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

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, and full professor in 2002. Professor Davis also served as the Chair of Chemical Engineering at the University of Virginia from 2002 to 2011. He received the Wilhelm Award of the American Institute of Chemical Engineers, 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 170 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

  • “Cascade Reaction of Ethanol to Butadiene over Ag-Promoted, Silica or Zeolite Supported Ta, Y, Pr, or La Oxide Catalysts” ACS Catal. 13 (2023) 3333-3344. K. Mamedov and R.J. Davis
  • “CO-assisted Activation of O2 during CO Oxidation on Isolated Co Ions in N-doped Carbon” ACS Catal. 12 (2022) 15529-15540. C.A. Whitcomb, A. Sviripa, M.I. Schapowal, K. Mamedov, R.R. Unocic, C. Paolucci, and R.J. Davis
  • “Cascade Reaction of Ethanol to Butadiene over Multifunctional Silica-Supported Ag and ZrO2 Catalysts” ACS Sustainable Chem. Eng. 10 (2022) 1020-1035. N. Miyake, G. Brezicki and R.J. Davis
  • “Steam Reforming Kinetics of Olefins and Aromatics over Mn-Cr-O Spinel Oxides” J. Catal. 404 (2021) 964-976. L. Yang, M.P. Bukhovko, A. Malek, L. Li, C.W. Jones, P.K. Agrawal and R.J. Davis
  • “Effect of the Co-cation on Cu Speciation in Cu-exchanged Mordenite and ZSM-5 Catalysts for the Oxidation of Methane to Methanol” ACS Catal. 11 (2021) 4973-4987. G. Brezicki, J. Zheng, C. Paolucci, R. Schlögl, and R.J. Davis
  • “Reaction Kinetics and Mechanism for the Catalytic Reduction of Propionic Acid over Supported ReOx Promoted by Pd” ACS Catal. 11 (2021) 1435-1455. J.D. Kammert, A. Chemburkar, N. Miyake, M. Neurock, and R.J. Davis
  • “Steam Reforming of Ethylene over Manganese-Chromium Spinel Oxides” J. Catal. 380 (2019) 224-235. L. Yang, M.P. Bukhovko, G. Brezicki, A. Malek, L. Li, C.W. Jones, P.K. Agrawal and R.J. Davis
  • “Insights into the speciation of Cu in the Cu-H-mordenite catalyst for the oxidation of methane to methanol” ACS Catal. 9 (2019) 5308-5319. G. Brezicki, J.D. Kammert, T.B. Gunnoe, C. Paolucci, and R.J. Davis
  • “Propane Dehydrogenation over Supported Pt-Sn Nanoparticles” J. Catal. 367 (2018) 181-193. N. Kaylor and R.J. Davis
  • “Atomically-dispersed Co and Cu on N-doped Carbon for Reactions involving C-H Activation,” ACS Catal. 8 (2018) 3875-3884. J. Xie, J.D. Kammert, N. Kaylor, J.W. Zheng, E. Choi, H.N. Pham, X. Sang, E. Stavitski, K. Attenkofer, R.R. Unocic, A.K. Datye, and R.J. Davis