Research and Impact

New chemistry professor brings expertise in nanomaterials for energy and sustainability

Dr. Wenyang Gao will join Ohio University in the fall, bringing expertise in the synthetic innovation of advanced nanomaterials that can be leveraged to address critical issues in energy and sustainability.

“We are thrilled that Dr. Gao will diversify and strengthen our expertise in sustainability and energy in the College of Arts and Sciences and in Ohio University,” said Interim Dean Sarah Poggione.

“We are delighted to have Professor Gao join our department. His expertise fills a critical void in inorganic and materials chemistry research in our department. Also, his projects are highly likely to generate new collaborations within the department, within the university, as well as with academic and industrial partners nationwide,” said Professor Eric Masson, Roenigk chair and Chemistry and Biochemistry Department chair in the College of Arts and Sciences.

Gao works at the interface of materials chemistry and inorganic chemistry for energy applications.

"To be specific, we are highly interested in developing synthetic strategies to access atomistically precise porous materials and applying these materials in catalysis, carbon capture, and energy storage. The confined nanospace within porous materials provides unlimited room for new exciting chemistry to be explored," Gao said.

Students working in Gao's lab will gain expertise in various facets of synthetic inorganic and material chemistry. Gao will also teach inorganic chemistry courses at both undergraduate and graduate levels.

"I am looking forward to engaging and empowering students in a beneficial and inspiring learning environment that I will foster via my research and teaching for the success of students. I intend to further develop my commitment to inclusive and devoted instruction in cultivating a strong hands-on mentorship style that serves diverse students at Ohio University," he said.

Gao was born in Linyi, China, and received his undergraduate education at Sun Yat-sen University, where he conducted undergraduate research exploring the synthesis of crystalline metal-organic frameworks (MOFs). In 2011, he moved to the University of South Florida to pursue graduate studies utilizing porous MOF materials for carbon dioxide capture and chemical transformation. After earning his Ph.D. in 2016, he joined Professor David C. Powers' research group as a postdoctoral scholar at Texas A&M University, where he studied incorporating kinetically inert metal nodes into porous materials for chemoselective catalysis. In 2020, Wenyang moved to New Mexico Tech as an assistant professor.

Gao said Ohio University's academic strength and commitment to research helped attract him to Athens.

"I was highly impressed by several exceptional features of Ohio University when I was on campus visit for the position. First of all, OHIO has a reputation for offering strong and rigorous academic programs across a range of disciplines, including chemistry, which manifests the quality work that OHIO's outstanding faculty and staff members have accomplished. Second, the commitment and support for professional development including funding for research from OU are significant. This provides great opportunities for faculty members, graduate students, and undergrads to advance their careers or studies," Gao said.

"Last, but not least, it is the collaborative and supportive working environment that I experienced when interacting with chemistry faculty members," Gao said. "I foresee the exceptional academic and research environment at OHIO will provide the perfect setting for me to establish and continue my independent research career and will facilitate many exciting opportunities for collaborative, motivating, and impactful research. I am extremely enthusiastic to become a part of this community."

May 11, 2023
Staff reports