2023 UCLA Chemistry and Biochemistry Alumni Award

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Dr. Omar K. Farha (B.S. ’02, Ph.D. ‘06), the Charles E. and Emma H. Morrison Professor in Chemistry at Northwestern University,  an Executive Editor for ACS Applied Materials & Interfaces and President of NuMat Technologies, has been selected for the 2023 UCLA Chemistry & Biochemistry Alumni Award.  

Prof. Farha will accept the award and present the commencement address at the UCLA Chemistry & Biochemistry graduation ceremony on Saturday, June 17, 2023. 

“UCLA is where aspirations take root, a wellspring of motivation and direction. It holds a special place in my heart and continues to be a home away from home,” Farha said. “I feel immense pride in being a Bruin.”

A true Bruin, Prof. Farha received his bachelor’s degree (Summa cum laude) in Chemistry and his Ph.D. in Chemistry at UCLA (receiving the department’s 2006 Dissertation of the Year award).  As an undergraduate and a graduate student, he worked in the group of Professor M. Frederick Hawthorne.  In 2007, Prof. Farha moved to Northwestern University in Illinois, for a postdoctoral fellowship designing and making metal–organic frameworks (MOFs).  He joined the Northwestern faculty in 2009. In 2012, he co-founded the spin-off company NuMat Technologies and in 2016 it launched one of the first commercial MOF-based products – safe storage cylinders for toxic gases used as dopants in the electronics industry.

Prof. Farha’s current research spans diverse areas of chemistry and materials science ranging from energy to defense-related challenges. Specifically, his research focuses on the rational design of metal-organic frameworks (MOFs) for applications sensing, catalysis, storage, separations, and water purification.

His research accomplishments have been recognized by several awards and honors including a fellow of the European Academy of Sciences, Kuwait Prize, Japanese Society of Coordination Chemistry “International award for creative work”, the Royal Society of Chemistry “Environment, Sustainability and Energy Division Early Career” Award, the American Chemical Society “The Satinder Ahuja Award for Young Investigators in Separation Science” and “ACS ENFL Emerging Researcher Award”, and an award established by the Department of Chemistry at Northwestern University in his honor: the Omar Farha Award for Research Leadership “awarded for stewardship, cooperation and leadership in the finest pursuit of research in chemistry” and given annually to an outstanding research scientist working in the department.

Prof. Farha has more than 600 peer-reviewed publications, holds 17 patents, 88,000 citation and h-index of 144 (google Scholar), and has been named a “Highly Cited Researcher” from 2014 to 2022. He is one of the Top 100 Chemists (#35) in the world (Research.com).

Prof. Farha is the co-founder and president of NuMat Technologies, the first company to commercialize an engineered system-level product enabled by Metal-Organic Framework Materials.