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Omar Farha


Ph.D.: University of California - Los Angeles 2006; B.S.: University of California - Los Angeles 2002; A.A.: Fullerton College 1999


Professor of Chemistry

Dow Chemical Company Research Professor in Chemistry

International Institute for Nanotechnology

Director of Graduate Admissions

Professor of Chemical and Biological Engineering (Courtesy Appointment)

Associate Editor of ACS Applied Materials & Interfaces

Research Statement:

Prof. Farha’s research seeks to solve exciting problems in chemistry and materials science ranging from energy and environment related applications to challenges in national defense by employing atomically precise functional materials.  By exploiting the modular nature of metal–organic frameworks (MOFs) and porous organic polymers (POPs), we work to fundamentally understand the role of three-dimensional architecture in modifying a material’s function for applications in gas storage and separation, catalysis, water remediation and detoxification of chemical warfare agent simulants.

Selected Publications:

M. R. Mian, H. Chen, R. Cao, K. O. Kirlikovali, R. Q. Snurr, T. Islamoglu and O. K. Farha, “Insights into the Catalytic Hydrolysis of Organophosphonates at M-OH Sites of Azolate-based Metal-Organic Frameworks,” J. Am. Chem. Soc., 2021, 143, 9893-9900. DOI: 10.1021/jacs.1c03901.

K. Ma, M. C. Wasson, X. Wang, X. Zhang, K. B. Idrees, Z. Chen, Y. Wu, S-J. Lee, R. Cao, Y. Chen, L. Yang, F. A. Son, T. Islamoglu, G. W. Peterson, J. J. Mahle and O. K. Farha, “Near-instantaneous catalytic hydrolysis of organophosphorus nerve agents with zirconium-based MOF/hydrogel composites,” Chem Catalysis, 2021, 1, 721-733. DOI: 10.1016/j.checat.2021.06.008.

Y. Chen, X. Zhang, X. Wang, R. J. Drout, M. R. Mian, R. Cao, K. Ma, Q. Xia, Z. Li and O. K. Farha, “Insights into the Structure-Activity Relationship in Aerobic Alcohol Oxidation over a Metal-Organic Framework-Supported Molybdenum(VI) Catalyst,” J. Am. Chem. Soc., 2021, 143, 4302–4310. DOI: 10.1021/jacs.0c12963.

D. Jung, K. O. Kirlikovali, Z. Chen, A. Atilgan, R. Cao, T. Islamoglu and O. K. Farha, “An Amidoxime-Functionalized Porous Reactive Fiber against Toxic Chemicals,” ACS Mater. Let., 2021, 3, 320–326. DOI: 10.1021/acsmaterialslett.0c00598.

D. Jung, P. Das, A. Atilgan, P. Li, J. T. Hupp, T. Islamoglu, J. A. Kalow and O. K. Farha, “Reactive Porous Polymers for Detoxification of a Chemical Warfare Agent Simulant,” Chem. Mat., 2020, 32, 9299–9306. DOI: 10.1021/acs.chemmater.0c03160.

M. C. Wasson, X. Zhang, K. Otake, A. S. Rosen, S. Alayoglu, M. D. Krzyaniak, Z. Chen, L. R. Redfern, L. Robison, F. A. Son, Y. Chen, T. Islamoglu,1 J. M. Notestein, R. Q. Snurr, M. R. Wasielewski and O. K. Farha, “Supramolecular Directed Porous Assembly of Atomically Precise Catalytically Active Cerium Nanoclusters,” Chem. Mat., 2020, 32, 8522–8529. DOI: 10.1021/acs.chemmater.0c02740.

R. M. Bullock, J. G. Chen, L. Gagliardi, P. J. Chirik, O. K. Farha, C. H. Hendon, C. W. Jones, J. A. Keith, J. Klosin, S. D. Minteer, R. H. Morris, A. T. Radosevich, T. B. Rauchfuss, N. A. Strotman, A. Vojvodic, T. R. Ward, J. Y. Yang and Y. Surendranath, “Using Nature’s Blueprint to Enable Catalysis with Earth-Abundant Metals,” Science, 2020, 369, Issue 6505, eabc3183. DOI: 10.1126/science.abc3183.

F. A. Son, M. C. Wasson, T. Islamoglu, Z. Chen, X. Gong, S. L. Hanna, J. Lyu, X. Wang, K. B. Idrees, J. J. Mahle, G. W. Peterson and O. K. Farha, “Uncovering the role of metal–organic framework topology on the capture and reactivity of chemical warfare agents,” Chem. Mat., 2020, 32, 4609–4617. DOI: 10.1021/acs.chemmater.0c00986.

Z. Chen, P. Li, R. Anderson, X. Wang, X. Zhang, L. Robison, L. R. Redfern, S. Moribe, T. Islamoglu, D. A. Gómez-Gualdrón, T. Yildirim, J. F. Stoddart and O. K. Farha, “Balancing Volumetric and Gravimetric Uptake in Highly Porous Materials for Clean Energy,” Science, 2020, 368, 297-303. DOI: 10.1126/science.aaz8881. Corresponding Author. Chemical & Engineering News, 98 (16), Page 5, April 27, 2020.

J. Lyu, X. Gong, S-J. Lee, K. Gnanasekaran, X. Zhang, M. C. Wasson, X. Wang, P. Bai, X. Guo, N. C. Gianneschi and O. K. Farha, “Phase Transitions in Metal–Organic Frameworks Directly Monitored through In Situ Variable Temperature Liquid-Cell Transmission Electron Microscopy and In Situ X-Ray Diffraction,” J. Am. Chem. Soc., 2020, 142, 4609-4615. DOI:10.1021/jacs.0c00542.

Y. Chen, P. Li, J. Zhou, C. T. Buru, L. Ðorđević, P. Li, X. Zhang, M. M. Cetin, J. F. Stoddart, S. I. Stupp, M. R. Wasielewski and O. K. Farha, “Integration of Enzymes and Photosensitizers in a Hierarchical Mes-oporous Metal–Organic Framework for Light-Driven CO2 Reduction,” J. Am. Chem. Soc., 2020, 142, 1768-1773. DOI:10.1021/jacs.9b12828.

Y. Chen, P. Li, H. Noh, C-W. Kung, C. T. Buru, X. Wang, X. Zhang and O. K. Farha, “Stabilization of Formate Dehydrogenase in a Metal–Organic Framework for Bioelectrocatalytic Reduction of CO2,” Angew. Chem. Int. Ed., 2019, 58, 7682-7686. DOI:10.1002/anie.201901981.

S. Kato; K.-i. Otake; H. Chen; I. Akpinar; C. T. Buru; T. Islamoglu; R. Q. Snurr and O. K. Farha, "Zirconium-Based Metal–Organic Frameworks for the Removal of Protein-Bound Uremic Toxin from Human Serum Albumin," J. Am. Chem. Soc. 2019, 141, 2568-2576. DOI: 10.1021/jacs.8b12525.

Z. Chen, K. Ma, J. J. Mahle, H. Wang, Z. H. Syed, A. Atilgan, Y. Chen, J. H. Xin, T. Islamoglu, G. W. Peterson and O. K. Farha, “Integration of Metal-Organic Frameworks on Protective Layers for Destruction of Nerve Agents under Relevant Conditions,” J. Am. Chem. Soc., 2019, 141, 20016-20021. DOI:10.1021/jacs.9b11172.

K. Ma; T. Islamoglu; Z. Chen; P. Li; M. C. Wasson; Y. Chen; Y. Wang; G. W. Peterson; J. H. Xin and O. K. Farha, "Scalable and Template-Free Aqueous Synthesis of Zirconium-Based Metal–Organic Framework Coating on Textile Fiber," J. Am. Chem. Soc. 2019, 141, 15626-15633. DOI: 10.1021/jacs.9b07301.

X. Wang, P. Li, X. Zhang, K. Otake, Y. Cui, J. Lyu, M. D. Krzyaniak, Y. Zhang, Z. Li, J. Liu, C. T. Buru, T. Islamoglu, M. R. Wasielewski, Z. Li and O. K. Farha, “Vanadium Catalyst on Isostructural Transition Metal-, Lanthanide- and Actinide-based Metal-Organic Frameworks for Alcohol Oxidation,” J. Am. Chem. Soc., 2019, 141, 8306-8314. DOI: 10.1021/jacs.9b02603.

C. T. Buru, D. G. Chica, A. E. Platero-Prats, K. W. Chapman, M. G. Kanatzidis and O. K. Farha, “Thermally Induced Migration of a Polyoxometalate within a Metal–Organic Framework and its Effect on Catalytic Sulfide Oxidation,” J. Mater. Chem. A, 2018, 6, 7389 - 7394. DOI: 10.1039/C8TA02562B.

Y. Chen, P. Li, J. A. Modica, R. J. Drout and O. K. Farha, “Acid-Resistant Mesoporous Metal–Organic Framework Toward Oral Insulin Delivery: Protein Encapsulation, Protection & Release,” J. Am. Chem. Soc., 2018, 140, 5678-5681. DOI:10.1021/jacs.8b02089.

X. Zhang, Z. Huang, M. Ferrandon, D. Yang, L. Robison, P. Li, T. C. Wang, M. Delferro and O. K. Farha, “Catalytic Chemoselective Functionalization of Methane in a Metal−Organic Framework,” Nature Catalysis, 2018, 1, 356–362. DOI:10.1038/s41929-018-0069-6.

P. Li, Q. Chen, T. C. Wang, N. A. Vermeulen, B. L. Mehdi, A. Dohnalkova, N. D. Browning, D. Shen, R. Anderson, D. A. Gómez-Gualdrón, J. Jagiello, A. M. Asiri, J. F. Stoddart, O. K. Farha, “Hierarchically engineered mesoporous metal–organic frameworks toward cell-free immobilized enzyme systems,” Chem, 2018, 4, 1022–1034. DOI:10.1016/j.chempr.2018.03.001.

T. Islamoglu, M. A. Ortuño, E. Proussaloglou, A. J. Howarth, N. A. Vermeulen, A. Atilgan, A. M. Asiri, C. J. Cramer and O. K. Farha, “Presence vs. proximity: the role of pendant amines in the catalytic hydrolysis of a nerve agent simulant,” Angew. Chem. Int. Ed., 2018, 57, 1949-1953. DOI:10.1002/anie.201712645.

R. J. Drout; K. Otake; A. J. Howarth; T. Islamoglu; L. Zhu; C. Xiao; S. Wang and O. K. Farha, "Efficient Capture of Perrhenate and Pertechnetate by a Mesoporous Zr Metal–Organic Framework and Examination of Anion Binding Motifs," Chem. Mater. 2018, 30, 1277-1284. DOI: 10.1021/acs.chemmater.7b04619.

P. Li, N. A. Vermeulen, C. D. Malliakas, D. A. Gómez-Gualdrón, A. J. Howarth, B. L. Mehdi, A. Dohnalkova, N. D. Browning, M. O'Keeffe and O. K. Farha, “Bottom-Up Construction of a Superstructure in a Porous Uranium–Organic Crystal,” Science, 2017, 356, 624-627. DOI:10.1126/science.aam7851.

P. Li, J. A. Modica, A. J. Howarth, E. Vargas L., P. Z. Moghadam, R. Q. Snurr, M. Mrksich, J. T. Hupp and O. K. Farha, “Toward Design rules for enzyme immobilization in hierarchical mesoporous metal-organic frameworks,” Chem, 2016, 1, 154-169. DOI:10.1016/j.chempr.2016.05.001.

Selected Awards:

  • Inaugural recipients of the American Association for Advances in Functional Materials (AAAFM)-Stoddart award (UCLA, 2021)
  • 2021 Barrer Lectureship (Pennsylvania State University, 2021)
  • “Highly Cited Researchers in Chemistry” (Clarivate Analytics, 2020)
  • Elected as Fellow of the Academy of Arab Scientists (2020)
  • 2020 ACS ENFL Emerging Researcher Award (2020)
  • Appointed to the Dow Chemical Company Research Professorship in Chemistry (2020)
  • Elected as Foreign Fellow of the European Academy of Sciences (EurASc, 2020)
  • Kuwait Prize – Applied Sciences (Kuwait Foundation for the Advancment of Science, 2019)
  • “Highly Cited Researchers in Chemistry” (Clarivate Analytics, 2019)
  • JSCC International Award for Creative Work (Japan Society of Coordination Chemistry, 2019)
  • 2019 Makhlouf Haddadin Lecturer (The American University of Beirut, 2019)
  • “Highly Cited Researchers in Chemistry” (Clarivate Analytics, 2018)
  • 2018 Summer Lecturer (University of Wyoming, 2018)
  • Elected as Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS, 2017)
  • “Highly Cited Researchers in Chemistry” (Clarivate Analytics, 2017)
  • Satinder Ahuja Award for Young Investigators in Separation Science (ACS, 2017)
  • Thomson Reuters one of the “Highly Cited Researchers”, (Thomson Reuters, 2014, 2015, 2016)
  • “Kavli Emerging Leader Lecturer” for the ACS National Meeting in Philadelphia (Kavli Foundation/ACS, 2016)
  • Environment, Sustainability and Energy Division Early Career Award (RSC, 2015)
  • 2015 Hawthorne Lecturer (UCLA, 2015)
  • Fellow of the Royal Society of Chemistry (RSC, 2015)


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