Professor (Thomas C. DeLoach Jr. Endowed Professorship)
Email Address
Office Building
Ford ES&T
Office Room Number

The Flaherty Research Group advances sustainable manufacturing of chemicals and energy carriers by combining expertise in material synthesis, kinetic and spectroscopic methods, and mechanistic insight of chemistry at surfaces. Research focuses on developing fundamental insight to the design of catalytic active sites and reaction mechanisms that guide the creation of improved catalysts. Their research group discovered and explained catalytic phenomena that emerge at complex and dynamic interfaces. Seminal contributions include revealing catalytic consequences of liquids within microporous materials; explaining structure-function-property relationships for bimetallic catalysts; pioneering spectrokinetic investigations; establishing links between electrocatalysis and thermocatalysis; discovering solvent-derived surface redox mediators; and creating materials for selective hydrogenolysis and hydrodeoxygenation reactions.

David Flaherty, PhD is a Professor in the School of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering at Georgia Tech since June 2023 (starting Summer 2023, previously at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign). His research focuses on developing the science and application of catalysis in the pursuit of sustainability. In recent years, his group’s contributions have been featured in Science, Nature Catalysis, Journal of the American Chemical Society, ACS Catalysis, Journal of Catalysis and other prestigious journals. Dr. Flaherty has received several recognitions for excellence and innovation in catalysis including the Eastman Foundation Distinguished Lecturer in Catalysis, Department of Energy Early Career Award, and the National Science Foundation CAREER Award. Dr. Flaherty engages frequently with industry to translate the groups scientific achievements from the lab into practice. Through university-industry partnerships, the group has filed multiple patents disclosing synthesis of catalytic materials and development of processes. Beyond his research activities, Dr. Flaherty enjoys teaching topics in chemical engineering in the classroom (kinetics, separations, transport, reaction engineering) and mentoring the next generation of research leaders and educators.

Prof. Flaherty received his B.S. in Chemical Engineering from the University of California, Berkeley and his Ph.D. in Chemical Engineering from the University of Texas at Austin under the direction of Prof. C. Buddie Mullins. He conducted postdoctoral work at the University of California, Berkeley with Prof. Enrique Iglesia.

Honors and Awards:

  • Distinguished Promotion Award, University of Illinois (2022)
  • Dean’s Professorial Scholar, College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, University of Illinois (2022)
  • Dean’s Award for Research Excellence, College of Engineering, University of Illinois (2022)
  • Eastman Foundation Distinguished Lecturer in Catalysis, University of California, Berkeley (2021)
  • Department of Energy, Early Career Award (2019)
  • Early Career Advisory Board, ACS Catalysis (2019)
  • Dean’s Award for Research Excellence, College of Engineering, University of Illinois (2018)
  • Early Career Research Award, American Vacuum Society, Prairie Chapter (2018)
  • National Science Foundation, CAREER Award (2016)
  • ACS PRF, Doctoral New Investigator Award (2014)

Teaching Honors

  • School of Chemical Sciences, Excellence in Teaching (2015)
  • Seven times included on the "List of Teachers Ranked as Excellent by Their Students" (2013-2022)
  • Named to the College of Engineering "Outstanding Advisors List" (2014, 2015)

Ph.D., University of Texas at Austin, 2010

B.S., University of California at Berkeley, 2004