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Dr. James W. Harris

Assistant Professor



  • Ph.D., Chemical Engineering, Purdue University, 2017
  • B.S., Chemical Engineering, University of Virginia, 2012

Harris joined the Department of Chemical and Biological Engineering at The University of Alabama as an Assistant Professor in Fall 2019. His research group is involved in ongoing projects related to the responsible use of energy carriers for production of fuels and chemicals. Professor Harris is particularly interested in catalysis occurring over metal surfaces whose properties evolve as a function of their environment, and over sites confined within the pores of zeolites.

Professor Harris has recently been awarded the Oak Ridge Affiliated Universities 2021-2022 Ralph E. Powe Junior Faculty Enhancement Award, the University of Alabama Undergraduate Research and Creative Activity Conference’s Top Faculty Mentor award, and the American Chemical Society’s Petroleum Research Fund (PRF) Doctoral New Investigator Award (2022).

His group’s research is supported by the ACS PRF, the National Science Foundation, the U.S. Department of Defense, and the U.S. Department of Energy. Harris currently serves as the programming co-chair for the AIChE Catalysis and Reaction Engineering Division, as an alternate councilor for the ACS Division of Catalysis Science and Technology, and as the Vice President of the Southeastern Catalysis Society (SECS).

Affiliated Areas
Chemical and Biological Engineering

Selected Publications

  • Junyan Zhang, Evan C. Wegener, Nohor “River” Samad, James W. Harris, Kinga A. Unocic, Lawrence F. Allard, Stephen Purdy, Shiba Adhikari, Michael J. Cordon, Jeffrey T. Miller, Theodore R. Krause, Sichao Cheng, Dongxia Liu, Meijun Li, Xiao Jiang, Zili Wu, Zhenglong Li, “Isolated metal sites in Cu-Zn-Y/Beta for direct and selective butene-rich C3+ olefins formation from ethanol .” ACS Catalysis, 11, 2021, 9885-9897.
  • James W. Harris, Jason S. Bates, Brandon C. Bukowski, Jeffrey Greeley, Rajamani Gounder, “Opportunities in Catalysis over Metal-Zeotypes Enabled by Descriptions of Active Centers Beyond their Binding Sites.” ACS Catalysis, 10, 2020, 9476-9495.
  • James W. Harris, Anuj A. Verma, Jeremy W. Arvay, Arthur J. Shih, W. Nicholas Delgass, Fabio H. Ribeiro, “Consequences of Product Inhibition in the Quantification of Kinetic Parameters.” Journal of Catalysis, 389, 2020, 468-475.
  • James W. Harris and Aditya Bhan, “Kinetics of chlorine deposition and removal over promoted silver catalysts during ethylene epoxidation.” Journal of Catalysis, 380, 2019, 318-331.
  • James W. Harris, Jeffrey A. Herron, Joseph F. DeWilde, Aditya Bhan, “Molecular characteristics governing chlorine deposition and removal on promoted Ag catalysts during ethylene epoxidation,” Journal of Catalysis, 377, 2019, 378-388.

Awards and Honors

  • 2022 ACS Petroleum Research Fund Doctoral New Investigator Award
  • 2021-2022 Ralph E. Powe Junior Faculty Enhancement Award
  • 2021 University of Alabama Undergraduate Research and Creativity Activity Conference – Top Faculty Mentor Award

Dr. Harris's Impact

5 people in front of a decorated wall

Bama Abroad: Chemical and Biological Engineering Faculty Travel to Nigeria for Recruiting Trip

With an enrollment number of more than 5,000, the UA College of Engineering is home to students from countless states and countries across the globe. As such, one of the...

Dr. Harris in his lab

UA Researchers Hope to Spur Adoption of Greener Jet Fuel

Engineering researchers at The University of Alabama are spearheading a project to demonstrate an innovative method to create jet fuel from plants, helping the airline industry meet goals for using...

man in green patterned shirt stands in lab with shelves behind

Two UA Researchers Receive NSF Grant to Study Precise Catalysts That Can Reduce Industrial Carbon Footprint

Two University of Alabama faculty are joining forces to advance their research with help from recently received grant money. Dr. James Harris, chemical and biological engineering assistant professor, and Dr....

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