UB - University at Buffalo, The State University of New York Chemical and Biological Engineering


Jacob Heltzel Ph.D. Graduate 2015

Participation in Dr. Carl Lund's group during my undergraduate years solidified my research interests in heterogeneous catalysis and biofuels. After graduation, I started my M.S. at Fachhochschule Münster in Germany and completed it at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. At UW-Madison, my advisor was Dr. James Dumesic, who was Dr. Lund's Ph.D. advisor, and my research focused on converting levulinic acid into γ-valerolactone, a key intermediate in liquid biofuel fuel production. For my Ph. D studies, I decided to return to UB in Dr. Lund's group to focus on a novel research area that could potentially make biofuel production more feasible. Currently, I am conducting research on carbonaceous waste products, known as humins, which form during acid-catalyzed hydrolysis of biomass. Since I rejoined the group, our group has formulated a mechanism by which humins may form and has been working towards functionalizing humins into more valuable products.

Outside of my academic efforts, I have held the position of Graduate Assistant to the Department for the past year and have also been presiding over the CBE Department's Graduate Student Association for the past two years. We have hosted a wide variety of events that bring together faculty and students in a relaxed atmosphere with plenty of food and drinks.

“I am absolutely fortunate to have had the opportunity to pursue both my undergraduate and graduate studies at UB’s CBE Department, an academic powerhouse with very friendly and knowledgeable faculty, and ambitious students from various cultural backgrounds.”

- Jacob