Published: July 6, 2021 By

Ehsan Keyvani in black suit with white shirt and blue tie
Ehsan Keyvani

This fall, Ehsan Keyvani will join the Department of Chemical and Biological Engineering as an instructor. 

As a chemical engineer, Keyvani has an interest in organic solar cells, transparent conductive electrodes, graphene, self-assembly and device manufacturing. As an instructor, he specializes in unit operation and simulated engineering labs through his Labsence platform.

“When the pandemic hit, I recognized the limitations of distance learning in regards to hands-on lab activities,” Keyvani said. “I reached out to well-developed start-ups that were creating content for science laboratories.”

He discovered that many of those companies were unable to support the development of new programs because they were focused on weathering the economic uncertainty created by the pandemic.

“I decided not to wait around,” he said. “I developed a Unity-based engineering lab simulation—Labsence—that enables the user to download the program on their local device to perform chemical engineering experiments. With this model, there’s no need for a consistent connection to high-speed internet.”

The Labsence mission “is to replicate the engineering laboratories as both stand-alone and complementary tools to be integrated into either hybrid or fully online programs.” Keyvani hopes to integrate it into the department’s award-winning LearnChemE platform.

“This would be a great add-on to the resources we have here at CU Boulder, and would be beneficial for recruiting future students,” he said.

Screenshot from Labsense platform that shows a handheld device in a lab
A screenshot from the Labsense online engineering laboratory

Keyvani is looking forward to mentoring students as they begin their chemical and biological engineering careers.

“I try to let students learn from their mistakes and give them room for trial and error,” he said. “I believe if you involve chemical and biological engineering students in problem solving, they will learn better. As Benjamin Franklin said: ‘Tell me and I forget, teach me and I might remember, involve me and I learn.’ That is why I am more interested in teaching labs where I get to witness my students grow in both technical and soft skills.”

With the department’s close ties and proximity to NREL—and his background in organic solar cell fabrication—he is also considering developing courses and mini-labs related to photovoltaics.

Keyvani brings a global perspective to the department. He was born in a Turkish-speaking minority community in northwest Iran and lived in Japan before moving to the United States seven years ago. He graduated with a BS in polymer engineering from the University of Tehran in 2013, and earned his PhD in chemical engineering from the Northeastern University of Boston in 2019, where he also received the Outstanding Graduate Student Award for Teaching.

“I am looking forward to meeting the faculty and student body, and engaging in outdoor activities such as bouldering and exploring the beautiful nature of Colorado,” he said.