ChE announces three new faculty members

Davidson School of Chemical Engineering is pleased to welcome three new faculty members for 2017-2018. Dr. Letian Dou, Dr. Vivek Narsimhan, and Dr. Brett Savoie joined the faculty as assistant professors in August 2017.
Assistant Professor Letian Dou

Letian Dou

Assistant Professor Letian Dou earned his PhD from University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) in Materials Science and Engineering and his BS in Chemistry from Peking University, Beijing. Dr. Dou held research positions at UC Berkeley / Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory / California Research Alliance by BASF, at UCLA, and at University of California, Santa Barbara.

Research Interests

The Dou research group is interested in hybrid materials synthesis and processing for the next generation energy harvesting and optoelectronics devices. Both fundamental understanding of the materials structure-property relationships and the application in high performance energy-efficient devices are emphasized. Prior to joining the Davidson School of Chemical Engineering, Dr. Dou held research positions at UC Berkeley/Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory/California Research Alliance by BASF, at UCLA, and at University of California, Santa Barbara.

Dr. Dou was part of a research team that set a certified world record of 10.6% power conversion efficiency for organic solar cells. He has given several invited talks and conference presentations, and has also been awarded six patents. Dr. Dou has more than 30 research publications with over 7000 citations.

Assistant Professor Vivek Narsimhan

Vivek Narsimhan

Assistant Professor Vivek Narsimhan earned his MS and PhD from Stanford University in Chemical Engineering, his Master of Advanced Study in Mathematics from University of Cambridge, and his BS from Caltech in Chemical Engineering. He also was a Postdoctoral Associate at Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT).

Research Interests

Dr. Narsimhan’s research uses a mixture of theory, simulations, and experiments to examine problems in the areas of suspensions, complex interfaces, fluid mechanics, and polymers. He has developed mathematical models, performed simulations, and conducted experiments to describe the mechanics of droplets, red blood cells, and vesicles under various flow types and microfluidic geometries. These investigations provide insight into how complex membranes alter the mechanical stability and motion of fluid-filled particles, both individually and as a suspension. Dr. Narsimhan has also simulated the jamming and translocation dynamics of knotted polymers. He has modeled the relaxation of knotted DNA that has been validated by single-molecule experiments. These studies have possible applications in next-generation DNA mapping/sequencing as well as providing insight into the dynamics of entanglements in polymer systems.

Assistant Professor Bret Savoie

Brett Savoie

Assistant Professor Bret Savoie earned BS degrees in Chemistry and Physics from Texas A&M University. He earned his PhD in Theoretical Chemistry from Northwestern University. Dr. Savoie worked as a postdoc in the research group of Prof. Thomas Miller at Caltech developing high-throughput methods to screen new polymers and solvents for battery electrolyte applications.

Research Interests

Dr. Savoie’s group focuses on accelerating the design and characterization of energy-related materials using theoretical methods. Burgeoning computational power and algorithm development have made theoretical characterization and screening essential steps in modern materials development. From first-principles predictions of electronic structure, catalytic activity, and even crystal structure — methods development continues to push the frontier of what material properties can be predicted in advance, thus economizing costly synthesis and optimization efforts.