Center News: Summer 2021

Dear CISTAR Community,

With the great progress made around the world towards normalcy and the start of the summer months, I hope to find you with a great sense of joy and optimism for a bright future.  We had a successful annual meeting with NSF in April and the CISTAR team is busy at work preparing to submit our renewal proposal for the next five years.  You will find below a quick update on our latest activities on research, education, diversity and interactions with our innovation ecosystem.  
We are hoping to meet in person in Austin, Texas for our Biannual Meeting October 13-15. We will keep you updated.
Fabio Ribeiro
CISTAR Director


CISTAR Virtual Meeting 

CISTAR gathered virtually for the Year 4 NSF Site Visit/Annual Meeting on  April 14-16, 2021. The Site Visit team once again gave CISTAR its highest rating. Some other highlights from the week: 

CISTAR Fellows Poster Session

Students presented their posters to industry members and the site visit team through an online tool, Spatial Chat. In previous virtual meetings, students were asked to record their poster pitch prior to the presentation, which resulted in limited interaction with industry. Spatial Chat allowed students to ‘stand’ next to their posters, answer questions, and talk with visitors who browsed the posters by moving throughout the various poster chat rooms. 

Center-to-Center (C2C) Proposal

In addition to the research updates provided by thrust and testbed leads, Fabio Ribeiro and Abhaya Datye presented a proposal to NSF to fund a collaboration between CISTAR and Research Centre for Gas Innovation (RCGI) and Center for Innovation New Energies (CINE) USA-Brazil. With this grant, CISTAR and the two Brazil-based centers will work together to develop transformative technologies for the utilization of natural gas while lowering the carbon footprint and provide students and faculty the opportunity for international exchanges.

Upcoming Events

CISTAR Summer Program Poster Session

June 30, 2021 2:00-4:35 PM EDT 

CISTAR Biannual Meeting 

October 13-15, 2021; Location: TBD

NSF Renewal Site Visit and Annual Meeting

April 5-8, 2022

Join CISTAR on Slack

If you haven't already joined the CISTAR Workspace on Slack, please do! Slack is especially great for remote teams. Slack allows users to send direct messages to each other or start a group message, or share information with the team without sending e-mail. Some examples of what is shared on Slack: 

•  News items and announcements 
•  The #cultureofinclusion channel shares interesting articles and diversity events and opportunities available for the team participation
•  Career opportunities in industry

The more the team is engaged with using the tool, the more effective it will be. To join Slack, click on the invite link "Join Slack Now " below. 

For more information on how to get started with Slack, a quick-start guide is linked below. For questions about Slack, please contact Brittany Bright ( 

Join Slack Now

CISTAR Slack Quick-Start Guide


Welcome New Faculty and Staff!

Please join us in welcoming the newest members of the CISTAR team! 

New Staff

Bob Brown, Managing Director

Bob comes to CISTAR from Purdue University’s Center for Science of Information (CSol) – a National Science Foundation Science and Technology Center (STC) – where he served as Managing Director for nine years. His extensive experience in leadership and knowledge of the NSF culture will be a valuable asset to CISTAR. Bob holds a BS in management and MBA from Virginia Tech. 

Anyssa Choy, UNM Site Liaison 

We are extremely pleased to welcome Anyssa Choy, UNM to the Center. Anyssa will serve as the leader of CISTAR Outreach efforts in New Mexico and as an active member of the Engineering Workforce Development team. Anyssa currently serves as an Education Specialist in Engineering within the UNM Engineering Student Success Center. She received her BS and MS in Chemical Engineering from UNM. Anyssa oversees high school summer programs and the Engineering Tutoring Program and also coordinates student support for the NSF S-STEM project. She is part of the team leading engineering tours and provides support with the ESS Center online tools and social media. In the pre-college area, she is the lead coordinator of high school summer programs and day-to-day summer activities. 

Cornelius Masuku, Purdue University

Cornelius joined the Purdue University Davidson School of Chemical Engineering as an Associate Professor of Engineering Practice in August 2020. Dr. Masuku was previously a postdoctoral researcher in Lorenz T. Biegler’s Group at Carnegie Mellon University. He holds undergraduate degrees in chemical engineering and computer science and his doctorate in chemical engineering from the University of the Witwatersrand in South Africa. His current research focuses on algorithmic developments, conceptual designs, and optimization of biomass, coal, or natural/shale gas conversions to fuels, chemicals, and electricity mainly through the Fischer–Tropsch synthesis. (Read more from Purdue ChE)

Casey O’Brien, University of Notre Dame

Casey has been an assistant professor with the University of Notre Dame Department of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering since 2017. His research areas include catalysis, membranes, and plasma with a focus on the science of catalytic interfaces and their applications for chemical transformations (heterogeneous catalysts), chemical separations (membranes), and chemical sensing (sensors). Casey is a 2006 graduate with a bachelor’s degree in chemical engineering from the University of Colorado at Boulder. He received his doctorate in chemical engineering from Carnegie Mellon University in 2011. He has been a post-doctoral researcher at the Fritz Haber Institute of the Max Planck Society in the Chemical Physics Department (2011-2014) and at the U.S. Army Research Laboratory in the Sensors and Electron Devices Directorate (2014-2017). 

Joaquin Resasco, The University of Texas at Austin 

Joaquin Resasco recently joined the McKetta Department of Chemical Engineering as Assistant Professor at the University of Texas at Austin in 2021. His research areas include energy, advanced materials, polymers, and nanotechnology with a focus on understanding the structure and properties of catalysts to enable next-generation sustainable technologies. Joaquin received his bachelor’s degree in chemical engineering from the University of Oklahoma in 2012 and his doctorate degree, also in chemical engineering, from the University of California, Berkeley in 2018. While at the University of California, Berkeley he worked at the Joint Center for Artificial Photosynthesis. He was named UC Berkley’s Chancellor’s Fellow and NSF Graduate Research Fellow also while earning his Ph.D. From 2018-2020 he was a post-doctoral fellow at the University of California, Santa Barbara.

Gabriel Sanoja Lopez, The University of Texas at Austin

Gabriel (Gabo) recently joined the McKetta Department of Chemical Engineering as Assistant Professor at the University of Texas at Austin in 2021. His research area is advanced polymers and nanotechnology with a focus on engineering mechanical properties and lifetime of soft polymeric materials. Gabo is primarily interested in using mechanochemistry to develop a comprehensive multi-scale picture of fracture in soft, tough, and dynamic materials (e.g., hydrogels and elastomers). He earned his chemical engineering bachelor’s degree from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 2012 and his doctorate degree, also in chemical engineering, from the University of California, Berkeley in 2016. Additionally, he was a post-doctoral scholar at the University of California, Santa Barbara in 2017 and at ESPCI ParisTech.

Linsey Seitz, Northwestern University

Linsey is an Assistant Professor of Chemical and Biological Engineering at Northwestern University. Her research seeks a fundamental understanding of catalytic materials and reactions using tools at the interface of electrochemistry and spectroscopy. Linsey earned her bachelor’s degree in chemical engineering from Michigan State University as an Alumni Distinguished Scholar, and both her master’s and doctorate degrees, also in chemical engineering, from Stanford University. Before joining Northwestern, she was a post-doctoral research fellow at the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology. Linsey has been named an NSF Graduate Research Fellow, a Stanford DARE Fellow, a Helmholtz Postdoctoral Fellow, and a two-time Scialog Fellow.