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Welcome New Department Members

The Department of Chemistry welcomed two new faculty members and one new lecturer for the academic year 2023-2024. The new additions bring our department up to 24 faculty members and 10 lecturers, and will expand both our research and teaching capacity.

Yingwen Cheng – Assistant Professor, Analytical Chemistry

Yingwen Cheng earned dual bachelor’s degrees in chemistry and chemical engineering from Shandong University, China, and a PhD in chemistry from Duke University. After completing his postdoctoral training at the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, he began his academic career at Northern Illinois University as an assistant professor in 2018. He is a recipient of the Doctoral New Investigator Award from the American Chemical Society Petroleum Research Fund, and was featured as an Emerging Investigator by journals Nanoscale and Energy & Fuels. Cheng’s research aims to develop new chemical principles to explain and control electrochemical processes for inter conversion of electrical and chemical energy. The results of this work contribute to electricity-driven chemical manufacturing and renewable electricity storage for transportation and smart power grids. 

Brendon McNicholas – Assistant Professor, Inorganic Chemistry

Brendon McNicholas completed his bachelor’s degree in chemistry at the University of California, Berkeley in 2014. While at Berkeley, he conducted undergraduate research in Professor John Arnold’s group. In 2020, he earned his PhD in physical inorganic chemistry from the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena while working in the research groups of Professors Harry Gray and Robert Grubbs. After a four month postdoctoral appointment in Gray’s group, he accepted a Resnick Postdoctoral Scholar position at CalTech in 2020 with the research group of Professor Ryan Hadt. McNicholas’s research lab uses spectroscopic and electrochemical techniques to develop and characterize next-generation energy conversion and storage technologies. McNicholas is also engaged in the development of more efficient and stable catalysts for small molecule reduction and oxidation, specifically those related to photoelectrochemical water oxidation, fuel cell technology, CO2 reduction, and N2 fixation.

Amanda Clune – Lecturer

Originally from Haymarket Virginia, Amanda Clune completed her bachelor’s degree in chemistry at Hofstra University in 2013.  While at Hofstra, she conducted research under Nanette Wachter. In 2021, she obtained her PhD in physical chemistry in the research group of Janice Musfeldt from UT. Shortly after, she served as a Visiting Associate Professor of Chemistry at Miami University from 2021 until 2023.