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Siris O. Laursen

Assistant Professor


Dr. Laursen earned his bachelor's degree in Chemical Engineering from the University of Colorado, Boulder in 2004 and his Ph.D. in Chemical Engineering from the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor in 2009.  His dissertation research focused upon building a fundamental understanding of the chemical physics that governed the heterogeneous catalysis of oxide supported gold nano-particles.  Insights into the catalytic chemistry of gold were obtained with a combination of state-of-the-art experimentation and theoretical modeling.  His ever-growing toolbox includes model and non-model catalyst testing, surface science UHV experiments, advanced spectroscopies, quantum chemical calculations, and molecular dynamics.  In 2010, Dr. Laursen joined the Instituto de Tecnología Química in Valencia, Spain as a postdoctoral research fellow under the direction of Professor Avelino Corma.  There he focused on applying the directed design approach to developing new and novel catalysts for fine chemical synthesis.  In 2012, Dr. Laursen joined the faculty at the University of Tennessee.  As a faculty member, he is further focusing on the directed design of catalytic materials, the fundamentals of surface science, and the fundamentals of chemical reaction thermodynamics and kinetics of molecules and materials.


  • Biomass conversion to fuels and value-added chemicals
  • Catalytic upgrading of CO2 to reduced C1 molecules and carbonates

    Fundamental surface science
  • Electronic structure of molecules and materials
  • Fundamentals of chemical kinetics and thermodynamics
  • Materials synthesis and rational design
  • Please visit Dr. Laursen's research Web site (click here) for an in-depth account of his research aims and projects.


Ph.D., University of Michigan: Heterogeneous Catalyst Design; Fundamentals of Surface Chemical Reactivity; Non-precious Metal Catalysts; Electronic Structure of Materials; Photo- and Electro-catalysis.

Professional Service

  • Member of American Chemical Society (ACS)
  • Member of American Institution of Chemical Engineers (AIChE)
  • Member of The Electrochemical Society (ECS)
  • Member of The North American Catalysis Society (NACS)

Awards and Recognitions

  • 2010: Postdoctoral Fellowship at Instituto de Tecnología Química (ITQ) in Valencia, Spain under the direction of Prof. Avelino Corma
  • 2007: Runner up to best presentation at Michigan Catalysis Society (MCS) Annual Meeting
  • 2006: Best poster in the American Institute of Chemical Engineers (AIChE) Annual Meeting, Chemical Reaction Engineering Poster Session


  • First-Principles Design of Highly Active and Selective Catalysts for Phosgene-Free Synthesis of Aromatic Polyurethanes
    Laursen, Siris; Combita, Diego; Hungria, Ana B.; Boronat, Mercedes; Corma, Avelino, Angewandte Chemie-International Edition 51 (2012) 4190-4193, DOI: 10.1002/anie.201108849
  • Strong Chemical Interactions Between Au and Off-Stoichiometric Defects on TiO2 as a Possible Source of Chemical Activity of Nanosized Au Supported on the Oxide
    Laursen, Siris; Linic, Suljo, Journal of Physical Chemistry C 113(2009) 6689-6693, DOI: 10.1021/jp810603u
  • Geometric and electronic characteristics of active sites on TiO2-supported Au nano-catalysts: insights from first principles
    Laursen, Siris; Linic, Suljo, Physical Chemistry Chemical Physics 11(2009) 11006-11012, DOI: 10.1039/b912641d
  • Oxidation catalysis by oxide-supported Au nanostructures: The role of supports and the effect of external conditions
    Laursen, Siris; Linic, Suljo, Physical Review Letters 97 (2006) 026101, DOI: 10.1103/PhysRevLett.97.026101
  • Dynamic hybrid neural network model of an industrial fed-batch fermentation process to produce foreign protein
    Laursen, Siris; Webb, Daniel; Ramirez, W. Fred, Computers & Chemical Engineering 31 (2007) 163-170, DOI: 10.1016/j.compchemeng.2006.05.018
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