CEMS welcomes new faculty members

Assistant Professors Chris Bartel and Natalie Boehnke have started their tenure-track faculty positions, effective August 1, 2022. Please join us in welcoming them to the department!

Bartel earned his Ph.D. in chemical engineering from the University of Colorado, Boulder in 2018 and recently completed a three-year postdoctoral position in materials science and engineering at the University of California, Berkeley. His research is focused on the design and discovery of new materials that may be more efficient or more sustainable alternatives to the materials that currently make up the active components of devices such as batteries and solar cells. His group uses computational chemistry and machine learning to predict which hypothetical materials can be made in the lab and how to tailor their properties for optimal performance for our desired application. Ultimately, their goal is to leverage these predictions in close collaboration with experimental groups to accelerate the discovery of the next generation of solid-state materials that will enable a clean energy future.

Bartel said, "I’m proud to be a faculty member in CEMS because this department has achieved so much by bringing people from different backgrounds together and fostering a sense of community. I’m also struck by the continued drive for the department to innovate as seen in the numerous student- and faculty-driven efforts to improve the diversity, equity, and inclusivity of the department and the launch of a new Master’s program on Data Science. This department has played a tremendous role in shaping the disciplines of Chemical Engineering and Materials Science, and I am inspired and motivated by the opportunity to play a part in continuing this legacy."

Boehnke earned her Ph.D. in chemistry from the University of California, Los Angeles in 2018 and recently completed a five-year postdoctoral research position at Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Nanotechnology. Boehnke's research focuses on nanomedicine, using nanoscale materials to treat and prevent disease, such as cancer, in the human body. Specifically, her group is investigating the effects that different kinds of nanoparticles, used for drug delivery applications, have on therapeutic outcomes in the context of biological heterogeneity. Since every patient and biological system is unique, her research group uses tools like high throughput screening and machine learning to understand how biological heterogeneity affects nanoparticle efficacy and accumulation. Their research will provide the ability to identify and tailor nanomaterials properties to most effectively target and treat specific diseases.

Boehnke said, "I’m really looking forward to engaging and working with everyone in CEMS, both for educational and research collaborations. The students, staff, and faculty in the department are fantastic, and it’ll be great to work together to find new areas of collaboration. I’m also looking forward to contributing to the sense of community within the department and continuing to advocate for inclusivity and accessibility. CEMS is a wonderful place to do science, and I’m excited about all the new directions my research will take here."