ambarish kulkarni outstanding faculty research teaching award uc davis chemical engineering
Photo: Josh Moy/UC Davis.

Ambar Kulkarni wins UC Davis College of Engineering Outstanding Faculty Award

Chemical engineering assistant professor Ambar Kulkarni was recognized for his research with the 2021 Outstanding Junior Faculty for Excellence in Research Award from the UC Davis College of Engineering.

Each year, the UC Davis College of Engineering recognizes faculty members who have demonstrated excellence in teaching, research and community with the Outstanding Faculty Awards. Faculty members are nominated by their respective departments and are selected by the college’s faculty awards committee.

Kulkarni and his three colleagues were honored for their exceptional accomplishments during the college's annual Celebration of Faculty Excellence on September 30.

In addition, Kulkarni received the department's Best Teaching Award in chemical engineering for  strong commitment to the mission and vision of the college.

Kulkarni's research uses multi-scale molecular modeling methods to design and discover novel materials for applications in catalysis, separations and sensing. Specifically, he combines wave function theory, density functional theory and classical force field simulations with data science techniques to study complex phenomena such as aqueous-phase reactions, material syntheses and deactivation, hybrid catalysts and disordered materials. In collaboration with experimental groups, his research generates fundamental, molecular-level insight with diverse applications, including methane upgradation, fuel cells and next-generation sensors.

After receiving his B.S. from the Institute of Chemical Technology in Mumbai, Kulkarni moved to the United States to complete his Ph.D. at Georgia Tech and his postdoc at Stanford. Since joining UC Davis, he has received an NSF CAREER Award and has been recognized as an outstanding graduate student mentor. His love for science, technology and teaching originates from the wonderful mentors he had throughout his career.

When he is not staring at molecules on the computer, Kulkarni and his wife enjoy traveling to different countries, snowboarding and playing with their dog.

The Celebration of Faculty Excellence event also honored all other chemical engineering faculty members who received awards from September 2020-August 2021. Their names and honors are listed below:

  • Jennifer Curtis, 2020 American Society for Engineering Education Benjamin Garver Lamme Award; Alexander von Humboldt Research Award; 2020 American Physical Society Fellow
  • Matthew Ellis, 2021-22 UC Davis Hellman Fellow
  • Ambarish Kulkarni, UC Davis Graduate Mentor Fellow; National Science Foundation CAREER Award
  • Harishankar Manikantan, 2021-22 UC Davis Hellman Fellow
  • Karen McDonald, 2022 D.I.C. Wang Award for Excellence in Biochemical Engineering; American Institute of Chemical Engineers Fellow
  • Robert Powell, American Institute of Chemical Engineers Fellow
  • Priya Shah, 2021-22 UC Davis Hellman Fellow

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