Pitt | Swanson Engineering
Mpourmpakis, Giannis (Bourmpakis, Ioannis)
Chem/Petroleum Engineering
Mpourmpakis, Giannis
Bicentennial Alumni Faculty Fellow
Assistant Professor
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July, 2006: Ph.D. in Theoretical and Computational Chemistry
Chemistry Department, University of Crete, Greece.

December, 2003: M.S. in Applied Molecular Spectroscopy
Chemistry Department, University of Crete, Greece.

December, 2001: B.S. in Chemistry
Chemistry Department, University of Crete, Greece.

Prior Research Positions

August, 2011 – July 2013: Senior Researcher
Catalysis Center for Energy Innovation (CCEI), Energy Frontier Research Center, University of Delaware, USA
co-Principal Investigator on Project: Biomass Conversion to Fuels and Chemicals

April, 2008 – April 2011: Post Doctoral “Marie-Curie” Research Fellow
Center for Catalytic Science and Technology (CCST), Chemical Engineering Department, University of Delaware, USA
Institute of Electronic Structure and Laser, Foundation for Research and Technology Hellas, Greece

September 2006 – April 2008: Post-Doctoral Researcher
Chemical Engineering Department, University of Delaware, USA

Our research expertise is interdisciplinary, blending concepts and techniques from Chemistry, Physics, Materials Science and Chemical Engineering. We use theory and computation to investigate the physicochemical properties of nanomaterials with potential applications in diverse nanotechnological areas, ranging from energy generation and storage, to materials design and catalysis.

Nanoparticle Growth


We investigate the colloidal nanoparticle growth in the presence of solvents and capping agents. We provide insights into the nanoparticle growth mechanisms and propose design guidelines to control nanoparticle characteristics (size, shape, dispersity) during synthesis.


We elucidate the bonding characteristics of adsorbates on nanoparticles and develop relationships predicting their binding energy versus the nanoparticle structural characteristics (size, shape, metal composition). Additionally, we investigate the catalytic mechanisms on both metals and metal oxide supports by taking into account complex physical phenomena (support effects and reconstruction) occurring on the catalyst. Finally, we propose novel nanocatalysts with optimal catalytic activity under experimental conditions. 

Metal-Oxide Chemistry


We investigate the dehydration of simple alcohols on various metal-oxides in the presence of water. We develop structure-activity relationships as a function of the metal-oxide acidity and the alcohols properties, aiming to predict the dehydration behavior of polyols on different oxides.






  • March 2017: National Science Foundation, CAREER Award 
  • May 2016: American Chemical Society (Petroleum Research Funds), Doctoral New Investigator 
  • June 2010: Participated in the 60th Nobel Laureates Meeting in Lindau-Germany, as a distinguished young researcher (An interdisciplinary meeting which brought together 500 young researchers who passed a multi-stage international selection procedure from around the globe, with Nobel Laureates from the fields of physiology, medicine, physics and chemistry).


  • Molecular modifiers reveal a mechanism of pathological crystal growth inhibition
    Chung J., Granja I., Taylor M., Mpourmpakis G., Asplin J., Rimer J.
    Nature 536, 446–450 (2016)
    Featured in US News & World Report, MedicalResearch.com, Houston Chronicle, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, EurekAlert, Daily Mail, Science Daily, Health Day, etc.
  • From Biomass-Derived Furans to Aromatics with Ethanol over Zeolite
    Teixeira I.F., Lo B.T.W., Kostetskyy P., Stamatakis M., Ye L., Tang C.C., Mpourmpakis G., Tsang E.C.S.
    Angewandte Chemie Int. Ed. 55 (42), 13061–13066 (2016), journal cover of issue 42
  • Description and Role of Bimetallic Pre-nucleation Species in the Formation of Small Nanoparticle Alloys
    Marbella L.E., Chevrier D.M., Tancini P.D., Shobayo O., Smith A.M., Johnston K.A., Andolina C.M., Zhang P., Mpourmpakis G., Millstone J.E.
    J. Amer. Chem. Soc. 137, 15852–15858 (2015)
  • Catalyst Design Based on Morphology- and Environment-Dependent Adsorption on Metal Nanoparticles
    Taylor M.G., Austin N., Gounaris C., Mpourmpakis G.
    ACS Catal. 5, 6296–6301 (2015)
  • Au13: CO Adsorbs, Nanoparticle Responds.
    Austin N., Johnson J.K. and Mpourmpakis G.
    J. Phys. Chem. C119, 18196–18202 (2015), journal cover of issue 32 
  • Catalysis at the Sub-Nanoscale: Complex CO Oxidation Chemistry on a Few Au Atoms
    Nikbin N., Austin N., Vlachos D.G., Stamatakis M., Mpourmpakis G.
    Catal. Sci.& Technol. 5, 134–141 (2015), journal cover of issue 1
    Featured in: https://ichemepresident.wordpress.com/2014/12/23/a-precious-catalyst-day-210/#more-5407
  • Structure-Activity Relationships on Metal-Oxides: Alcohol Dehydration
    Kostestkyy P., Yu J., Gorte R.J. and Mpourmpakis G.
    Catal. Sci.& Technol. 4, 3861–3869 (2014) journal cover of issue 11
  • 2016 ACS National Meeting, “Adsorption on Metal Nanoparticles: Effects from Size, Shape and Chemical Environment" Advances in Computational Catalysis Symposium, Philadelphia, PA, USA, August 21-25, 2016.
  • Lubrizol Wickliffe OH, USA, January 22, 2015
    “In-Silico Catalyst Design”
  • Pittsburgh Cleveland Catalysis Society meeting, Pittsburgh PA, USA June 2, 2014 “Catalytic Complexity in Simple Reactions: Insights from First Principles Calculations”
  • Department of Materials Science and Engineering, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor MI, USA, April 18, 2014 “Understanding the Complexity in Catalyst Design through First Principles Calculations”.