Skip to main content

Omar Farha


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


Charles E. and Emma H. Morrison Professor in Chemistry

International Institute for Nanotechnology

Paula M. Trienens Institute for Sustainability and Energy

Professor of Chemical and Biological Engineering (Courtesy Appointment)

Executive 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), hydrogen-bonded organic frameworks (HOFs), 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, separations (CO2, H2O, hydrocarbons, etc.) and delivery (H2, O2, etc.). As well, applications for catalysis, water remediation and detoxification of chemical warfare agent simulants.

Selected Publications:

B. Lal, K. B. Idrees, H. Xie, C. S. Smoljan, S. Shafaie, T. Islamoglu and O. K. Farha, “Pore Aperture Control Toward Size-Exclusion-Based Hydrocarbon Separations,” Angew. Cheme., 2023, 62, e202219053. DOI: 10.1002/anie.202219053.

Y. Chen, K. B. Idrees, M. R. Mian, F. A. Son, C. Zhang, X. Wang, Z. Li and O. K. Farha, “Reticular Design of Precise Linker Installation into a Zirconium Metal–Organic Framework to Reinforce Hydrolytic Stability,” J. Am. Chem. Soc., 2023. 145, 3055–3063. DOI: 10.1021/jacs.2c11830.

T-Y. Tai, F. Sha, X. Wang, X. Wang, K. Ma, K. O. Kirlikovali, S. Su, T. Islamoglu and O. K. Farha, “Leveraging Isothermal Titration Calorimetry to Explore Structure-Property Relationships of Protein Immobilization in Metal-Organic Frameworks,” Angew. Cheme., 2022, 134, e202209110. DOI: 10.1002/ange.202209110.

K. B. Idrees, Z. Li, H. Xie, K. O. Kirlikovali, M. Kazem-Rostami, X. Wang, X. Wang, T-Y. Tai, T. Islamoglu, J. F. Stoddart, R. Q. Snurr and O. K. Farha, “Separation of Aromatic Hydrocarbons In Porous Materials,” J. Am. Chem. Soc., 2022, 144, 12212–12218. DOI:10.1021/jacs.2c03114.

572. Y. Wu, X. Wang, X. Gong, A. Atilgan, K. O. Kirlikovali, K. Ma, N. C. Gianneschi, Z. Li, X. Zhang and O. K. Farha, “Catalytic Degradation of Polyethylene Terephthalate Using a Phase-Transitional Zirconium-Based Metal-Organic Framework,” Angew. Chem. 2022, 61, e202117528. DOI: 10.1002/anie.202117528.

Y. Chen, S. Ahn, M. R. Mian, X. Wang, Q. Ma, F. A. Son, L. Yang, K. Ma, X. Zhang, Z. Li, J. M. Notestein and O. K. Farha, “Modulating Chemical Environments of Metal–Organic Framework-Supported Molybdenum(VI) Catalysts for Insights into the Structure-Activity Relationship in Cyclohexene Epoxidation,” J. Am. Chem. Soc., 2022, 144, 3554–3563 DOI: 10.1021/jacs.1c12421.

S. L. Hanna, S. Chheda R. Anderson, D. Ray, C. D. Malliakas, K. Otake, P. Li, P. Li, L. Robison, J. G. Knapp, T. Islamoglu, X. Zhang, J. F. Stoddart, D. A. Gomez-Gualdron, L. Gagliardi and O. K. Farha, “Discovery of Spontaneous De-Interpenetration Through Charged Point-Point Repulsions,” Chem, 2021, 8, 1-18. DOI: 10.1016/j.chempr.2021.10.027.

L. Feng, Y. Qiu, Q-H. Guo, Z. Chen, J. S. W. Seale, K. He, H. Wu, Y. Feng, O. K. Farha, R. D. Astumian and J. F. Stoddart, “Mechanisorption on Metal-Organic Frameworks,” Science, 2021, 374 (6572), 1215-1221. DOI: 10.1126/science.abk1391

Z. Chen, M. R. Mian, S-J. Lee, H. Chen, X. Zhang, K. O. Kirlikovali, S. Shulda, P. Melix, A. S. Rosen,P. A. Parilla, T. Gennett, R. Q. Snurr, T. Islamoglu, T. Yildirim and O. K. Farha, “Fine-Tuning A Robust Metal–Organic Framework Towards Enhanced Clean Energy Gas Storage,” J. Am. Chem. Soc., 2021, 143, 18838–18843. DOI: 10.1021/jacs.1c08749.

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.

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.

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.

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.

Z. Chen, P. Li, X. Zhang, P. Li, M. C. Wasson, T. Islamoglu, J. F. Stoddart and O. K. Farha, “Reticular Access to Highly Porous acs-MOFs with Rigid Trigonal Prismatic Linkers for Water Sorption,” J. Am. Chem. Soc., 2019, 141, 2900–2905. DOI: 10.1021/jacs.8b13710.

S. Wang, Y. Chen, S. Wang, P. Li, C. A. Mirkin and O. K. Farha, “DNA-Functionalized Metal-Organic Framework Nanoparticles for Intra-cellular Delivery of Proteins,” J. Am. Chem. Soc., 2019, 141, 2215–2219. DOI: 10.1021/jacs.8b12705.

S. Kato, K. 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.

Y. Zhang, X. Zhang, J. Lyu, K.-i. Otake, X. Wang, L. R. Redfern, C. D. Malliakas, Z. Li, T. Islamoglu, B. Wang, O. K. Farha, “A Flexible Metal–Organic Framework with 4-Connected Zr6 Nodes,” J. Am. Chem. Soc. 2018, 140, 11179-11183.

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, 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.

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.

Selected Awards:

  • Herman Pines Award (UOP and Catalysis Club of Chicago, 2023)
  • UCLA Chemistry and Biochemistry Alumni Award – delivered the commencement address (UCLA, 2023)
  • 2023 Krug Lectureship (The University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, Alpha Chi Sigma, 2023)
  • “Highly Cited Researchers in Chemistry” (Clarivate Analytics, 2022)
  • “Researchers to Know at Illinois’ Universities (Illinois Science and Technology Coalition, 2022)
  • The Society for the Advancement of Science and Technology in the Arab World (2022)
  • Charles E. and Emma H. Morrison Professorship (2022)
  • “Top 100 World’s Most Highly-Cited Chemists, Farha is #35” (, 2022)
  • “Highly Cited Researchers in Chemistry” (Clarivate Analytics, 2021)
  • 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)