Goddard Hall 119
BS Chemistry University of Utah 2001
BS Chemical Engineering University of Utah 2001
PhD Chemical Engineering Purdue University 2006

Students here at Worcester Polytechnic Institute have a lot of enthusiasm and ambition, and it certainly is contagious. Teaching brings a lot of joy because of this, and I find myself often trying just to keep up with the students! I love to collaborate with people from many different backgrounds and technical interests. For my research, I work in the area of molecular modeling: trying to understand and solve energy and environmental problems using high-powered computer simulations. I am also involved in supporting, educating, and empowering introverted students. The world is always in need of solid engineering approaches to address the needs of the future, and I'm glad to be at a great institution like WPI.

Visit Digital WPI to view student projects and research advised by Professor Deskins.

Sustainable Development Goals

SDG 4: Quality Education

SDG 4: Quality Education - Ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and promote lifelong learning opportunities for all

Preview Quality Education Goal

SDG 6: Clean Water and Sanitation

SDG 6: Clean Water and Sanitation - Ensure availability and sustainable management of water and sanitation for all

Preview Clean Water and Sanitation Goal

SDG 7: Affordable and Clean Energy

SDG 7: Affordable and Clean Energy - Ensure access to affordable, reliable, sustainable and modern energy for all

Preview Affordable and Clean Energy Goal

Scholarly Work

Professor Deskin’s research is focused on clean energy, photocatalysis, fuel cells, catalysis, materials science, surface science, and molecular modeling. 

Featured articles:

Chen, J., Iyemperumal, S. K., Fenton, T., Carl, A., Grimm, R., Li, G., & Deskins, N. A. (2018). Synergy between defects, photoexcited electrons, and supported single atom catalysts for CO2 reduction. ACS Catalysis, 8(11), 10464-10478. 

Iyemperumal, S. K., & Deskins, N. A. (2017). Activation of CO 2 by supported Cu clusters. Physical Chemistry Chemical Physics, 19 (42), 28788-28807. 

Pham, T. D., & Deskins, N. A. (2020). Efficient method for modeling polarons using electronic structure methods. Journal of Chemical Theory and Computation, 16(8), 5264-5278. 

Garcia, J. C., Nolan, M., & Deskins, N. A. (2015). The nature of interfaces and charge trapping sites in photocatalytic mixed-phase TiO2 from first principles modeling. The Journal of Chemical Physics, 142(2), 024708. 

Professional Highlights & Honors
CEDAR (Circular Economy and Data Analytics Engineering Research for Sustainability). Grant (NSF) - 2020 - ,

Associate Director for New Faculty Programs (Morgan Teaching and Learning Center), 2022-2025,


Inside Higher ED
Academic Success Tip: Teaching Introverts Confidence and Community

Inside Higher Ed featured how WPI faculty are "celebrating introverts’ strengths in the course Success for Introverts, looking at the physical and social aspects of introversion and how students can recognize and utilize their practical talents." The offering is taught jointly by N. Aaron Deskins, a professor of chemical engineering, and Kristin Boudreau, professor of humanities and arts.

Innovations Report
Efficiently moving urea out of polluted water is coming to reality

Innovations Report covered the results of a WPI study on the removal of urea from wastewater for use in hydrogen production that was recently published in the Journal of Physical Chemistry Letters. The research team was led Xiaowei Teng, James H. Manning Professor of Chemical Engineering.