northeastern university seal

Richard West

Associate Professor & Associate Chair of Graduate Studies,  Chemical Engineering


Social Media


  • 617.373.5163

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 two separate areas of catalytic materials research: the understanding of flame aerosol catalyst synthesis, and 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

  • 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

Department Research Areas

Selected Publications

  • R.H. West, C.F. Goldsmith, The Impact of Roaming Radical Reactions on Combustion Properties of Transportation Fuels, Combustion and Flame, 194, 2018, 387-395
  • 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
  • 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
  • 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
  • K. Han, W.H. Green, R.H. West, On-the-fly Pruning for Rate-Based Reaction Mechanism Generation, Computers & Chemical Engineering, 100, 2017, 1-8
  • F. Seyedzadeh Khanshan, R.H. West, Developing Detailed Kinetic Models of Syngas Production from Bio-Oil Gasification Using Reaction Mechanism Generator (RMG), Fuel, 163, 2016, 25-33
  • B.L. Slakman, H. Simka, H. Reddy, R.H. West, Extending Reaction Mechanism Generator to Silicon Hydride Chemistry, Industrial & Engineering Chemistry Research, 55(49), 2016, 12507-12515
Photo of 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, […]


Jan 31, 2018

Richard West elected to Executive Committee of the Eastern States Section of the Combustion Institute

Richard West has been elected to the Executive Committee of the Eastern States Section of the Combustion Institute. Richard has also recently hosted the 36th Regional Meeting on Kinetics and Dynamics at Northeastern's Boston campus, and co-authored a report following from a two-day workshop at the 10th US National Meeting of the Combustion Institute last […]

Aug 18, 2016

Kinetic Models of Combustion

ChE Assistant Professor Richard West was awarded a $260K NSF grant for "Resolving discrepancies in detailed kinetic models of combustion via automated transition state theory calculations".

May 26, 2016

West’s Paper is 3rd Most Downloaded Article on Computer Physics Communications

Assistant Professor Richard West’s paper “Reaction Mechanism Generator: Automatic construction of chemical kinetic mechanisms” was ranked third in the category of Most Downloaded Computer Physics Communications Articles

View All Related News