Richard West

Associate Professor,  Chemical Engineering


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  • 226 Cullinane
  • 617.373.5163


  • 230 Cullinane
  • 617.373.5048

Research Focus

Development of detailed microkinetic models for complex reacting systems; automating the discovery and calculation of reaction pathways; heterogeneous catalysis


Joined the Chemical Engineering Department in Fall 2011.

The primary focus of my research is the development of detailed microkinetic models for complex reacting systems.

Our approach is to automate the discovery of reaction pathways, and the calculation of key parameters using ab initio quantum chemistry calculations. These kinetic models will link to multi-scale models of the reactor systems so that the overall process can be understood and optimized as a whole.

This approach towards microkinetic model development will contribute to the optimization and understanding of catalytic processes, leading to catalyst design and discovery.


  • B.A., M.Eng. (Chemical Engineering) University of Cambridge, 2004
  • Ph.D. (Chemical Engineering) University of Cambridge, 2009
  • Postdoctoral Research Associate, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, 2008-2011

Honors & Awards

  • 2021 College of Engineering Faculty Fellow
  • 2018 NSF CAREER Award
  • 2017 Dick Sioui Teaching Award in Chemical Engineering
  • 2014 American Chemical Society Doctoral New Investigator Award

Research Overview

Development of detailed microkinetic models for complex reacting systems; automating the discovery and calculation of reaction pathways; heterogeneous catalysis

Computational Modeling Lab

The primary focus of our research is the development of detailed microkinetic models for complex reacting systems, like combustion, heterogeneous catalysis, and bio-fuel processing.

Computational Modeling Lab

Selected Publications

  • E.J. Mazeau, P. Satpute, K. Blondal, C.F. Goldsmith, R.H. West, Automated Mechanism Generation Using Linear Scaling Relationships and Sensitivity Analyses Applied to Catalytic Partial Oxidation of Methane, ACS Catalysis 11 (12), 2021, 7114-7125. 10.1021/acscatal.0c04100
  • M. Liu, A. Grinberg Dana, M.S. Johnson, M.J. Goldman, A. Jocher, A.M. Payne, C.A. Grambow, K. Han, N.W. Yee, E.J. Mazeau, K. Blondal, R.H. West, C.F. Goldsmith, W.H. Green, Reaction Mechanism Generator v3.0: Advances in Automatic Mechanism Generation, Journal of Chemical Information and Modeling 61 (6), 2021, 2686-2696. 10.1021/acs.jcim.0c01480
  • K. Blondal, J. Jelic, E. Mazeau, F. Studt, R.H. West, C.F. Goldsmith, Computer-Generated Kinetics for Coupled Heterogeneous/ Homogeneous Systems: A Case Study in Catalytic Combustion of Methane on Platinum, Industrial & Engineering Chemistry Research 58 (38), 2019, 17682-17691. 10.1021/acs.iecr.9b01464
  • B.L. Slakman, R.H. West, Kinetic Solvent Effects in Organic Reactions, Journal of Physical Organic Chemistry, 32, 2019, e3904. 10.1002/poc.3904
  • S.K. Sirumalla, M.A. Mayer, K.E. Niemeyer, R.H. West Assessing Impacts of Discrepancies in Model Parameters on Autoignition Model Performance: A Case Study Using Butanol, Combustion and Flame, 190, 2018, 284-292. j.combustflame.2017.11.018
  • P.L. Bhoorasingh, B.L. Slakman, F. Seyedzadeh Khanshan, J. Cain, R.H. West, Automated Transition State Theory Calculations for High- Throughput Kinetics, The Journal of Physical Chemistry A, 121, 2017, 6896-6904. 10.1021/acs.jpca.7b07361
  • C.F. Goldsmith, R.H. West, Automatic Generation of Microkinetic Mechanisms for Heterogeneous Catalysis, The Journal of Physical Chemistry C, 121(18), 2017, 9970-9981. 10.1021/acs.jpcc.7b02133
Google Scholar profile


Aug 04, 2023

Developing a Computer Model for Carbon Dioxide Conversion

ChE Associate Professor Richard West, ChE/COS Assistant Professor Magda Barecka, and ChE Assistant Professor Qing Zhao were awarded a $500,000 grant for “Accelerating Electrocatalyst Innovation: High-Throughput Automated Microkinetic, Multiscale, and Techno-economic Modeling” as part of the Creating Revolutionary Energy and Technology Endeavors (CREATE) Exploratory Topic managed by the Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy (ARPA-E).


Dec 13, 2021

I&EC Research’s 2021 Class of Influential Researchers

ChE/BioE Associate Professor Eno Ebong, ChE Assistant Professor Sidi Bencherif, and ChE Associate Professor Richard West were featured on the cover of I&EC Research as 3 of 36 scientists recognized as the 2021 Class of Influential Researchers.

Jan 27, 2020

Spring 2020 PEAK Experiences Awardees

Congratulations to the COE student recipients of the Spring 2020 PEAK Experiences Awards. The PEAK Experiences Awards are a progressively structured sequence of opportunities designed to support learners as they continue climbing to new heights of achievement in undergraduate research and creative endeavor throughout their Northeastern journeys. BASE CAMP AWARDS Developing HPLC Methods for Characterizing […]

Photo of Richard West


Sep 09, 2019

West to Work on Collaborative NSF Grant to Further Develop Cantera Open-Source Modeling Software

ChE Associate Professor Richard West is part of a $2.5M NSF collaborative effort to further develop and support the successful and popular open-source modeling software Cantera, a suite of tools for problems involving chemical kinetics, thermodynamics, and transport processes.


Apr 05, 2019

Congratulations RISE:2019 Winners

Congratulations to our engineering students who won awards at the RISE:2019 Research, Innovation and Scholarship Expo!


Feb 21, 2019

West's Research Makes the Cover the Journal of Physical Organic Chemistry

The article “Kinetic solvent effects in organic reactions” by ChE Associate Professor Richard West’s group recently made the cover of the March 2019 Issue of the Journal of Physical Organic Chemistry.


Aug 09, 2018

Creating a New Autonomous System

ChE Associate Professor Richard West and Michael Burke from Columbia University were awarded a $450K NSF collaborative grant for creating “Autonomous Systems for Experimental and Computational Data Generation and Data-Driven Modeling of Combustion Kinetics”.

Apr 24, 2018

Honoring Highest Achievements

Congratulations to the COE faculty and students that were honored at the 2018 Academic Honors Convocation.


Mar 13, 2018

West awarded NSF CAREER Award

ChE Assistant Professor Richard West was awarded a $503K NSF CAREER Award for Predictive kinetic modeling of halogenated hydrocarbon combustion.


Feb 20, 2018

Richard West Assists Cantera in Securing Fiscal Sponsorship from NumFOCUS.

ChE Assistant Professor Richard West is a member of the leadership team through which Cantera has just secured fiscal sponsorship from NumFOCUS. Cantera is an open-access software suite which helps users solve problems involving thermodynamics, chemical reaction rates, and fluid transport processes. NumFOCUS is a nonprofit with a mission to promote sustainable high-level programming languages, […]

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