11/6/14 Office of Research management team portraits

Volker Sick

Global CO2 Initiative Director
Arthur F. Thurnau Professor, Mechanical Engineering
Funded by the Blue Sky Initiative at the U-M College of Engineering

Volker Sick leads day-to-day Global CO2 operations, forges organizational partnerships, and brings together the initiative’s research teams. Sick brings years of experience as a leading scientist and administrator.  As associate vice president for research, natural sciences and engineering, Professor Volker Sick served as liaison between the Office of the Vice President of Research (OVPR) and scholarly and creative activities across the university in the natural sciences and engineering. His own research focuses on developing and applying optical imaging techniques to enable studies of mass and energy transfer with uses in research on reacting flow systems, such as internal combustion engines, and wastewater treatment. Sick has received numerous awards for teaching, research, and service, including the President’s Award for Distinguished Service in International Education, the Combustion Institute Silver Medal, and the SAE International Leadership Citation. He serves as the Editor of the Proceedings of the Combustion Institute and on the editorial board of Experiments in Fluids and Progress in Energy and Combustion Science. He is a Fellow of SAE International and the Combustion Institute.

Bernard David

Founder and Advisory Board Chairman
Global CO2 Initiative

Bernard J. David is an entrepreneur, educator, and author. David has founded, built and sold several businesses. They include SaveSmart, Inc. (Prio, Inc.)–sold to Infospace, Inc. and officesupplies.com—sold to Office Depot. David has written eight books on various elements of entrepreneurship and allied computer technology use. The books include The Entrepreneurial PC and Milestone Planning for Successful Ventures. Since 2001, David has turned his attention to the area of sustainability. He believes that a systems approach to sustainability is critical—one that is based on science, and harnesses market forces to drive and fuel progress. To that end, he is the founder of the Global CO2 Initiative, a market-based solution to address one of the grand challenges of our planet: the impact of excessive CO2 emissions in our atmosphere and oceans. By investing in innovative approaches to capture and transform CO2 into commercial products, the initiative endeavors to create economically-viable solutions that offer sustained climatological benefits.

The full Global COInitiative Board is viewable here.      


Miheala Banu

Startup co-founder
Funded by the Blue Sky Initiative at the U-M College of Engineering

Mihaela Banu develops natural fiber composites - green composites - with high mechanical properties such as strength and stiffness.

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Susan Fancy

Program Director, Energy Institute

Susan Fancy specializes in managing projects and processes at the intersection of energy and climate.

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Jonathan Fay

Executive Director CFE
Funded by the Blue Sky Initiative at the U-M College of Engineering

Jonathan Fay focuses his efforts on facilitating and inspiring entrepreneurship and innovation in PhDs, Postdocs, and Faculty.

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Greg Keoleian

Founder/Director, Center for Sustainability Studies (CSS)
Funded by the Blue Sky Initiative at the U-M College of Engineering

Greg Keoleian’s research focuses on the development and application of life cycle models and sustainability metrics to guide the design and improvement of products and technology.

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Nicholas Kotov

Catalysis for CO2 use, serial entrepreneur
Funded by the Blue Sky Initiative at the U-M College of Engineering

Nicholas Kotov is working on conceptual foundations and technical realizations of biomimetic nanostructures.>

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Victor Li

World-leading innovations in concrete
Funded by the Blue Sky Initiative at the U-M College of Engineering

Victor Li leads the research group that invented the world's most ductile concrete in use in tall buildings and long bridges today.

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Shelie Miller

Co-lead faculty at CSS
Funded by the Blue Sky Initiative at the U-M College of Engineering

Shelie Miller develops life-cycle assessment models with an emphasis on emerging technologies.

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Alan Taub

LIFT, new Michigan Materials Research Institute
Funded by the Blue Sky Initiative at the U-M College of Engineering

Alan Taub develops reinforced natural fibers by adding nanoparticles (carbon nanotubes and/or metal nanoparticles) in plants as they are growing.

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Ralph Yang

CO2 capture and use techniques
Funded by the Blue Sky Initiative at the U-M College of Engineering

Direct CO2 capture from power plants and chemical processing facilities offers an effective path to avoid CO2 release into the atmosphere.

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Victoria Campbell-Arvai

Assistant Research Scientist, School for Environment and Sustainability

Direct CO2 Investigates whether CDR makes people more or less likely to participate in other environmentally-related decisions.

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Brad Cardinale

Professor, School for Environment and Sustainability

Direct CO2 Researches carbon sequestration and storage, and the conversion of algae into usable fuel.

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Bill Currie

Professor, School for Environment and Sustainability

Expert on soils, land management, and carbon cycle.

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Neil Dasgupta

Assistant Professor, Mechanical Engineering

Evaluates and tests hierarchically structured nanocatalysts for efficient chemical transformation of CO2 by high temperature tandem photocatalysis.

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Paige Fischer

Assistant Professor, School for Environment and Sustainability

Researches carbon issues related to forestry management and carbon storage.

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Sol Hart

Associate Professor, Communication Studies

Specializes in understanding the role of the media in motivating and engaging the public and how to create effective messages that can cross ideological divides.

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Timothy James

Associate Professor, Ecology and Evolutionary Biology

Studies the evolution of sex and reproductive traits of fungi.

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Christian Lastoskie

Associate Professor, Civil and Environmental Engineering

Investigates the technical, economic, and social feasibility of motor vehicle onboard carbon capture.

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Nina Lin

Associate Professor, Chemical Engineering

Investigates tripartite bacteria systems to produce feedstocks.

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Mark Lindquist

Assistant Professor, Landscape Architecture

Conducts empirical research with the aim of providing an evidence base to support the design and planning of environments that perform ecologically, socially and culturally for more sustainable outcomes.

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Neil Marsh

Professor, Chemistry

Investigates tripartite bacteria systems to produce feedstocks.

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Charles McCrory

Assistant Professor, Chemistry

Researches the electrochemical reduction of CO2 and H2O for the conversion of intermittent energy sources to chemical fuels.

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Stephen Ragsdale

Professor, Biological Chemistry

Studies microbial CO and CO2 metabolism, testing the coupling of low potential enzyme mediators to reduce gaseous CO2 to solid oxalate at STP.

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Kaitlin Raimi

Assistant Professor, Public Policy

Researches how social motivations have the potential to promote or prevent sustainable behaviors.

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Johannes Schwank

Professor, Chemical Engineering

Researches fundamental and applied problems in heterogeneous catalysis, sensors, and energy storage materials.

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Jeremy Semrau

Professor, Civil and Environmental Engineering

Develops new biochemical and molecular techniques to better monitor in situ microbial communities.

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Steve Skerlos

Professor, Mechanical Engineering

Produces mathematical carbon modeling for least cost deployment strategies to achieve carbon negativity.

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Stuart Soroka

Professor, Communication Studies

Investigates political communication, the sources and/or structure of public preferences for policy, and the relationships between public policy, public opinion, and mass media.

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Mike Traugott

Research Professor, Institute of Social Research

Studies the mass media and their impact on American politics.

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Nicholas Valentino

Professor, Political Science

Researches public acceptance of scientific claims and motivated reasoning in the context of climate change.

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Zetian Mi

Professor, Electrical Engineering & Computer Science

Conversion of CO2 to fuels through solar powered artificial photosynthesis

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To transform CO2 into commercially successful products using a system-level process of technology assessment, technology development and commercialization, accomplished through convening and downstream promotion in partnership with entities around the world.


To identify and pursue commercially sustainable approaches that reduce atmospheric CO2 levels by 10% of current emissions per year.