PITTSBURGH (February 9, 2016) … Expanding its strengths in energy and sustainability research, the Department of Chemical and Petroleum Engineering at the University of Pittsburgh’s Swanson School of Engineering has hired James R. McKone, PhD as assistant professor. Dr. McKone, currently a postdoctoral research associate at Cornell University, will join Pitt in August 2016.“As an award-winning young researcher, James brings a breadth of experience from some of the leading energy and sustainability research labs, including those at Cornell and Caltech,” noted Steven R. Little, PhD, department chair and professor. “His expertise will be a perfect fit for Pitt’s Center for Energy and the Mascaro Center for Sustainable Innovation, as well as our own department’s research in the field.”“From my first visit to campus the summer of 2015, I was impressed by the sense of collaboration and enthusiasm exuded by Pitt's Department of Chemical and Petroleum Engineering," Dr. McKone said. "I am excited to be part of a growing team of researchers at Pitt and in the larger Pittsburgh community working to advance the field of energy technology.”Dr. McKone earned a bachelor’s degree in chemistry (summa cum laude) and music from Saint Olaf College, Northfield, Minn., and a PhD in chemistry from the California Institute of Technology (Caltech), where he was a Department of Energy (DOE) Office of Science Graduate Research Fellow under the direction of Nathan S. Lewis and Harry B. Gray. During his post-doc at Cornell, he mentored under Héctor D. Abruña and Francis J. DiSalvo. He is the recipient of a DOE EERE Postdoctoral Research Award, Caltech’s Milton and Francis Clauser Prize for the “most exemplary PhD thesis” (across all fields and departments at Caltech), the Demetriades-Tsafka-Kokkalis Prize in Renewable Energy (for best thesis, publication, or discovery in renewable energy) and the Everhart Lecture Award for dynamic speaking skills and research impact. In addition to several publications and presentations, Dr. McKone has pursued multiple patents in energy storage technologies. About the Department of Chemical and Petroleum EngineeringThe Department of Chemical and Petroleum Engineering serves undergraduate and graduate engineering students, the University and our industry, through education, research, and participation in professional organizations and regional/national initiatives. Our commitment to the future of the chemical process industry drives the development of educational and research programs. The Department has a tradition of excellence in education and research, evidenced by recent national awards including numerous NSF CAREER Awards, a Beckman Young Investigator Award, an NIH Director's New Innovator Award, and the DOE Hydrogen Program R&D Award, among others. Active areas of research in the Department include Biological and Biomedical Systems; Energy and Sustainability; and Materials Modeling and Design. The faculty has a record of success in obtaining research funding such that the Department ranks within the top 25 U.S. chemical engineering departments for federal R&D spending in recent years with annual research expenditures exceeding $7 million. The vibrant research culture within the Department includes active collaboration with the adjacent University of Pittsburgh Medical Center, the Center for Simulation and Modeling, the McGowan Institute for Regenerative Medicine, the Mascaro Center for Sustainable Innovation, the Petersen Institute of NanoScience and Engineering and the U.S. DOE-affiliated Institute for Advanced Energy Solutions.
Contact: Paul Kovach