Christos Maravelias, an expert in the optimization of large, complex systems, including renewable energy systems, has been named the tenth chair of Princeton’s Department of Chemical and Biological Engineering, effective July 1.
Since joining the Princeton faculty in 2020, Maravelias, the Anderson Family Professor in Energy and the Environment, has published a research monograph and more than 40 peer-reviewed papers, served a year as the department’s director of graduate studies, and has served as advisor to more than 10 graduate students and postdoctoral researchers.
He succeeds Athanassios Panagiotopoulos, the Susan Dod Brown Professor of Chemical and Biological Engineering, who served as department chair for six years, or two consecutive three-year terms. Panagiotopoulos oversaw a period of steady faculty growth and major gains in the department’s diversity, with a marked increase in the number of women on the faculty. He also led the department’s plans for a new building, scheduled to open in 2025 as part of the first phase of a new, expanded neighborhood for engineering and environmental science.
Maravelias said he plans to continue apace and build on the work of his predecessor, aiming to hire new faculty who will carry on the tradition of excellence and define the future of the discipline. He also stressed the importance of the new classrooms and labs in recruiting students and researchers at all levels.
“Princeton CBE stands at a critical juncture,” he said. “The department has hired the field’s most talented early-career researchers. And there are plans for further growth of the School of Engineering and Applied Science. At the same time, we are preparing to move into one of the most advanced engineering research facilities of any university anywhere. That is truly exciting.”
Maravelias began his academic career at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, where he established himself as a leading thinker in the area of process systems engineering and energy systems engineering. He uses advanced computer models to optimize highly complex systems, including supply chains for renewable energy technologies. He started at Wisconsin in 2004 as an assistant professor; he left 16 years later as the university’s Paul E. Elfers Professor, as a team lead at the Great Lakes Bioenegery Research Center, and as the outgoing chair of the computing and systems technology division of the American Institute of Chemical Engineers.
His faculty appointment is joint with the Andlinger Center for Energy and the Environment, where he plays a key role in the center’s work on energy systems modeling, focusing on renewable liquid fuels and chemicals as well as environmental applications. Maravelias earned a Ph.D. in chemical engineering from Carnegie Mellon University and a master’s degree in operational research from the London School of Economics.