Jennifer Dionne and Matthew Kanan to lead TomKat Center for Sustainable Energy

TomKat center direcgors
Jennifer Dionne and Matthew Kanan are the new co-directors of the TomKat Center for Sustainable Energy.

JENNIFER DIONNE and MATTHEW KANAN are taking over the leadership of Stanford’s TomKat Center for Sustainable Energy.

“Matt and Jen are stars in energy research. It’s been great to watch their research trajectories on campus over the past 10 years,” said KAM MOLER, vice provost and dean of research. “Now they will enthusiastically lead TomKat to create solutions for one of our most urgent challenges.”

Dionne, an associate professor of materials science and engineering, develops methods to directly image and control dynamic nanoscale processes, such as optical energy conversion and storage. Kanan, associate professor of chemistry, develops new catalysts and chemical reactions for applications in renewable energy and utilization of captured carbon dioxide.

“We are thrilled to have not one but two outstanding faculty who will be jointly leading the TomKat Center,” said ARUN MAJUMDAR, co-director of the Precourt Institute for Energy and professor of mechanical engineering and of photon science. “Matt brings more than a decade of experience in using CO2 to make products like sustainable fuel and plastic. Jen is a foremost researcher in nanophotonics, using tailored light-matter interactions at the nanoscale to enable high-efficiency photovoltaics and photocatalysis.”

Since its founding in 2009 with a gift from Stanford alumni KAT TAYLOR and TOM STEYER, the TomKat Center has funded 33 early-stage research projects for $7.6 million involving 50 faculty members. TomKat’s Innovation Transfer Program, started in 2013, has awarded $4.1 million to help 156 Stanford faculty, students and staff begin to move their inventions toward commercialization, resulting in $210 million in follow-on funding, and startups employing almost 600 people and generating more than $50 million in annual revenue. The center also supports education through two-year postdoctoral fellowships, summer internships at associated startups, research fellowships for undergraduates and grants to support experiential education.

TomKat Center founding director STACEY BENT is becoming Stanford’s vice provost for graduate education and postdoctoral affairs. A professor of chemical engineering, Bent steps down from her TomKat role and that of senior associate dean for faculty and academic affairs in the School of Engineering to fulfill her new responsibilities.

“Under Stacey’s leadership, the TomKat Center has created an invaluable set of programs for students and faculty alike,” said SALLY BENSON, professor of energy resources engineering and co-director with Majumdar of the Precourt Institute. “TomKat’s programs spurred a huge step-change in innovation culture of the energy and sustainability community.”

Read more on the Stanford Energy website.