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Publications in VIVO

Medlin, James William

Professor and the Denver Business Challenge Endowed Professor


Research Areas research areas


research overview

  • Our group investigates reactions at solid surfaces for renewable and sustainable energy applications. We are particularly focused on interfacial chemistry important in the conversion of biomass to fuels and chemicals. Biomass-derived carbohydrates and lipids contain a high degree of oxygenate functionality, and it is a major challenge to develop new catalysts capable of selective conversions of the oxygenates to useful fuel and chemical products. A major focus of our group is to design such catalysts based on a molecular-scale understanding of the oxygenate-catalyst interaction. Our efforts to research various applications are united by a common theme: a variety of experimental and computational tools are employed to obtain a detailed understanding of chemical and physical phenomena at solid surfaces. Having this understanding in hand allows us to design improved catalysts that we can screen under realistic conditions in chemical reactors.


  • Renewable energy, biomass upgrading, heterogeneous catalysis, surface chemistry


selected publications


courses taught

  • CHEN 1000 - Creative Technology
    Primary Instructor - Spring 2024
    Delve into cutting-edge topics such as the science of climate change, biotechnology, biomedical devices, advanced materials, renewable energy, and environmental sustainability! This course will introduce undergraduate students to the most recent concepts in technology and how these concepts impact all aspects of life, including human health and the health of the planet.
  • CHEN 3320 - Chemical Engineering Thermodynamics
    Primary Instructor - Fall 2019 / Fall 2022
    Applies thermodynamic principles to nonideal systems, phase equilibrium, chemical equilibrium, power generation, refrigeration, and chemical processes.
  • CHEN 3660 - Energy Fundamentals
    Primary Instructor - Spring 2019 / Spring 2020
    Explains the most important energy technologies and systems; provides tools to analyze performance using science and engineering principles. This course will investigate important energy concepts from sources and extraction to utilization, storage and efficiency. Topics include fossil fuels, hydropower, renewable energy, biofuels, carbon capture and waste disposal.
  • CHEN 5390 - Chemical Reactor Engineering
    Primary Instructor - Fall 2018
    Studies ideal and nonideal chemical reactors, including unsteady state behavior, mixing effects, reactor stability, residence time distribution and diffusion effects. Department enforced prerequisite: undergraduate course in chemical reactor design/kinetics.
  • CHEN 5838 - Special Topics in Chemical Engineering
    Primary Instructor - Fall 2019 / Fall 2020
    Graduate-selected topics courses offered upon demand. May be repeated up to 6 total credit hours.
  • CHEN 5919 - Special Topics in CHBE
    Primary Instructor - Spring 2018 / Spring 2019 / Fall 2019 / Fall 2020 / Spring 2021 / Spring 2022 / Fall 2022 / Spring 2023 / Fall 2023 / Spring 2024
    May be repeated up to 5 total credit hours.


awards and honors

International Activities

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