Jingguang Chen


821 S.W. Mudd
Mail Code 4721

Tel(212) 854-6166
Fax(212) 854-3054

Jingguang Chen has made pioneering contributions to the understanding and use of novel catalytic materials for catalysis and electrocatalysis. Chen investigates the physical and chemical properties of bimetallic and metal carbide catalysts. In particular, bimetallic catalysts (the combined atoms of two metals) possess unique physical, chemical, and electric properties. His research has inspired fundamental studies in catalytic and fuel cell processes, including the exploration of ways to reduce the use of platinum, a rare and expensive metal, in the catalysis process to produce hydrogen.

Research Interests

Understanding and developing metal carbides and bimetallic alloys as catalysts and electrocatalysts through combined theoretical and experimental approaches over model surfaces and supported catalysts., Investigating structural and electronic properties of catalysts using in situ synchrotron techniques.

Chen's group also applies advanced synchrotron techniques to identify and characterize reactive species in catalysts. This knowledge can help develop less expensive, more stable catalytic materials for applications ranging from fuel cells to biomass utilization.

Chen joined Columbia Engineering in 2012 from the University of Delaware, where he was the Claire D. LeClaire Professor of Chemical Engineering and the co-director of the Department of Energy’s Energy Frontier Research Center. He co-founded, and is the principal investigator of, the Synchrotron Catalysis Consortium at the National Synchrotron Light Source, Brookhaven National Laboratory. In addition to serving on a wide range of professional committees, he is the president of the North American Catalysis Society and served as the chair of the Catalysis Division of American Chemical Society. He earned his BS in chemistry from Nanjing University, China, in 1982, and his PhD from the University of Pittsburgh in 1988. 


  • Alexander von Humboldt Postdoctoral Fellow Forschungszentrum-Julich, Germany, 1988 – 1989
  • Andrew W. Mellon Pre-doctoral Fellow University of Pittsburgh, PhD, Chemistry, 1983 – 1988


  • Thayer Lindsley Professor of Chemical Engineering, Columbia University, 2012 –
  • Senior Chemist, Joint Appointment at Chemistry Department, Brookhaven National Lab, 2012 –
  • Adjunct Professor, Chemical Engineering, University of Delaware, 2012 –
  • Claire D. LeClaire Professor of Chemical Engineering, University of Delaware, 2008 – 2012
  • Co-Director, Energy Frontier Research Center on Biomass Conversion, 2009 – 2012
  • Professor of Chemistry (courtesy appointment), University of Delaware, 2005 – 2012
  • Interim Director, University of Delaware Energy Institute, 2008 – 2010
  • Director, Center for Catalytic Science and Technology (CCST), 2000 – 2007
  • Professor of Chemical Engineering, University of Delaware, 2002 – 2007
  • Professor of Materials Science and Engineering (courtesy appointment), 2002 – 2005
  • Associate Professor of Materials Science and Engineering and Chemical Engineering, University of Delaware, 1998 – 2001
  • Spokesperson for Exxon U1A Beamline at Brookhaven National Laboratory, 1994 – 1998
  • Staff Scientist, Exxon Corporate Research Laboratory, Annandale, New Jersey, 1990 – 1998


  • President, North American Catalysis Society (2017-2021)
  • Member, DOE Basic Energy Sciences Advisory Committee (BESAC) (2017 – 2020)
  • Chair, Catalysis Division of American Chemical Society, 2014 –  2016
  • Co-Founder and Team Leader, Synchrotron Catalysis Consortium for DOE, 2005 –  Present
  • Member, Council for DOE/BES Chemical and Biochemical Sciences, 2012 –  2016
  • Director-at-Large, North American Catalysis Society, 2005 –  present
  • Director-at-Large, Catalysis Division of American Chemical Society, 2008 – 2012
  • Executive Committee, Catalysis and Reaction Engineering Division of AIChE, 2009 – 2012
  • Executive Committee, Surface Science Division of American Vacuum Society, 2008 – 2010
  • Advisory Board, Photon Sciences Division of BNL, 2013 – 2016
  • Advisory Board, DOE Center for Functional Nanomaterials, 2007 – 2011
  • Advisory Board, DOE Energy Frontier Research Center at LSU, 2009 – 2011
  • Catalysis Secretariat, American Chemical Society, 2006 – 2007
  • Elected Chair, Philadelphia Catalysis Club, 2004
  • Elected Chair, Gordon Research Conference on Catalysis, 2002


  • Robert H. Wilhelm Award in Chemical Reaction Engineering, AIChE (2020)
  • R.B. Anderson Award, Canadian Catalysis Division, 2019
  • Robert Burwell Lectureship in Catalysis, North American Catalysis Society (2017)
  • George Olah Award in Hydrocarbon Chemistry, American Chemical Society, 2015
  • Fellow, American Chemical Society, 2013
  • Herman Pines Award in Catalysis, Chicago Catalysis Club, 2011
  • Excellence in Undergraduate Advising and Mentoring, University of Delaware, 2011
  • Excellence in Catalysis Award, New York Catalysis Society, 2008
  • Fellow, American Vacuum Society, 2008
  • Engineer, Delaware Chapter of Tau Beta Pi, 2007
  • Catalysis Award of Philadelphia Catalysis Club, 2004
  • Alexander von Humboldt Fellow (Germany), 1988 – 1989
  • Leybold-Heraeus Award (Leybold-Heraeus Corporation), 1987
  • Russell and Siguard Varian Fellow (American Vacuum Society), 1986
  • Graduate Student Award (American Vacuum Society Conference), 1986
  • Andrew W. Mellon Predoctoral Fellow (University of Pittsburgh), 1985 – 1987
  • USA-China Chemistry Graduate Program Fellowship, 1982 – 1984


  • R.M. Bullock*, J.G. Chen*, L. Gagliardi*, P.J. Chirik, O.K. Farha, C.H. Hendon, C.W. Jones, J.A. Keith, J. Klosin, S. D. Minteer, R.H. Morris, A.T. Radosevich, T.B. Rauchfuss, N.A. Strotman, A. Vojvodic, T.R. Ward, J.Y. Yang, and Y. Surendranath*, “Using nature’s blueprint to expand catalysis with Earth-abundant metals”, Science, 369 (2020) 786.
  • E. Gomez, B. Yan, S. Kattel and J.G. Chen*, “Carbon dioxide reduction in tandem with light alkane dehydrogenation”, Nature Reviews Chemistry, 3 (2019) 638.
  • B.M. Tackett, E. Gomez and J.G. Chen*, “Net reduction of CO2 via its thermocatalytic and electrocatalytic transformation reactions in standard and hybrid processes”, Nature Catalysis, 2 (2019) 381.
  • J. Wang, S. Kattel, C.J. Hawxhurst, J.H. Lee, B.M. Tackett, K. Chang, N. Rui, C.-J. Liu* and J.G. Chen*, “Enhancing Activity and Reducing Cost for Electrochemical Reduction of CO₂ by Supporting Palladium on Metal Carbides”, Angewandte Chemie International Edition, 58 (2019) 6271
  • W. Wan, S.C. Ammal, Z. Lin, K.-E. You, A. Heyden* and J.G. Chen*, “Controlling reaction pathways of selective C-O bond cleavage of glycerol”, Nature Communications, 9 (2018) 4612.
  • B. Yan, S. Yao, S. Kattel, Q. Wu, Z. Xie, E. Gomez, P. Liu, D. Su and J.G. Chen*, “Active sites for tandem reactions of CO2 reduction and ethane dehydrogenation”, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of United States, 115 (2018) 8278.
  • J.G. Chen*, R.M. Crooks*, L.C. Seefeldt*, K.L. Bren, R.M. Bullock, M.Y. Darensbourg, P.L. Holland, B. Hoffman, M.J. Janik, A.K. Jones, M.G. Kanatzidis, P. King, K.M. Lancaster, S.V. Lymar, P. Pfromm, W.F. Schneider, R.R. Schrock, “Beyond Fossil-Fuel-Driven Nitrogen Transformations”, Science, 360 (2018) 873.
  • E. Gomez, S. Kattel, B. Yan, S. Yao, P. Liu and J.G. Chen*, “Combining CO2 Reduction with Propane Oxidative Dehydrogenation over Bimetallic Catalysts”, Nature Communications, 9 (2018) 1398.
  • S. Kattel*, P. Liu* and J.G. Chen*, “Tuning Selectivity of CO2 Hydrogenation Reactions at the Metal/Oxide Interface”, Journal of the American Chemical Society, 139 (2017) 9739.
  • S. Kattel, P.J. Ramírez, J.G. Chen*, J.A. Rodriguez* and P. Liu*, “Active Sites for CO2 Hydrogenation to Methanol on Cu/ZnO Catalysts”, Science, 355 (2017) 1296.