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Dr. Javier Vela received his B.S. with Honors from UNAM in 2001. He obtained M.S. and Ph.D. degrees working with Prof. Patrick L. Holland at the University of Rochester in 2003 and 2005, respectively. He was a postdoctoral research associate with Prof. Richard F. Jordan at the University of Chicago from 2005 to 2006, and a Director's Postdoctoral Fellow in the team of Jennifer A. Hollingsworth and Victor I. Klimov at Los Alamos National Laboratory’s Center for Integrated Nanotechnologies from 2007 to 2009. Dr. Vela's current research focuses on the development of new optical (photoactive) nanomaterials, heterostructures and devices for applications in catalysis, energy conversion, and biological imaging. For his work, Dr. Vela received the ACS Inorganic Young Investigator Award in 2006, was named Top 40 Under 40 by Hispanic Engineering in 2011, received the NSF CAREER Award in 2013, the LAS Diversity Award in 2013, the LAS Early Achievement in Research Faculty Award in 2014, and the Midwest Stanley C. Israel Award for Advancing Diversity in the Chemical Sciences in 2014. Dr. Vela joined Iowa State University as an assistant professor of chemistry in 2009, and was promoted to associate professor with tenure in 2015.