Desiree Plata

Desiree Plata will join the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering as an assistant professor in July 2018. She earned her bachelor’s degree in chemistry from Union College in Schenectady, New York, in 2003, and her PhD in chemical oceanography and environmental chemistry from the MIT-Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution’s joint program in oceanography in 2009. Plata is currently the John J. Lee Assistant Professor of Chemical and Environmental Engineering at Yale and associate director for research at the Center for Green Chemistry and Green Engineering at Yale. Previously, she was in the civil and environmental engineering department at Duke, where she was active in several international research networks, such as the EPA-funded LCNano (studying the environmental implications of nanomaterials across the life cycle) and the NSF-funded Partnership for International Research and Education, studying water and commerce as related to the energy sector. Plata’s work is in the area of environmental chemistry, with applications in minimizing the environmental impact of emerging industries — with a particular focus on nanotechnologies across the energy sector. She has made fundamental contributions to the field of heterogeneous catalysis with respect to the bond-building mechanisms in carbon nanotube synthesis, which can be leveraged to lessen environmental impacts. Her work continues to illuminate novel chemistries that occur during environmental transformation processes of organic molecules. Plata is an NSF CAREER awardee, a National Academy of Engineers Frontiers of Engineering fellow, and a two-time National Academy of Sciences Kavli Frontiers of Science fellow, and was recently recognized for excellence by Caltech’s Resnick Sustainability Institute.



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