News & Highlights

Publication in Nature Communications

Mechanistic Study of Zeolite Crystallization Published in Nat. Commun.

In this manuscript we use scanning probe microscopy to monitor zeolite LTA crystallization in situ with a spatiotemporal resolution that captures dynamic processes in real time. We report a distinctive pathway involving the formation of gel-like islands from supersaturated solutions comprised of (alumino)silicate molecules. Three-dimensional assembly and evolution of these islands constitutes a unique mode of growth that differs from classical theories. Time-resolved imaging also reveals that growth can occur by (nearly) oriented attachment. At later stages of crystallization, a progressive transition to lower supersaturation shifts growth to a layered mechanism involving two-dimensional nucleation and spreading of layers.

The blog entitled “Peering into the Black Box of Zeolite Crystallization” was posted on the Nature Research Chemistry Community: [Blog Posting]

2018 Norman Hackerman Award

Jeff received the 2018 Norman Hackerman Award in Chemical Research from the Welch Foundation. The description for the award is the following along with pictures form the award ceremony that was held at the University of Houston Hilton Hotel:

“Dr. Rimer’s lab has made two significant materials science research discoveries in the past decade. The discovery of a molecule that inhibits calcium oxalate crystallization, the principal component of kidney stones, may lead to a promising therapeutic that has the potential to replace drugs currently used to treat this widespread disease. The second notable discovery is inspiring new methods to optimize the synthesis of zeolites, which are important as catalysts in petrochemical industries.”

  • Welch Foundation News Release [Link]
  • Houston Business Journal [Link]; PR Newswire [Link]
  • University of Houston [Link]; EurekAlert [Link]
  • Featured in newspapers: Houston Chronicle, New York Times, etc.

Artwork selected for cover of Chem. Mater.

Our article was featured on the cover of the April 24, 2018 issue of Chemistry of Materials. This work was a collaborative effort between the University of Houston, SABIC (Chinta), and the University of New Mexico (Datye).

To read more about this article, visit the following website: Link

About the Cover: The driving forces governing the morphology of metal oxide particles exposing polar facets via the decomposition of suitable precursors in air, molten salts, ionic liquids, or other media are not fully understood. In this article, the authors investigate the thermal decomposition of MgO precursors in molten salts to assess the influence of precursor decomposition pathways, including the physical state of the reaction intermediates and the possibility of dissolution−recrystallization processes in the formation of octahedral MgO particles. It is shown that the presence of residual water and ions impact MgO(111) crystallization in ways that still remain elusive but are not necessarily governed by dsorption−stabilization processes. The cover illustrates that the formation of polar MgO(111) crystals is facilitated in molten salt media when MgO is generated via a liquid-to-solid reaction with intermediates in the molten state.

Recent News

News & Views Article
Prof. Rimer published a News & Views article in Nature Catalysis on zeolite catalyst design. This work summarizes the recent paper by Corma and co-workers describing the preparation of reaction-adapted zeolites.

Poster Award
Wenchuan was the recipient of a poster award at the 26th AACGE Western Section Conference on Crystal Growth & Epitaxy at Fallen Leaf Lake, CA. He presented his work on hematin crystallization, in collaboration with Prof. Peter Vekilov. Congrats Wenchuan!

Paper Accepted in Angew. Chem.
Rui’s paper on ultrasmall zeolite L crystallization was accepted for publication in Angewandte Chemie International Edition. This article is a collaborative study with Prof. Javier Garcia Martinez (U. Alicante). Congrats to all!

Prof. Rimer is Promoted
Effective September 1, 2018, Jeff will be promoted to the rank of Full Professor.

Exxon Safety Workshop
Twelve graduate students and professors from the University of Houston attended the Partners in Academic Laboratory Safety (PALS) workshop hosted by ExxonMobil in Houston. Thanks to our group members who participated. Here is a link to the news article: [Link]

Review Published
Our invited review entitled “Crystal Engineering for Catalysis” was published in the 9th issue of Annual Review of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering. Here is a link to the article: [Link]

Paper Accepted in Special Issue
Prof. Rimer was selected by the journal Industrial Engineering and Chemistry Research for the 2018 Class of Influential Researchers. His perspective article written with Prof. Javier Garcia Martinez (U. Alicante) and Dr. Karena Chapman (ARL) was accepted for publication.

SWCS Poster Awards
During the 2018 Southwest Catalysis Society Symposium at Rice University we had two top poster winners from our group: Yufeng Shen and Wei Qin. Thanks to everybody for participating, and a special congratulations to Yufeng and Wei!

Congratulations to Prof. Javier Garcia-Martinez
During the 2018 ACS Spring Meeting in New Orleans, Prof. Garcia-Martinez was honored with the Kathryn C. Hach Award for Entrepreneurial Success (Link). The award also came with a special session in honor of Javier, which Prof. Rimer and others participated. The award to Prof. Garcia-Martinez was presented for “his visionary leadership creating a successful, dynamic company bringing mesostructured zeolites to the refining industry.” Javier was one of the founders of Rive Technology, which specializes in the synthesis of hierarchical (mesoporous) zeolite catalysts for FCC and other commercial applications. The picture on the right was taken during the ACS award ceremony where Javier (Univ. Alicante) is joined by two of our other collaborators from LCS-Caen: Jean-Pierre Gilson and Valentin Valtchev. Congratulations Javier!

Student Selected for Prestigious Summer Research Program
Esther Akinwande was selected to participate in the MD Anderson CPRIT CURE Summer Program. Esther has been working in our group on the development of new therapies for calcium oxalate kidney stones. For more details of this program, visit the website at the Texas Medical Center (Link).

Paper Accepted in Nature Communications
Manjesh and Madhuresh’s paper on in situ characterization of zeolite LTA surface growth was accepted for publication in Nature Communications. Congrats!

Prof. Rimer Interviewed by Local Radio Station
Jeff paid a visit to Houston Public Media (News 88.7) to be interviewed by Craig Cohen on Houston Matters. They discussed recent findings related to kidney stones and new breakthroughs in drug design. A recording of the interview can be found on the radio website (link to recording).

Artwork Selected for Cover
Artwork related to Mariano’s recent paper on MgO (111) stabilization was selected for the front cover of Chemistry of Materials. The cover will appear on the April 24, 2018 issue.

2018 Norman Hackerman Award
Jeff is receiving the 2018 Norman Hackerman Award in Chemical Research from the Welch Foundation. The reception in his honor was held on the University of Houston campus on February 14th.

Paper Accepted in Chem. Mater.
Mariano’s paper on MgO (111) facet stabilization was accepted for publication in Chemistry Materials. This work is a collaboration with Siva Chinta (SABIC). We also worked with Prof. Abhaya Datye and Dr. Hien Pham (Univ. New Mexico). Congrats to all!

Welcome New Students
Three new students have joined the group: Yu Liang (Chemistry) is working on zeolite synthesis and is co-advised by Prof. Allan Jacobson; Xiaohui Zhao is working on metal oxide catalysis and is co-advised by Prof. Praveen Bollini; and Deependra Parmar is working on zeolite catalysis and is co-advised by Prof. Lars Grabow. Welcome to the group!

Visiting Researchers from Ireland
Prof. Nicola Irwin and Chara Olympiou from the College of Pharmacy at Queens University Belfast are visiting our lab for two months to study kidney stone formation and methods of prevention. Chara is working with Doyoung and Bryan in our lab.

PhD Dissertation Defense
Rui successfully defended his PhD dissertation. Congratulations Dr. Li!

AIChE CRE Poster Award
Rui was the recipient of the 2017 Catalysis and Reaction Engineering (CRE) Division Poster Award at the AIChE Meeting in Minneapolis. Congrats Rui!

Dissertation Award
Rui is the recipient of the Fall 2017 UH Cullen College of Engineering Best PhD Dissertation Award. Congrats Rui!

Paper Accepted in Mol. Syst. Des. Eng.
Aseem and Rui’s paper on ZSM-5 synthesis by mixed structure-directing agents was accepted for publication in Molecular Systems Design & Engineering. This work was performed in collaboration with Prof. Jeremy Palmer. Congrats all!

Paper Accepted in ChemPhysChem
Yufeng’s paper on ZSM-11 synthesis was accepted for publication in ChemPhysChem. Congrats Yufeng, Thuy, and Rui!

Poster Award
Rosendo received the Audience’s Favorite Poster Award at the 2017 Undergraduate Research Day. He presented his SURF project focused on tailoring ZSM-11 crystallization. Congrats Rosendo!

Paper Accepted in Chem. Mater.
Rui’s paper on peptoid inhibitors of zeolite crystallization was accepted for publication in Chemistry of Materials. This work was performed in collaboration with Prof. Galia Maayan at the Technion-Israel Institute of Technology. Congrats Rui!

Paper Accepted in Phys. Rev. Lett.
Katy’s paper on kinetic roughening was accepted for publication in Physical Review Letters. This work was performed in collaboration with Prof. Peter Vekilov. Congrats Katy!

Poster Award
Bryan received a poster award from the 2017 Organization for Chemical Engineering Graduate Student (OChEGS) Symposium. He presented on his work examining inhibitors of calcium oxalate crystallization. Congrats Bryan!

Paper Accepted in Angewandte Chemie
Matt’s paper on high-silica FAU synthesis was accepted for publication in Angew. Chem. Int. Ed.. Additional authors from our group include Ming-Feng and Marlon. This work was a collaboration with the University of Tokyo (Profs. Chaikittisilp and Okubo) and Waseda University (Prof. Shimojima). Our artwork was also selected for the back cover of the upcoming issue. Congrats to all!

AIChE Travel Award
Yufeng received a Catalysis and Reaction Engineering (CRE) Travel Award to attend the AIChE Annual Meeting in Minneapolis, MN. Congrats Yufeng!

Vice Chair of GRC
Prof. Rimer was selected to be the vice chair for the 2019 Gordon Research Conference on Nanoporous Materials and Their Applications. He will then serve as chair during the 2021 meeting.

Summer NSF REU
We hosted Josiah Hanson from Case Western Reserve University as part of the Cullen College of Engineering summer NSF REU program. Josiah presented his poster on zeolite synthesis at the REU research symposium.

Prof. Rimer Receives Award from AIChE
Prof. Rimer is the recipient of the 2017 FRI/John G. Kunesh Award from the AIChE Separations Division. This award recognizes outstanding contributions to the academic, scientific, technological, industrial, or service areas involving separations technologies. Prof. Rimer will receive the award at the annual meeting in Minneapolis and will deliver a plenary talk entitled “Search of New Paradigms for Crystal Engineering: Old Tricks, Novel Discoveries, and Future Challenges.”

  • Story written by the Cullen College of Engineering [Link]

Paper Accepted in Chem. Eng. J.
Marlon’s paper in collaboration with Prof. Harold was accepted for publication in Chemical Engineering Journal. Congrats to all!

Paper Accepted in Chem. Eur. J.
Katy’s paper on antimalarial drug activity was accepted for publication in Chemistry – A European Journal, and artwork was selected for a frontispiece. This work was performed in collaboration with Prof. Peter Vekilov. Congrats Katy!

Travel Award
Bryan was awarded a Cullen Fellowship Travel Grant to attend the GRC on Crystal Growth & Assembly in Biddeford, ME. Congrats Bryan!

Elected to AACG Executive Committee
Prof. Rimer was elected as an executive committee member for the American Association for Crystal Growth (AACG). He will serve from 2017 – 2019.

Paper Accepted in Cryst. Growth Des.
Jihae’s paper on solute/modifier speciation in calcium oxalate crystallization was accepted by Crystal Growth & Design. Congrats Jihae and Ricardo!

Netherlands Catalysis Award
Prof. Rimer was the inaugural recipient of the Netherlands Center for Multiscale Catalytic Energy Conversion (MCEC) Lectureship Award. The award was presented by Prof. Bert Weckhuysen at Utrecht University. Prof. Rimer was invited to give presentations at all of the MCEC sites, including the University of Twente and Eindhoven University of Technology.

  • Interview of Prof. Rimer by MCEC [Link]

Paper Accepted in PNAS
Katy’s paper on the identification of antimalarial drug action on hematin crystallization was accepted for publication in PNAS. This work is a collaboration with Prof. Peter Vekilov. Congrats All!

  • Cullen College news article [Link]

SWCS Poster Award
Madhuresh was a recipient of the Best Poster Award from the 2017 Southwest Catalysis Society Spring Symposium. Congrats Madhuresh!

Dissertation Award
Katy is the recipient of the Spring 2017 UH Cullen College of Engineering Best PhD Dissertation Award. Congrats Katy!

MRS Poster Award
Yunwen received first place in the poster award competition at the 2017 UH Materials Research Society Student Chapter Symposium. Congrats Yunwen! For more information read the UH News Article [Link]

PhD Dissertation Defenses
Katy and Jihae both successfully defended their PhDs. Congratulations to the two new doctors to graduate from the group. Congrats Katy and Jihae!

Review Article Accepted
Bryan’s invited review article was accepted for publication in Current Opinion in Nephrology and Hypertension. This article will appear in the special issue on Mineral Metabolism. Congrats Bryan!

NACS Travel Award
Wei was one of the recipients of the 2017 Kokes Award to attend the 25th North American Catalysis Society meeting in Denver, CO. Congratulations Wei!

  • News article written by the Cullen College of Engineering: [Link]

Chemistry Joint Appointment
Prof. Rimer received joint appointment in the Department of Chemistry. [Link]

RSC Journal Advisory Board
Prof. Rimer was invited to join the Advisory Board for Molecular Systems Design & Engineering published by RSC. For more information about the journal, visit the website: [Link]

Paper Accepted in ChemCatChem
Ming-Feng and Yunwen’s paper on Ag-ZSM-5 dehydroaromatization of ethylene has been accepted for publication in ChemCatChem. This work is a collaboration with Prof. Lars Grabow and was an invited contribution to the special issue on Catalysis for New Energy Technology. Congrats to all!

Angew. Chemie Paper Selected as VIP and Front Cover2017_angewchemieinted_cover
Manjesh’s paper was accepted for publication in Angewandte Chemie International Edition as a Very Important Paper (VIP) selection. The artwork for this paper was also selected for the front cover. This work is part of a collaboration with Prof. Michael Tsapatsis (U. Minnesota) and other institutions. Congrats Manjesh and other coauthors!

AIChE Journal Advisory Board
Prof. Rimer was invited to join the Advisory Board for the AIChE Journal published by Wiley. For more information about the journal, visit the website: [Link]

Paper Accepted in J. Catal.
Our collaborative work with Prof. Aditya Bhan’s group (U. Minnesota) on SSZ-13 catalysts in MTH reactions was accepted for publication in the Journal of Catalysis. Congrats Manjesh!

Megan Defends her PhDketchum_defense
Megan Ketchum successfully defended her PhD dissertation. Congratulations Dr. Ketchum and good luck starting your new position at GlaxoSmithKline!

Artwork Selected for Cover of Angew. Chemie Int. Ed.
The collaborative work between Minnesota, UH and others (Shete et al.) on 2D zeolite growth will be featured on the front cover of  Angewandte Chemie.


2016 Owens Corning Award
Prof. Rimer received the Owens Corning Early Career Award from the Materials Engineering & Science Division (MESD) of the American Institute of Chemical Engineers (AIChE). This award recognizes outstanding independent contributions to the scientific, technological, educational, or service areas of materials science and engineering. Prof. Rimer presented a plenary award lecture at the 2016 Annual Meeting in San Francisco, CA.img_3929

University of Houston News Article: Link

Cullen College of Engineering News Article: Link


Poster Awards: 1st, 2nd and 3rd Places
Graduate students Yufeng, Wei, and Rui won Research Excellence Awards at the Chinese-American Chemical Society Southwest Chapter meeting. Congrats guys!

Artwork Selected for Cover of Chem. spine minimum. half size. Editor: Tara JEM: Esther RTP: Cathy Fisher
The Up & Coming Perspective Article (Olafson et al.) will be featured on the cover of  Chemistry of Materials.

Paper Accepted in Cryst. Growth Des.
Megan’s paper on biomimetic assays for antimalarial drug screening was accepted in Crystal Growth & Design. This work is a collaboration with Prof. Peter Vekilov. Congrats Megan!

Travel Award
Yufeng was the recipient of a Cullen Graduate Fellowship Travel Award to attend the 2016 AIChE Annual Meeting. Congrats Yufeng!

Director of AIChE MESD
Prof. Rimer was elected to the AIChE Materials Engineering & Science Division executive committee.

ACS Section Awardacs-hightower-award
Prof. Rimer received the 2016 Joe W. Hightower Award from the ACS Greater Houston Section. This award recognizes meritorious contributions to education, research, and community service. Prof. Rimer will be recognized by the ACS Section at their Fall Banquet in October.

Poster Award
Jihae Chung was a recipient of the Best Poster Award for the 31st Organization for Chemical Engineering Graduate Students (OChEGS) Symposium. Congrats Jihae!

Katy Receives WIC Travel Award
Katy Olafson was selected for a Women’s Initiatives Committee (WIC) Travel Award for the 2016 AIChE Meeting in San Francisco, CA. Congrats Katy!

Rimer Recognized as Up & Coming Researcher
Prof. Rimer was selected by the ACS journal Chemistry of Materials for their Up & Coming perspective series. His article on nonclassical crystal growth inhibitors was accepted for publication. Coauthors include Katy, Bryan, and Rui. Congrats everybody!

AIChE Travel Award
Rui Li received a travel award from the Catalysis and Reaction Engineering (CRE) division to attend the AIChE Meeting in San Francisco. Congrats Rui!

Katy Selected for GRS Talk
Katy Olafson presented her talk “Elucidating the Molecular Interactions between Antimalarial Drugs and Hematin Crystal Surfaces” at the Gordon Research Seminar in conjunction with the GRC Meeting on Biomineralization in Girona, Spain. Katy received a Cullen Fellowship Travel Grant from UH to attend this conference. Congrats Katy!

Letter Published in NatureWebsite-Image

Jihae’s paper was accepted for publication in Nature! The letter is available as an Advance Online Publication (AOP) at the Nature website [Link]. Congrats Jihae on this amazing work!

This work examines the inhibition of pathological crystallization, focusing on calcium oxalate monohydrate (the principal component of human kidney stone disease). Here we present a new mechanism of crystal growth inhibition (strain-induced dissolution) and identify a compound that has the potential to be a new treatment of calcium oxalate kidney stones. Coauthors of this manuscript include Jihae Chung (UH, first author), Yanni Mpourmpakis (Univ. Pittsburgh), and John Asplin (Litholink Corporation). For details, see the Nature website: Abstract

Cover Article Published in Chem. Eur. J.

chemeurj_coverOur article was featured on the cover of the November 2016 issue of Chemistry – A European Journal. This work was a collaborative effort between the University of Houston (Rimer and Grabow) and Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (Motkuri).

To read more about this article, visit the following website:  Link

To access the coverart, visit the following website: Coverart Link

Research highlight featured by Pacific Northwest National Laboratory: Link

The authors were featured by the journal in the cover profile (Link). In this feature, the journal asks the authors questions pertaining to the most significant result of this study, the inspiration for the cover artwork, and the current topics being studied by each of the PIs.

Seminar: Identifying New Paradigms in Crystal Engineering for Energy and Biomedical Applicationsmellichamp_lecture

Prof. Rimer gave the inaugural Duncan & Suzanne Mellichamp Emerging Leader Lecture at the University of California at Santa Barbara (Link). This award was given by the Department of Chemical Engineering through the generous donation of Duncan and Suzanne Mellichamp. The abstract of this lecture and Prof. Rimer’s biography are posted on the UCSB website (Link). Details of Prof. Mellichamp’s impressive career and contributions to the field of chemical engineering can be found in the following news article: Link



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