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Hemamala Karunadasa

Hemamala Karunadasa

Associate Professor of Chemistry and Senior Fellow at the Precourt Institute for Energy


Professor Hema Karunadasa works with colleagues in materials science, earth science, and applied physics to drive the discovery of new materials with applications in clean energy. Using the tools of synthetic chemistry, her group designs materials that couple the structural tunability of organic molecules with the diverse electronic and optical properties of extended inorganic solids. This research targets materials such as sorbents for capturing environmental pollutants, phosphors for solid-state lighting, and absorbers for solar cells.

Hemamala Karunadasa studied chemistry and materials science at Princeton University (A.B. with high honors 2003; Certificate in Materials Science and Engineering 2003), where her undergraduate thesis project with Professor Robert J. Cava examined geometric magnetic frustration in metal oxides. She moved from solid-state chemistry to solution-state chemistry for her doctoral studies in inorganic chemistry at the University of California, Berkeley (Ph.D. 2009) with Professor Jeffrey R. Long. Her thesis focused on heavy atom building units for magnetic molecules and molecular catalysts for generating hydrogen from water. She continued to study molecular electrocatalysts for water splitting during postdoctoral research with Berkeley Professors Christopher J. Chang and Jeffrey R. Long at the Lawrence Berkeley National Lab. She further explored molecular catalysts for hydrocarbon oxidation as a postdoc at the California Institute of Technology with Professor Harry B. Gray. She joined the Stanford Chemistry Department faculty in September 2012. Her research explores solution-state routes to new solid-state materials.

Professor Karunadasa’s lab at Stanford takes a molecular approach to extended solids. Lab members gain expertise in solution- and solid-state synthetic techniques and structure determination through powder- and single-crystal x-ray diffraction. Lab tools also include a host of spectroscopic and electrochemical probes, imaging methods, and film deposition techniques. Group members further characterize their materials under extreme environments and in operating devices to tune new materials for diverse applications in renewable energy.

Please visit the lab website for more details and recent news.


Associate Professor, Chemistry
Senior Fellow, Precourt Institute for Energy
Principal Investigator, Stanford Institute for Materials and Energy Sciences

Honors & Awards

Chambers Faculty Fellowship, Stanford University (2021-2024)
Harry Gray Award for Creative Work in Inorganic Chemistry by a Young Investigator, American Chemical Society (2020)
Terman Faculty Fellowship, Stanford University (2015-2018)
Sloan Fellowship, Alfred P. Sloan Foundation (2015)
CAREER Award, National Science Foundation (2014)
ICCC41 Rising Star Award, 41st International Conference on Coordination Chemistry (2014)
Thieme Chemistry Journal Award, Thieme Chemistry Journal (2013)
Gabilan Junior Faculty Fellow, Stanford University (2012-2015)
BP Postdoctoral Fellowship, California Institute of Technology (2011-2012)
Graduate Fellowship, Tyco Electronics (2006-2007)

Boards, Advisory Committees, Professional Organizations

Associate Editor, Chemical Science (Royal Society of Chemistry) (2021 - Present)
International Advisory Board Member, Angewandte Chemie (German Chemical Society) (2021 - Present)
Editorial Advisory Board Member, Chemistry of Materials (American Chemical Society)) (2019 - Present)
Editorial Advisory Board Member, Inorganic Chemistry (American Chemical Society) (2016 - 2019)

Professional Education

Postdoc, California Institute of Technology, Molecular catalysts for activating hydrocarbons (2011)
Postdoc, University of California, Berkeley and Lawrence Berkeley National Lab, Molecular catalysts for generating hydrogen from water (2010)
PhD, University of California, Berkeley, Inorganic Chemistry (2009)
AB, Princeton University, Chemistry (2003)
Certificate, Princeton University, Materials Science and Engineering (2003)

Featured Publications