materials, typical synthetic methods produce a distribution of catalytic sites, making identification of the highly active and selective species difficult. Homogeneous catalysis overcomes this through making well-defined small molecule catalysts through organic synthesis techniques. Our approach utilizes organic synthesis techniques to generate the highly organized catalytic active sites. Through spectroscopie interrogation and catalytic testing, we seek to identify highly selective and active structures. Iterative design, synthesis and testing enables our work to advance fundamental understanding of catalytic material design. 


  • 20040601-20070601

    National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellow.

  • 20000901-20040601

    National Merit Finalist.

  • 20030501

    Dow Outstanding Junior Award in Chemical Engineering.

  • NSF CAREER Award.


  • "Use of Dual Atmospheric Microdischarges for Manipulating the Growth of Silicon Nanoparticles." 2006, Presented at AVS 53rd International Symposium and Exhibit,

Papers in Proceedings


  • Moschetta, E.G.; Brunelli, N.A.; Collier, V.E.; Lindy, G.I. et al. "The effects of alkyl linker length and pore size on the bifunctional catalytic activity of amine-functionalized silica materials for C-C bond formation." (1 2014).