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Daniel Ess, Ph.D.

Principal InvestigatorCurriculum Vitae

Daniel H. Ess received a B.S. degree in biochemistry at Brigham Young University (BYU) in 2000. Following two years of volunteer service for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, he completed his Ph.D. at University of California, Los Angeles (2003− 2007) in computational organic chemistry. From 2007−2009 he was appointed as a postdoc at both The Scripps Research Institute-Florida and Caltech. Following another postdoc appointment at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, he began his independent career at BYU as an assistant professor in the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry. In 2016 he was promoted to associate professor and 2020 to professor. He currently works with petrochemical companies to computationally design catalysts. He is also the director of a National Science Foundation funded Research Experiences for Undergraduate (REU) site at BYU ( as well as the creator and director of chemistry and biochemistrycamps for children ages 9−14 ( Daniel enjoys listening to live music, watching all sports, and taking care of his four children.

My group uses and develops quantum-chemistry and molecular dynamics methods to discover mechanisms, reactivity principles, and selectivity for experimentally important chemical reactions related to catalysis and energy. My group emphasizes making predictions and designing catalysts that are then realized in the laboratory. This naturally leads to close collaboration with experimental groups in academia and industry. Current areas of research are: (1) Computational catalyst design with industrial application, (2) Computational studies of alkane C-H functionalization reactions, (3) Computational studies on multinuclear catalysis, and (4) Developing programs and running molecular dynamics simulations of organometallic reactions.”

BS, Brigham Young University (2000)

Ph.D., University of California, Los Angeles (2007)

Postdoctoral Scholar, Caltech (2007-2009)

Postdoctoral Scholar, The Scripps Research Institute, Scripps Florida (2007-2009)

Postdoctoral Scholar, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (2009-2010)