Surya Pratap Singh Solanki, a Ph.D. candidate from the Cullen College of Engineering's William A. Brookshire Department of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering, has been picked to serve as co-chair for the next Gordon Research Seminar (GRS), which is focused on Chemical Reactions on Surfaces.
This conference will take place in the first quarter of 2025. A venue and location have not been publicly announced yet. Solanki said the election took place at the end of the conference held in February 2023, which he attended in Italy.
“It was at the end of GRS, and they had elections. When I found out I had gotten elected, I felt very honored and excited,” he said. “It's a position with a lot of responsibilities, but it gives me a lot of visibility and the ability to network with young researchers at institutes across the world.”
This was the first GRC/GRS that Solanki attended. He was also selected to present his research, “Dynamically Excited Catalysts with Superior Oxidation Activity,” in a 20-minute session on the GRS's final day.
“They're very special conferences because they only allow a limited amount of people,” he said. “It gives you a far better opportunity to network than other conferences. I got to interact with a lot of other students and postdocs I wouldn't normally see.”
Solanki will be serving as co-chair with Liping Zhong, a post-doctoral research from the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Lausanne. Solanki said he's always enjoyed volunteering for and engaging with organizations – he is a member of the American Chemical Society, the American Institute of Chemical Engineers and the Southwest Catalysis Society.
When it came to picking a college to earn his doctorate, Solanki cited location and quality of research as factors in going with the University of Houston.
“I was very particular about the location, and I thought Houston would be a good place between the weather and the diverse environment the city offered,” he said.
Solanki is advised by Lars Grabow, Dan Luss Professor in the William A. Brookshire Department of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering, but he noted that he works closely with professor Michael Harold, also of ChBE.
“My current area of research involves using a computational and experimental techniques to understand a variety of catalytic processes, and I have been always interested in the area of catalysis and reaction engineering,” he said, adding that it was a field that Grabow is also involved in.
“I think a lot of credit goes to my advisor, Lars Grabow. I've really enjoyed working with him. He's the reason I got to work on exciting projects and with multiple collaborators. I've also been thankful to have very supportive lab mates.”
Solanki also collaborates with William Epling, Department Chairman and Alice M. and Guy A. Wilson Professor of Chemical Engineering at the University of Virginia; Chris Paolucci, Assistant Professor in the Department of Chemical Engineering at the University of Virginia; and Paul Dauenhauer, Professor in the Department of Chemical Engineering and Materials Science at the University of Minnesota.
Solanki defended his dissertation in late April. During his time at UH, he has received numerous accolades, including the Kokes Student Award, the ACS Catalysis Division Travel Award, a Best Poster Award at the UH Graduate Showcase and Southwest Catalysis Society Research Symposium.
“I'm planning on pursuing a career in industrial R&D,” he said.
Solanki is also organizing a symposium for the ACS fall meeting. For more information, visit this website.