Laura Wilcox

Graduate Research Assistant

Advised by Professor Rajamani Gounder

Professional Networks


I began my studies in chemical engineering at the University of Connecticut. I was first introduced to research in catalysis as an undergraduate while working with Prof. Ioulia Valla. In Prof. Valla’s group, I worked on tailoring hierarchical Y and ZSM-5 zeolites for biomass catalytic fast pyrolysis. In the fall of 2016, I joined the Gounder group to further my research studies in catalysis.


University of Connecticut, B.S. Chemical Engineering (2012 - 2016)
Purdue University, Ph.D. Chemical Engineering (2016 - present)



  • Best Catalysis Poster, 28th Annual Graduate Research Symposium (Purdue University) 2019
  • 2nd Place Poster, Natural Gas Conversion Symposium (San Antonio, TX) 2019
  • Honors College Graduate (University of Connecticut) 2016
  • 2nd Place Poster in Fuels, Petrochemicals and Energy, AIChE Student Conference (Salt Lake City, Utah) 2015

Project Description

My current research project is focused on methane activation on metal-exchanged zeolites. Cu-zeolites have received renewed attention as materials that may facilitate partial methane oxidation (PMO), with many active site motifs proposed, including mononuclear and polynuclear Cu species. More precise identification of the Cu structures that activate dioxygen and methane can result from studying model heterogeneous supports that contain well-defined Cu speciation, as a result of the synthetic and treatment procedures used to prepare them. Chabazite (CHA) zeolites are high-symmetry frameworks that contain a single, unique tetrahedral site (T-site). To simplify the interpretation of experimental characterization data of exchanged Cu ions and complexes we CHA as a model support to study for this project.

Patents and Publications