Sustainable Materials and Product Design

The sustainable use of materials, including the (re)design of products to maximize their sustainability, is an area of immense and rapidly growing environmental and economic importance. It also impacts the greater goal of enabling a much larger fraction of the world’s population to achieve the high standard of living that technology now confers upon the residents of developed nations, without exceeding the Earth’s capacity to supply the necessary raw materials and absorb the inevitable byproducts of activities required to generate technology.

Read more about UCSB's Mellichamp Academic Initiative in Sustainability.

We have several guest speakers in Winter and Spring Quarter that you'll want to hear!  "Save the Dates" now on your calendar and share the information with your colleagues.                                               SAVE THE DATES - WINTER & SPRING 2017 SEMINARS  
Ira Flatow, Campbell Hall, Thursday, May 4th, 2017, 7:30 – 9:00 pm, Free
Sustainable Chemistry Symposium:  Program Chairs - Susannah Scott & Mahdi Abu-Omar A Call for Papers for The American Chemical Society’s Division of Catalysis Science and Technology for the 253rd ACS National Meeting and Exposition:  Advanced Materials, Technologies, Systems and Processes, “Catalytic Conversion of Lignocellulose to Fuels, Chemicals, and Materials” for the April 2nd -7th, 2017 meeting is NOW OPEN.
Professor Bruce Lipshutz
Professor Bruce Lipshutz receives the 2017 Herbert C. Brown Award for Creative Research in Synthetic Methods, a national award from the American Chemical Society (ACS).  He is being recognized for his "outstanding and creative contributions to research in synthetic methods." Read more about his work in the UCSB Current.  
Alan Alda
Actor Alan Alda was recently on campus as part of a three day Alda Kavli Leadership program where he taught a session to about 2 dozen faculty members on effectively communicating science.  They participated in improv exercises and games with the goal of learning to connect with their audiences.  The article and short video clip were highlighted in the UCSB Current.
Duncan Mellichamp
Dr. Duncan Mellichamp was the Graduate Division Commencement Speaker this year.  In his honor, the UCSB Grad Post published an article about Dr. Mellichamp, highlighting some of his career and community contributions over the past 50 years.    Dr. Duncan Mellichamp - Half a Century of Service  
In this media-focused world, audiences are bombarded with messages, and are left to try to make sense of an overwhelming amount of information.  How can our messages actually cut through the clutter to help motivate new awareness, new behaviors?  Which strategies lead to a more effective use of media?  Today’s students need a sophisticated sense of how media works and what it does, to become better communicators themselves.  
Mellichamp Academic Initiative in Sustainability
Summer 2016 Fellowships   UPDATE:  We are pleased to announce that the Mellichamp Academic Initiative in Sustainability Summer 2016 Fellows have been selected.  Fellows will be conducting research, participating in sustainability seminars and presenting their work at our Sustainability Symposium.  For a list of the new Fellows, please see 2016 Mellichamp Sustainability Fellows.           
Mahdi Abu-Omar
We are pleased to announce that Dr. Mahdi Abu-Omar has joined UC Santa Barbara in the Department of Chemistry & Biochemistry and the Department of Chemical Engineering. He expects to arrive on campus in the summer of 2016. He will hold an Endowed Chair in the Mellichamp Academic Initiative in Sustainability, focusing on Green Chemistry.  Mahdi comes to UCSB from Purdue University where he is the R. B. Wetherill Professor in the Department of Chemistry and Professor in the School of Chemical Engineering.
Another graduate-level course on Science Communication will be offered in Spring, 2016, to train students in the art and science of effective scientific messaging. The course will be taught by screenwriter and UCSB Writing instructor Doug Bradley.
A generous philanthropic gift from Duncan and Suzanne Mellichamp has created a new Academic Initiative in Sustainability, with an initial focus on Sustainable Manufacturing and Product Design.
  • The Abu-Omar research group develops and studies catalysts that convert recalcitrant lignin in biomass into aromatic phenols. This concept of lignin first produces delignified cellulose as a byproduct, which can be digested to fermentable sugars. The aromatic phenols can be upgraded further to fuels, chemicals, and moldable polymeric materials, opening several possibilities for more efficient biorefining processes.

  • Dr. Peter C. Ford's group conducts research on the catalytic disassembly of plant biomass into organic liquids suitable for fuels and/or chemicals. This biomass disassembly process employs the use of Cu-based heterogeneous catalysts derived from hydrotalcite precursors in supercritical methanol medium.

  • Organic Synthesis Using Benign Nanoreactors in Water, Dr. Bruce Lipshutz


Massimiliano Delferro
4:00 PM, Thursday, April 27th, 2017, PSBN 4606
Dr. Massimiliano Delferro, Chemical Sciences and Engineering Division Argonne National Laboratory
Chao-Jun Li
4:00 PM, Wednesday, May 3rd, 2017, Chemistry 1171
Dr. Chao-Jun LiDepartment of Chemistry and FQRNT Center for Green Chemistry and Catalysis, McGill University, Abstract:
Chemical Engineering UCSB
Bren School
Chemical Life Cycle Collaborative
UCSB Sustainability