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Distinguished Postdoctoral Fellows Program

The program

The Distinguished Postdoctoral Fellows program supports outstanding scholars whose research is related to energy and the environment with a focus on innovative technological solutions, smart economic analyses, and/or impactful policy solutions to our most pressing energy and environmental challenges.

Distinguished Postdoctoral Fellows collaborate with Princeton faculty and/or senior researchers within an energy or environment-related field to articulate an interdisciplinary research plan that is aligned with the mission of the Andlinger Center. Applicants are encouraged to develop research plans that establish new collaborative links to or between faculty and researchers.

This program provides a unique opportunity for postdoctoral fellows to develop their careers through independent and interdisciplinary research, while working with one or more research mentors who are experts in their fields, pursue broad inter-disciplinary research combining science, engineering, technology, policy, and social dimensions, and engage in theoretical and/or experimental research, which is either fundamental or applied in nature.

Distinguished Postdoctoral Fellows

Luis A. Ceferino Rojas

Ceferino earned his doctoral degree in civil and environmental engineering at Stanford University where he studied the effects of large earthquakes on hospital systems in Peru. His thesis focused on the policy implications for emergency planning and how to optimize the flow of patients, caregiving resources, and traffic during disaster emergency responses.

At Princeton University, Ceferino will work with Ning Lin, associate professor of civil and environmental engineering, and Warren Powell, professor of operations research and financial engineering and director of the Program in Engineering and Management Systems. Ceferino’s work will leverage Lin’s expertise in hurricane and climate change modeling and Powell’s expertise in stochastic optimization theory to model power systems during hurricanes, and provide solutions for more resilient infrastructure. Ceferino will also work with researchers in the Andlinger Center’s Energy Systems Analysis Group.

Website | Contact | Seminar Series video

Kian Wee Chen

Kian Wee Chen, who earned his doctoral degree in architecture and buildings systems at ETH Zurich in Switzerland, works on sustainable buildings with concentrations in sustainable design and computational design tools. At Princeton, Chen is developing advanced digital tools to create more energy-efficient built environments. Forrest Meggers serves as Chen’s mentor. Chen engages with Professors Mark Zondlo, Elie Bou-Zeid, Niraj Jha, and Naveen Verma in his work.

Chen’s research specifically looks at sensors, computational algorithms, digital fabrication, and virtual and augmented reality technologies. User-friendly versions of these tools and processes can help designers create and measure prototypes for a more energy-efficient built environment, instead of focusing on technical troubleshooting. Chen hopes to help designers gain better access to advanced building technologies and to encourage their application in the design of a holistic energy solution for the built environment.

Website | Contact | Seminar Series video

Sunxiang (Sean) Zheng

Sean Zheng is a Distinguished Postdoctoral Fellow at the Andlinger Center for Energy and the Environment. His current research focuses on developing novel nanomaterials and technologies for energy-efficient carbon capture and mineralization, collaborating with Prof. Z. Jason Ren and Prof. Claire White.

Zheng received his PhD degree in Environmental Engineering in 2020 from University of California, Berkeley. Before that, he obtained his B.S. degree from Zhejiang University of Technology (China) in 2013, and M.S. degree in 2015 from University of Maryland, College Park.

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Former postdoctoral fellows

Tapomoy Bhattacharjee (2018 – 2020)

Tapomoy Bhattacharjee, who earned his doctoral degree in mechanical engineering from the University of Florida in Gainesville, works on developing ways to design and control bacterial communities at Princeton. Bhattacharjee is developing 3D-printed biofilms to remediate contaminated water. Sujit Datta serves as Bhattacharjee’s mentor. Bhattacharjee’s work focuses on understanding the fundamental mechanisms by which bacterial communities behave, and uses novel fabrication approaches to control and optimize biofilm-mediated remediation. In addition to Professor Datta, Bhattacharjee will work with Professors Peter Jaffé, Howard Stone, and Robert Austin.

In 2012, Bhattacharjee earned a bachelor’s degree in chemical engineering from Jadavpur University in Kolkata, India. He then went to University of Florida, where he earned two master degrees in chemical and mechanical engineering in 2014 and 2015, respectively. He earned his doctoral degree in mechanical engineering from the same university in May of this year.


Rebecca Ciez (2018 – 2020)

Rebecca Ciez, who earned her doctoral degree in engineering and public policy from Carnegie Mellon University, works on electric vehicle transportation and electricity generation technologies at Princeton. Daniel Steingart and Elke Weber are her research mentors.

At the Andlinger Center, she looks at the crucial transition of the electrification of transportation, specifically electric vehicle technology, and electricity generation technologies. On the former, she focuses on the interactions between electric vehicle technology and consumer adoption by developing a model of the state of used electric vehicles at their time of sale, and comparing this model with consumer willingness to pay for different vehicle attributes that would justify battery replacement between owners. For the latter, Ciez looks at design choices, operating methods, and how use requirements work together in solar energy generation and storage systems. The output of this research will be useful for informing future research directions and development of new energy storage technologies.

Website | Seminar Series video

Bastien Wild (2018 – 2020)

Bastien Wild, who earned his doctoral degree in earth science from the University of Strasbourg in France, works on the degradation of silicate materials, such as cements, rock-forming minerals, and glasses at Princeton. These materials have implications for green cements, carbon dioxide sequestration, and nuclear waste storage. He works under the mentorship of Ian Bourg and Claire White. Wild will also work with Professor Howard Stone.

As a postdoctoral fellow, Wild will focus on the mechanisms underlying the alteration of silicate materials, including minerals, glasses, and cements. In particular, silicate alteration rates have important implications for the long-term carbon cycle, the durability of urban infrastructure, and the feasibility of several low-carbon energy technologies, including green cements, carbon capture and storage, and radioactive waste storage. Despite extensive research efforts, fundamental controls on the rates of silicate weathering remain incompletely understood. Wild’s goal is to test the analogy between transport properties at fluid-silicate interfaces and those prevailing in semi-permeable nanofluidic membranes (a synthetic membrane that will selectively allow certain molecules or ions to pass through) in order to better understand overall silicate weathering processes.


In the news

Distinguished Postdoctoral Fellow Seminar Series – Starting on June 24, 2020, a Distinguished Postdoctoral Fellow held a public seminar each week to talk about his/her research and to answer questions from the academic community and prospective postdocs.