Alex K. Chew

5th year PhD Candidate

Van Lehn Group

Department of Chemical and Biological Engineering

University of Wisconsin-Madison

Email: akchew@wisc.edu

About Me

I was raised in Brooklyn, NY, where I graduated with a Dual Bachelors/Masters degree at NYU Tandon School of Engineering in 2016. I am currently a PhD candidate in the Van Lehn Group at UW-Madison, where I am applying molecular simulations and machine learning to engineer new chemical processes and materials. I am passionate about developing flexible computer codes that are transferrable to other systems and giving back to the community through tutorials. Outside of the office, I enjoy baking with my fiancée (Grace Nguyen), playing tennis, flying drones, and drawing digital art.

Starting in June 2021, I plan to join the Materials Science team at Schrödinger to integrate computational chemistry and machine learning for the design of new materials or processes.

Publications

  1. T. W. Walker*, A. K. Chew*, H. Li, B. Demir, Z. C. Zhang, G. W. Huber, R. C. Van Lehn, and J. A. Dumesic. “Universal kinetic solvent effects in acid-catalyzed reactions of biomass-derived oxygenates.” Energy & Environmental Science 2018, https://doi.org/10.1039/C7EE03432F. Featured as Energy & Environmental Science 2018 HOT articles collection. [Link] [Data]

  2. A. K. Chew and R. C. Van Lehn. “Effect of Core Morphology on the Structural Asymmetry of Alkanethiol Monolayer-Protected Gold Nanoparticles.” J. Phys. Chem. C 2018, 122 (45), 26288-26297. [Link] [Data]

  3. A. K. Chew and R. C. Van Lehn. “Quantifying the Stability of the Hydronium Ion in Organic Solvents with Molecular Dynamics Simulations.” Front. Chem. 2019, 7(439). [Link]

  4. A. K. Chew*, T. W. Walker*, B. Demir, Z. Shen, L. Witteman, J. Euclide, G. W. Huber, J. A. Dumesic, and R. C. Van Lehn. “Effect of mixed-solvent environments on the selectivity of acid-catalyzed dehydration reactions.” ACS Catalysis. 2020, 10, 1679-1691. [Link]

  5. T. W. Walker*, A. K. Chew*, R. C. Van Lehn, J. A. Dumesic, and G. W. Huber. “Rational Design of Mixed Solvent Systems for Acid-Catalyzed Biomass Conversion Processes Using a Combined Experimental, Molecular Dynamics and Machine Learning Approach.” Topics in Catalysis 2020. [Link]

  6. A. K. Chew, S. Jiang, W. Zhang, V. M. Zavala, and R. C. Van Lehn. “Fast Predictions of Liquid Acid-Catalyzed Reaction Rates Using Molecular Dynamics Simulations and Convolutional Neural Networks.” Chemical Science. 2020. [Link] [Data]

  7. T. W. Walker, N. Frelka, Z. Shen, A. K. Chew, J. Bannick, S. Grey, J. A. Dumesic, R. C. Van Lehn*, and G. W. Huber*. “Recycling of multilayer plastic packaging materials by solvent-targeted recovery and precipitation.” Science Advances. 2020, 6(47), eaba7599. [Link] [Data]

  8. A. K. Chew, B. C. Dallin, and R. C. Van Lehn. “Interplay of Ligand Properties and Core Size Dictate the Hydrophobicity of Monolayer-Protected Gold Nanoparticles.” ACS Nano. 2021,15, 3, 4534–4545. [Link]

  9. C. A. Lochbaum*, A. K. Chew*, X. Zhang, V. Rotello, R. C. Van Lehn, and J. A. Pedersen. “The lipophilicity of cationic ligands promotes irreversible adsorption of nanoparticles to lipid bilayers. ACS Nano. 2021. [Link]

  10. A. K. Chew and R. C. Van Lehn. "Molecular dynamics-derived descriptors for predicting ligand-coated gold nanoparticle behavior.” In Preparation

Presentations

Oral presentations

  1. Chew, A. K. “Clustering Algorithms.” CBE970 Computing Seminar, Madison, WI, Nov. 9, 2018. [Link]

  2. Chew A. K. “Molecular dynamics-derived Molecular Descriptors for Materials Design.” Soft Matter Group Meeting, Madison, WI, Feb. 7, 2018. [Link]

  3. Chew, A. K.; Walker, T. W.; Demir, B.; Li, H.; Zhang, Z. Conrad; Huber, G. W.; Van Lehn, R. C.; and Dumesic, J. A. “Understanding Solvent Effects in Biomass Conversion Reactions using Molecular Dynamics Simulations." American Institute of Chemical Engineers Annual Meeting, Symposium on Computational Catalysis IV: Biomass Chemistry and Chemicals Production, Pittsburgh, PA, October 28-31, 2018. [Link]

  4. Chew, A. K.; Walker, T. W.; Demir, B.; Witteman, L.; Euclide, J.; Huber, G. W.; Dumesic, J. A.; and Van Lehn, R. C. "Tuning mixed-solvent environments to direct selectivities in acid-catalyzed reactions." Midwest Thermodynamics and Statistical Mechanics Meeting, Urbana, IL, June 2-4, 2019. [Link]

  5. Chew, A. K. and Van Lehn, R. C. "Quantifying Anisotropic Properties Emerging from Uniformly Coated Gold Nanoparticles." American Institute of Chemical Engineers Annual Meeting, Symposium on Anistropic Particles: Synthesis, Characterization, Modeling, Assembly, and Applications, Pittsburgh, PA, October 28-31, 2019. [Link]

  6. Chew, A. K.; Dallin, B. C.; and Van Lehn, R. C. "Predicting Biological Interactions to Monolayer-Protected Gold Nanoparticles Using Molecular Simulation-Derived Descriptors." American Institute of Chemical Engineers Annual Meeting, Nanoparticle Coatings and Nanocoatings on Particles, Virtual Meeting, November 13-16, 2020. [Link] [iPoster] [YouTube]

  7. Chew, A. K. "Predicting the Behavior of Ligand-Coated Gold Nanoparticles using Molecular Simulation-Derived Descriptors." Soft Matter Group Meeting, Madison, WI, Feb. 11, 2021. [Link]

  8. Chew, A. K. and Van Lehn, R. C. "Predicting the Behavior of Monolayer-Protected Gold Nanoparticles Using Molecular Simulation-Derived Descriptors." American Chemical Society. Virtual SpringMeeting, April 5-16, 2021. [Link]

Poster presentations

  1. Chew, A. K.; Walker, T. W.; Huber, G. W.; Dumesic, J. A.; and Van Lehn, R. C. "Design of Solvent Composition for Acid-catalyzed Reactions of Biomass-derived Oxygenates Using Molecular Simulation-derived Observables." Midwest Thermodynamics and Statistical Mechanics Meeting, Pittsburgh, PA, June 10-12, 2018. [Link]

  2. Chew, A. K.; Jiang, S.; Huber, G. W.; Dumesic, J. A.; Zavala, V. M.; and Van Lehn, R. C. "Understanding the Effect of Solvent Mixtures on Biomass Conversion Reactions Using Molecular Dynamics Simulations" Great Lakes Bioenergy Research Center Annual Science Meeting, Lake Geneva, WI, May 21-23, 2019. [Link]

  3. Chew, A. K.; Walker, T. W.; Jiang, S., Zavala, V. M.; Huber, G. W.; Dumesic, J. A.; and Van Lehn, R. C. "Understanding the Effect of Solvent Mixtures on Biomass Conversion Reactions Using Molecular Dynamics Simulations." Hougen Symposium in Honor of Professor James A. Dumesic, Madison, WI, November 21-22, 2019. [Link]

  4. Chew, A. K.; Jiang, S.; Zhang, W.; Zavala, V. M.; and Van Lehn, R. C. "Integrating Molecular Dynamics Simulations and Machine Learning to Predict Solvent Effects on Acid-Catalyzed Reactions." Computing in Engineering Forum, Madison, WI, September 10-11, 2019. [Link]

  5. Chew, A. K.; Walker, T. W.; Huber, G. W.; Dumesic, J. A.; and Van Lehn, R. C. "Designing Mixed-Solvent Environments for Acid-Catalyzed Biomass Conversion Processes." Genomic Sciences Program Annual Principal Investigator Meeting, Washington, DC, February 24-25, 2020. [Link]

  6. Chew, A. K. "Combining Molecular Simulations and Machine Learning for Nanomaterial and Reaction Design." American Institute of Chemical Engineers Annual Meeting, Meet the Industry Candidates Poster Session, Virtual Meeting, November 13-16, 2020. [Link] [iPoster] [YouTube]