Gaurav Giri

Giri, Gaurav

Primary Appointment

Chemical Engineering

Contact Information

PO BOX 400741 102 Engineer's Way
Telephone: 434-924-1351

Research Interests

Pharmaceutical and organic molecule crystallization, polymorphism, metal-organic frameworks for energy storage and sensing, thin films, microfluidics

Research Description

Small organic molecules have had a dramatic impact on our health and daily life over the past century. Small molecule pharmaceuticals have increased human lifespans, and organic pigments are ubiquitous in textiles and displays. This impact is set to accelerate in the near future, as small molecules are explored for novel applications such as organic electronics, or metal-organic frameworks for chemical separations, catalysis and sensing. One of the major barriers for using small organic molecules for new applications is the limited understanding we possess on how molecules aggregate together to form different phases and morphologies. Different phases and morphologies can have wildly varying physical, chemical and physiological properties. If we do not control the phase formation of small molecules, we cannot predict its behavior for any application.

Our research group is focused on studying the fundamental processes (thermodynamic, kinetic, mechanical and optical) that lead to different organic molecule and metal organic framework morphologies, and utilizing this knowledge to create innovative methods of controlling microstructure and phase for pharmaceutical and energy applications. Microfluidics and X-ray diffraction analysis methods feature strongly in our program to study organic molecule packing and morphology.

Pharmaceutical polymorphs and co-crystals in-flow for physiochemical testing
Our group is constructing a microfluidic program that can generate varying crystal structures of potential pharmaceutical compounds in-flow. These structures can be easily handled to test their physical and biological properties, resulting in a rapid integrated microfluidic process that generates the crystal structures and tests the physical and biological properties of candidate pharmaceutical molecules.

Understanding phase transformations of small molecules
Microfluidics and x-ray diffraction is used to create methods to generate complete thermodynamic and kinetic phase diagrams for small organic molecules rapidly and without the use of large amounts of material. These data will be invaluable in testing hypotheses of the relationship between a compound’s chemical structure and its physical micro/macrostructure, applicable to small molecule pharmaceuticals, organic semiconductors and organic nanoparticles.

Harnessing Metal Organic Framework crystal growth for electronic and chemical application
Metal organic frameworks are an emerging class of materials that show promise for various applications such as sensing, electronics and energy storage. Using crystal growth understanding, our group is exploring MOF crystallization, polymorphism and thin film formation. We are also studying the sensitivity and stability of MOFs for sensing, catalysis, storage, separation and electronics.

Selected Publications