Chemical and Biological Engineering
Mohammad Atif Afzal is a PhD student in the department of chemical and biological engineering. Atif's interests lie in the design of new molecular materials with exceptional properties. His goal is to develop innovative new materials that will outperform the ones used in current optical and electronic devices.
At UB, he founded the Computational Sciences Club, which serves as a platform to bring together students who perform computational research, to share their research perspectives, organize seminars/workshops and promote collaboration. Atif's plan after graduation is to pursue a career which will allow him to contribute to scientific endeavors that will transform society.
What made you interested in your dissertation research topic?
The last century was dominated by revolutions in the physical science and I believe that this century will be dominated by comparable transformations in the computational sciences, as has been the case so far. I believe that new algorithms in combination with unprecedented computing power will allow us to solve complex problems far beyond our current horizon. For example, we can apply modern high-performance computing techniques and computational intelligence to discover the next generation of materials. This will allow us to develop materials with game-changing properties, helping us to solve the grand challenges in energy, sustainability and innovation.
Why did you decide to attend UB for your PhD?
I became interested in chemical and materials engineering when I started working as an undergraduate researcher with Professor Kantesh Balani at the Indian Institute of Technology Kanpur. Professor Balani introduced me to the exciting field of materials engineering and it was exhilarating to see how critical problems can be solved by designing new materials. After completing my undergraduate studies, I decided to further explore the field of chemical engineering and became a research associate in the group of Professor Ashutosh Sharma, the secretary of the Indian Department of Science and Technology. Professor Sharma's connection to UB's chemical engineering department, its excellent research program and world-renowned faculty motivated me to move to Buffalo for my PhD. Currently, I am working with Professor Johannes Hachmann in the area of computational materials design.
Name your favorite thing to do in Buffalo. What do you enjoy about that?
My favorite thing to do in Buffalo is to walk on break wall that separates the Black Rock Channel from the Niagara River. It is a wonderful place to get some exercise while enjoying nature and beautiful views.