B.S. ​Virginia Tech, 1985M.S. Stanford University,1987Ph.D. ​Stanford University, 1989Post-Doc ​University of Namur, Belgium, 1989-90

"We are interested in developing new or improved catalysts by studying how atomic structure affects their performance in chemical reactions."

Robert J. Davis, Earnest Jackson Oglesby Professor

Davis joined the faculty in Chemical Engineering at the University of Virginia in 1990 as an assistant professor, was promoted to associate professor in 1996, full professor in 2002, and Earnest Jackson Oglesby Professor in 2009. Professor Davis also served as the Chair of Chemical Engineering at the University of Virginia from 2002 to 2011. He received the Emmett Award of the North American Catalysis Society, the NSF Young Investigator Award, the DuPont Young Professor Award, the Union Carbide Innovation Recognition Award, and the UVa Rodman Scholars Award for Excellence in Teaching. Professor Davis has co-authored more than 150 publications, 1 patent and 1 textbook, entitled “Fundamentals of Chemical Reaction Engineering”.

He has delivered over 100 invited lectures at conferences, academic departments and industrial research groups, and has co-authored over 100 additional presentations at technical meetings. Professor Davis has served as President of the Southeastern Catalysis Society, Chair of the 2006 Gordon Research Conference on Catalysis, Chair of Catalysis Programming of the AIChE, Chair of a US government panel charged with worldwide assessment of Catalysis by Nanostructured Materials, Director of the Catalysis and Reaction Engineering Division of the AIChE, Director of the North American Catalysis Society, Co-Chair of an International Catalysis Workshop in China, member of the Advisory Board of the International Conferences on Solid Acid and Base Catalysis, and member of the editorial boards of Journal of Catalysis, Applied Catalysis A and BJournal of Molecular Catalysis A, ChemCatChem and ACS Catalysis.

Research Interests

  • Catalysis

Selected Publications

  • “Selective Aerobic Oxidation of Alcohols over Atomically-dispersed Non-Precious Metal Catalysts,” ChemSusChem 10 (2017) 359-362. J. Xie, K. Yin, A. Serov, K. Artyushkova, H.N. Pham, X. Sang, R.R. Unocic, P. Atanassov, A.K. Datye, R.J. Davis
  • “Catalytic Oxidation of Solid Carbon and Carbon Monoxide over Cerium-Zirconium Mixed Oxides,” AIChE J. 63 (2017) 725-738. K. Yin, R.J. Davis, S. Mahamulkar, C.W. Jones, P. Agrawal, H. Shibata, A. Malek
  • “Aqueous-Phase Hydrogenation of Saturated and Unsaturated Ketones and Aldehydes over Supported Pt-Re Catalysts,” ChemCatChem 8 (2016) 1074-1083. D.D. Falcone, J.H. Hack, and R.J. Davis
  • “Aldol Condensation of Acetaldehyde over Titania, Hydroxyapatite and Magnesia,” ACS Catal. 6 (2016) 3193-3202. Z.D. Young, S. Hanspal, R.J. Davis
  • “Influence of Dioxygen on the Promotional Effect of Bi during Pt-catalyzed Oxidation of 1,6-Hexanediol,” ACS Catal. 6 (2016) 4206-4217. J. Xie, B. Huang, K. Yin, H.N. Pham, R.R. Unocic, A.K. Datye, R.J. Davis
  • “Formation and Oxidation/Gasification of Carbonaceous Deposits: A Review,” Ind. Eng. Chem. Res. 55 (2016) 9760-9818. S. Mahamulkar, K. Yin, P.K. Agrawal, R.J. Davis, C.W. Jones, A. Malek, H. Shibata
  • “Vapor Phase Deoxygenation of Heptanoic Acid over Silica-Supported Palladium and Palladium-Tin Catalysts,” J. Catal. 344 (2016) 2002-2012. N. Kaylor, J. Xie, Y.-S. Kim, H.N. Pham, A.K. Datye, Y.-K. Lee, R.J. Davis
  • “Multi-product steady-state isotopic transient kinetic analysis of the ethanol coupling reaction over hydroxyapatite and magnesia,” ACS Catal. 5 (2015) 1737-1746. S. Hanspal, Z.D. Young, H. Shou, and R.J. Davis
  • “Reactivity and Stability of Supported Pd Nanoparticles during the Liquid-Phase and Gas-Phase Decarbonylation of Heptanoic Acid” Appl. Catal. A: Gen. 504 (2015) 295-307. J.A. Lopez-Ruiz, H. Pham, A. Datye, and R.J. Davis
  • “DRIFTS of Probe Molecules Adsorbed on Magnesia, Zirconia and Hydroxyapatite Catalysts” J. Phys. Chem. C 119 (2015) 9186-9197. I.M. Hill, S. Hanspal, Z.D. Young, and R.J. Davis
  • “Evidence for the Bifunctional Nature of Pt-Re Catalysts for Selective Polyol Hydrogenolysis,” ACS Catal. 5 (2015) 5679-5695. D.D. Falcone, J.H. Hack, A.Yu. Klyushin, A. Knop-Gericke, R. Schlögl, and R.J. Davis
  • “Restructuring of Supported PtSn Bimetallic Catalysts during Aqueous Phase Oxidation of 1,6-Hexanediol,” J. Catal. 332 (2015) 38-50. J. Xie, D.D. Falcone and R.J. Davis