Laura Paz Herrera portrait
Graduate Student • Medlin Group


B.S. Chemical Engineering, Wayne State University, 2019


  • ChBE Doctoral Fellowship Recipient (August 2019 – present)
  • Recipient of 1st Place Award for best poster and presentation at the Student Design and Innovation Day Competition, Wayne State University (Spring 2019)
  • Dean’s Honors List Fall 2015 (Spring 2019)
  • 1st Place recipient of the Best Presentation Award at the Young Scholars Summer Research Program Symposium, University of Colorado, Boulder (Summer 2018)
  • Hank and Joy Kuchta Chemical Engineering and Materials Science Endowed Scholarship (Fall 2018)
  • James H. McMicking Endowed Scholarship (Fall 2018)
  • Ralph and Jean Kummler Endowed Scholarship (Fall 2017 – Winter 2019)
  • Research Opportunities for Engineering Undergraduates Award (Fall 2017 – Winter 2019)
  • Nancy Philippart and Thomas McGrail Endowed Scholarship (Summer 2017)
  • IMTPC (International Mentor Training Program Certification) by the CRLA (Fall 2016)
  • Chemistry Department Chair’s Honors List, Wayne State University (Fall 2015 – Winter 2017)
  • President’s Honors List, Keiser University Latin American Campus (Fall 2014)
  • Valedictorian Class of 2013 – La Salle Experimental Institute (2013)

Selected Publications

  • Wang, B.; Zhang, J.; Paz Herrera, L.; Medlin, J.W.; Nikolla, E. Fabrication of Inverted Pd@TiO2 Nanostructures for Selective Catalysis.  Industrial and Engineering Chemistry Research (2019). Link:
  • Carneiro, J.; Williams, J.; Gryko, A.; Paz Herrera, L.; Nikolla, E. Embracing Complexity of Catalytic Structures: A Viewpoint on Synthesis of Non-Stoichiometric Mixed Metal Oxides for Catalysis. Manuscript under revision by ACS Catalysis (2019).

Research Interests

My research interests focus on the development of strategies for optimization of catalytic systems and reaction mechanisms through proper catalyst design. By nanoengineering catalytic structures and reaction pathways, scientists have been able to tune and modify specific properties of materials to improve catalytic performance for different applications in industries such as automotive, bioengineering, textile, oil, among others.  Moreover, I am interested in the study and understanding of the kinetics involved in the determination of reaction pathways. I seek to contribute to the future energy landscape by understanding, proposing, and optimizing methods that increase the efficiency in reactions, in order to potentially reduce the waste of materials utilized and contribute to the protection of the environment.