Indian American Professor of Science receives fund award

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Neeraj Rai

An Indian American assistant professor of chemical engineering at Mississippi State University, Neeraj Rai will receive $750,000 for his research to develop advanced computational frameworks for understanding chemical and physical processes at the molecular level.

According to the university’s website, Rai is among the 59 other scientists who won this award and His current research project is one of 38 selected for funding from academic institutions nationwide and is titled “Probing Condensed-Phase Structure and Dynamics in Hierarchical Zeolites and Nanosheets for Catalytic Upgradation of Biomass.”

The award will fund his project over the next five years in which He will be designing novel materials for meeting future energy needs in the U.S.

The students in Rai’s research group will simulate biomass conversion for establishing design principles for developing efficient catalysts and processes that convert lignin and cellulose into chemicals, fuels and other renewable and sustainable materials.

“This is a highly-competitive national award that provides resources to only a select few who are considered exceptional researchers. We’re very proud of Dr. Rai’s achievements and contributions to Mississippi State’s research community,” said David Shaw, MSU’s vice president for research and economic development.

“Dr. Rai’s research expertise in molecular-level chemical processes has several broad impacts to our society. I am proud to see his transformative work recognized with such a prestigious award,” added Jason Keith, dean and professor of the Bagley College.

Rai joined the Dave C. Swalm School of Chemical Engineering in MSU’s Bagley College of Engineering in 2013.

Prior to joining MSU, Rai was a postdoctoral research associate at the Catalysis Center for Energy Innovation, a DOE Energy Frontier Research Center at the University of Delaware.

He also conducted postdoctoral research in the chemical and biomolecular engineering department at the University of Notre Dame and obtained his doctoral degree in chemical physics from the University of Minnesota.

Rai earned his bachelor’s in chemical engineering from Karnataka Regional Engineering College, presently known as the National Institute of Technology, Karnataka, India.

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