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

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SDG 6: Clean Water and Sanitation

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

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SDG 7: Affordable and Clean Energy

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

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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,

Worcester Business Journal
WPI awarded $3M for graduate data program

In the article, “WPI Awarded $3M for Graduate Data Program” the Worcester Business Journal reported on WPI using a $3 million grant from the National Science Foundation (NSF) to establish a unique graduate curriculum to train the next generation of scientists who can apply chemical sciences along with data analytics, mathematics, and computing power to reduce energy usage, waste, and pollution. Elke Rundensteiner, professor of computer science, founding director of the Data Science program, and principal investigator on the grant, is collaborating with Michael Timko and Aaron Deskins, associate professors of chemical engineering, and Randy Paffenroth, associate professor of mathematical and data sciences, among others.