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

AIChE Travel Award
Rishabh is the recipient of a 2019 CRE Travel Award to attend the AIChE Meeting in Orlando. Congrats Rishabh!

Paper Accepted in Angew. Chem. Int. Ed.
Our paper on nonclassical pathways in silicalite-1 crystallization was accepted for publication in Angewandte Chemie. This work presents a unique method of assessing structural transformations of amorphous precursors and linking this phenomenon to the mechanism of crystal growth. Congratulations Madhuresh and Manjesh!

Artwork Selected for Cover
Our paper in collaboration with Prof. Javier Garcia Martinez (U. Alicante) on time-resolved imaging of zeolite USY mesopore formation was selected for the front cover of Chemistry of Materials. In this study we use in situ atomic force microscopy to track the formation of hierarchical zeolites through the use of surfactant treatments. Congratulations Aseem and the rest of the team for this great work!

Paper Published in React. Chem. Eng.
Our paper on the deleterious effects of low temperature ZSM-5 synthesis has been accepted for publication in Reaction Chemistry & Engineering. Congratulations Wei and Yunwen!

Commentary for C&E News
Prof. Rimer was interviewed for a news article describing a recent Nature paper by Miao and coworkers. For details of the news clip in Chemical & Engineering News titled “Watching crystal nucleation happen atomic scale”, check out their website.

Paper Accepted in Angew. Chem. Int. Ed.
Our paper in collaboration with the University of Tokyo was accepted for publication in Angewandte Chemie. This work presents a unique 2D-3D-2D crystal transformation to bridge the gap between structurally distinct lamellar zeolites. Congratulations Madhuresh!

PhD Defense
Congratulations to Madhuresh (now Dr. Choudhary) for successfully defending his PhD thesis on zeolite growth mechanisms. Great job!

Travel Award
Aseem received a Cullen Travel Award from the University of Houston to attend the Gordon Research Conference on Nanoporous Materials & Their Applications in August. Congratulations Aseem!

Gordon Research Conference
Jeff chaired the 2019 GRC Meeting on Crystal Growth & Assembly on June 23 – 28 at the University of Southern New Hampshire. There were four posters from the Rimer Group. Many thanks to the numerous speakers, discussion leaders, poster presenters, and general attendees. Also a special thanks to Kristen Fichthorn (vice chair) and the GRS co-chairs (Elias and Yael) for making this a successful event!

Visiting Researchers from UP Diliman
Aren and Jenica from Prof. Marlon Conato’s research group at the University of the Philippines are visiting our lab for several months to work on zeolite synthesis. Welcome to the group!

Manjesh Accepts Position at IIT Delhi
Former group member Manjesh Kumar is now Prof. Kumar! Effective May 15th he will be starting at the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Delhi. We look forward to seeing his research program grow over the years. Congratulations and good luck Manjesh!

Multiple Poster Awards
The Rimer Group took three of five poster awards at the 2019 Southwest Catalysis Society Spring Symposium. Congratulations to Thuy, Aseem, and Yunwen for receiving top honors. Thanks to all of the other students and postdocs who participated in this event.

Artwork Selected for Cover
Our first paper introducing a new microfluidics platform for tracking crystal growth/dissolution was selected for a cover in Lab on a Chip. This work is in collaboration with Prof. Jaci Conrad (UH) and Dr. Mike Reynolds (Shell).

Group Alumnus Receives NSF Award
James Sutjianto, a UH alumnus and former undergraduate researcher in our group, received a prestigious National Science Foundation Graduate Fellowship. James is a PhD student in chemical engineering at Penn State working with Prof. Enrique Gomez. Congratulations James on this well-deserved recognition!

Research Fellowship
Undergraduate researcher Jakob Claret received a SURF Fellowship from the University of Houston to work on zeolite synthesis this summer. Congratulations Jakob!

Paper Accepted in Chem. Mater.
Our paper in collaboration with Prof. Jeremy Palmer (UH) was accepted for publication in Chemistry of Materials! This paper explores the ability to control routes of classical and nonclassical crystallization in zeolite synthesis. Congratulations Wei and Madhuresh!

Travel Award to NAM ’19
Thuy received a Kokes Travel Award to attend the 2019 North American Catalysis Society Meeting in Chicago. She and two others (Yunwen and Aseem) will be presenting talks at the meeting. Congratulations Thuy!

Paper Accepted in Chem. Mater.
Aseem’s paper on in situ measurments of zeolite USY mesostructuring was accepted for publication in Chemistry of Materials. This work was in collaboration with Prof. Javier Garcia Martinez’s group (University of Alicante). Congratulations everyone!

Paper Accepted in Lab Chip
Our paper in collaboration with Prof. Jaci Conrad (UH) and Dr. Mike Reynolds (Shell) was accepted for publication in Lab on a Chip! This is our first paper on the topic of microfluidics where we designed a novel platform for tracking single crystal growth, inhibition, and dissolution. Congratulations Ricardo and Xi!

Visiting Scholar
We are pleased to welcome Prof. Xiujie Li from the Dalian Institute of Chemical Physics (Chinese Academy of Sciences), Division of Fossil Energy Conversion. She will be visiting our group for 6 months to work in the area of zeolite synthesis. Welcome Xiujie!

Paper Accepted in Chem. Eur. J.
A paper by Wei and Rishabh on interzeolite transformation was accepted for publication in Chemistry European Journal. Congratulations!

Travel Fellowship
Thuy was awarded a graduate student fellowship to attend the NASCRE-4 meeting in Houston. Good job Thuy!

GRC Travel Fellowship
Ricardo was awarded the Carl Storm Underrepresented Minority Fellowship from the Gordon Research Conference to attend the 2019 Crystal Growth & Assembly meeting. Good job Ricardo!

Multiple Undergraduate Honors
Congratulations to Esther for receiving multiple honors: BP Scholar,  Society of Women Engineers Scholar, and a National Society of Black Engineers Houston Sasol Scholar. Fantastic job Esther!

Check out this article written by UH College of Engineering on Esther’s many accomplishments [Link]

Review Accepted for Publication
Prof. Rimer’s paper with collaborators at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical School was accepted for publication in Curr. Opin. Nephrol. Hypertens. on the topic of citrate therapy for calcium phosphate kidney stones. Congratulations Drs. Maalouf and Sakhaee!

Highlight in Angew. Chem. Int. Ed.
Prof. Rimer’s winning of the Welch Foundation’s Norman Hackerman Award in Chemical Research was featured by Angewandte Chemie. Check out the article: Link

Undergraduate Fellowship
Nam Le received a PURS Fellowship to work on zeolite synthesis. Congrats Nam and welcome to the group!

Student and Postdoc Awards
Aseem was selected as one of twelve students in the state of Texas for an American Society of Indian Engineers (ASIE) Scholarship. Mariano was the recipient of a Postdoctoral Career Enhancement Award that will sponsor his trip to the University of New Mexico to work with Prof. Datye’s group. Congratulations guys!

PhD Defense
Group member Yufeng Shen successfully defended his PhD thesis. He will be heading to WR Grace to start his next position. Congratulations Dr. Shen on a job well done!

Multiple Honors at AIChE Meeting
The Rimer group took home several awards from the AIChE Meeting in Pittsburgh. Aseem and Ricardo won 2nd and 3rd place Poster Awards in the MESD Poster Session, respectively. Aseem was also awarded the 2nd place Graduate Student Award from MESD for his presentation in the award session. Congrats to Aseem and Ricardo on these fantastic achievements!

Paper Accepted in Journal of Catalysis
Our collaborative paper with Aditya Bhan (U. Minnesota) was recently accepted for publication in the Journal of Catalysis. Congrats to Thuy, Heng, and others for this exciting work!

Feature on Cover of I&EC Research
Prof. Rimer and others selected for the 2018 Class of Influential Researchers in the journal Industrial Engineering and Chemistry Research were featured on the front cover. Congratulations to the 2018 Class of Researchers!

UH News Article: Link

Paper Accepted in ACS Catalysis
Yufeng and Thuy’s paper on the deconvoluted effects of crystal topology and internal mass transport for methanol to hydrocarbons reactions was accepted for publication in ACS Catalysis. This work is a collaboration with Prof. Bert Weckhuysen’s group (Utrecht University). Congrats and thanks to all for this exciting work!

DOE NEUP Grant Awarded
Prof. Rimer (PI) and collaborators from Pacific Northwest National Laboratory and the University of Pittsburgh were awarded $800k to investigate safer storage of nuclear waste. For more information, read the UH News Story. This news was also circulated on EurekAlert and was featured on the main page of the University of Houston. Check it out: Link

AIChE Travel Award
Aseem is the recipient of a 2018 CRE Travel Award to attend the AIChE Meeting in Pittsburgh. Congrats Aseem!

Paper Accepted in ACS Appl. Mater. Interfaces
Katy’s paper on complex solvent stucturing at hematin crystal interfaces was accepted for publication in ACS Applied Materials & Interfaces. This work was a collaboration with Prof. Jeremy Palmer and Peter Vekilov. Congrats everybody!

PhD Defense and Farewell
Wei Qin successfully defended his PhD. Congratulations Dr. Qin! Also, we bid farewell to James who will be joining Penn State as a PhD student this Fall. Good luck James!

Work on Kidney Stones Published
Jihae’s paper on polyprotic acid inhibition of calcium oxalate kidney stones was accepted for publication in Crystal Growth & Design. This work is a collaboration with the Mpourmpakis Group (U. Pittsburgh) and Dr. John Asplin (Litholink Corp.). Congrats all!

Live on Twitter!
The Rimer Group now has a Twitter account. Follow us live on @UH_RimerGroup.

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]

Recent News