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Faculty Profile
Gyu Leem

Gyu  Leem

Associate Professor

Orange horizontal rule

216 Jahn Laboratory




Ph. D. University of Houston, Houston, Texas, 2008
B.S. Hanyang University, Seoul, Korea, 2002

Professional Experience

2023 – Present: Associate Professor of Chemistry, SUNY ESF

2018 – 2023: Assistant Professor of Chemistry, SUNY ESF
2016 – 2018: Assistant Professor of Research, University of Texas at San Antonio
2012 – 2016: Postdoctoral Associate, University of Florida
2009 – 2012: Principal Scientist, LG Chem
2008 – 2009: Postdoctoral Fellow, Polytechnic University of Milan
2003 – 2008: Research Assistant, University of Houston

Honors and Awards

NSF CBET (2023-2026)

NSF Chemical Synthesis (2021-2024)

USDA McIntire Stennis Forestry Research (2020-2023)

The NYS Center of Excellence in Healthy Water Solutions (2020-2022)

The U.S. Air Force Research Lab Summer Faculty Fellowship (2022)

The NYS Department of Economic Development (DED) through the Syracuse Center of Excellence in Environmental and Energy Systems (2022)

Invited Outstanding Scientist Fellowship in Brain Pool program (2022-2025)

Professional Affiliation

2020 – present: Editorial board member, ACS Applied Nano Materials

2021 – present: Guest editor, Catalysis for Sustainable Energy section, MDPI

2020 – 2021: Guest editor, Sustainable Hydrogen Production, Nano Convergence

2019 – 2020: Topic editor, Catalysis and Photocatalysis Section, Frontiers in Chemistry

Courses Taught

FCH 221 Organic Chemistry I
FCH 552 Polymer Science: Properties and Technology
FCH 796 Special Topics in Chemistry – Principles of Fluorescence Spectroscopy
FCH 796 Special Topics in Chemistry – Advanced Organic Chemistry

Research Interests

  • Photoelectrocatlaysis
  • Chemoselective C-C/C-O bond cleavage
  • Photodynamic
  • Degradation of  hazardous chemicals in wastewater/drinking water
  • Novel synthetic polymerization methods



Richard List smiling in front of Jahn Laboratory building at ESF. He is wearing a Shirt and maroon pullover.

Richard List – Research Scientist

Office: 230 Jahn Laboratory
B.S. Colorado State University
M.S. Syracuse University






Matt Frame – MS student (2021-present)
Office: 230 Jahn Laboratory
B.S. William & Mary
Research Focus: Photocatalysis of quantum dots for lignin depolymerization under solar light illumination

headshot of Marcellin Adjoumane

Marcellin M Adjoumane – Ph.D. student (2022-present)
Office: 234 Jahn Laboratory
B.S. Université Nangui Abrogoua

Headshot of Rowan Nothnagle against a dark background. He is wearing a black shirt and black jacket with a bluish tie.

Rowan Nothnagle – Undergraduate Research Assistant (2021-present)
Office: 230 Jahn Laboratory
Research Focus:




Shuya Li (Ph.D. Student, 2018-2022), Current: Syracuse University (Postdoc)

Udani Wijethunga (MS student, 2019-2022), Current: The State University of New York at Buffalo (Ph.D. Student)

Eric Wolfgang Shuler (MS student, 2020-2022)

Kayla  Davis (MS student, 2020-2021)

Richard S. Morales (Undergraduate Research Assistant, 2019-2022)

Emily Rachel Froass (Undergraduate Research Assistant, 2020-2021)

Hyun Yu (Research Assistant, 2018-2020)

Thi Minh Hieu Lam (Undergraduate Research Assistant, 2019-2021), Current: Upstate Medical University (Graduate student)

Shinju Yang (Undergraduate Research Assistant, 2019-2020)

Hannah Clare Baghdadi (Undergraduate Research Assistant, 2020)

Jason Cho (High School Student, 2018-2019), Current: Columbia University

Recent Publications

2019- Published (SUNY ESF)


41. Zhuang, J.; Kim, S.; Li, Y.; Nonkumwong, J.; Srisombat, L.; Kim, K. H.; Wie, J. J.; Leem, G.; Yoo, C. G. MgFe2O4 Nanoparticle/Peracetic Acid Hybrids for Catalytic Oxidative Depolymerization of Lignin.  ACS Appl. Nano Mater. 2023, 6, 10758-10767. (Selected supplementary artwork)

cover artwork-ACS ANM

40. Kim, S.; Kang, H. C.; Chu, C.; Li, S.; Yoo, K.; Wijethunga, U. K.; Zheng, W.; Yoo, C. G.; Sherman, B.; Lee, J.-J.; Leem. G. Solar Energy Driven C-C Bond Cleavage in a Lignin Model Compound with a D–π–A Organic Dye-Sensitized Photoanode. Sustainable Energy & Fuels 20237, 2339-2348. (Selected front art cover)

cover page of Sustainable energy & fuels magazine. The artwork shows trees and molecular structures.

39. MacSwain, W.; Lin, H.; Li, Z.-J.; Li, S.; Chu, C.; Leem, G.; Zheng, W. Facilitated Electron Transfer by Mn dopants in 1-Dimensional CdS Nanorods for Enhanced Photocatalytic Hydrogen Generation. J. Mater. Chem. A. 202311, 7066-7076.

38. Darasoon, K.; Hoijang, S.; Kunakham, T.; Janhom, S.; Ananta, S.; Leem, G.; Srisombat, Laongnuan. Chemical Etching of Silica Nanoparticles for Enhanced Removal Efficiency of Paraquat from Aqueous Solution. Chiang Mai Journal of Science2023, vol 50, issue 1.

37. Li, S.; Park, S.; Sherman, B.; Yoo, C. G.; Leem, G. Photocatalytic Chemical Transformations in Lignin. Chem. Commun. 202359, 401-403.

  • 2022

36. Kim, S.; Sherman, B.; Leem, G. Photoelectrochemical hydrogen evolution from biomass conversion using perovskite solar cells. Chem Catalysis2022, 2, 2837-2839.

35. Mer, K.; Egiebor, N. O.; Tao, W.; Sajjadi, B.; Wijethunga, U. K. ; Leem, G.  Capacitive Removal of Pb ions via Electrosorption on Novel Willow Biochar – Manganese Dioxide Composites. Environmental Technology2022, 1-42. DOI:10.1080/09593330.2022.2135028.

molecular structure of willow biochar

34. McMillan, N. K.; Purvis, M. E.; Lopez, D. A.; Leem, G.; Sherman, B. D. BiVO4 Photoanodes for TEMPO-Mediated Benzyl Alcohol Oxidation in Organic Media. ChemPlusChem202287, e202200187. DOI:10.1002/cplu.202200187.


chemical structure of benzyl alcohol and benzaldehyde.


33. Kim, T. H.; Nam, D. H.; Kim, D.-H.; Leem, G.; Lee, S. Fabrication of Multi-Vacancy-Defect MWCNTs by the Removal of Metal Oxide Nanoparticles. Polymers202214, 2942. DOI:10.3390/polym14142942.

32. Zhuang; J.; Kim, K.- H.; Jia, L.; Meng, X.; Kumar, D.; Leem, G.; Kang, S. B.; Li, Y.; Ragauskas, A. J.; Hou, Y.; Yoo, C. G. Synergetic Impacts of the Ferric Chloride Aided Peracetic Acid Pretreatment on Sugarcane Bagasse Conversion. Fuel 2022, 319,123739. DOI:10.1016/j.fuel.2022.123739.

31. Li, S.; Shuler, E. W.; Willinger, D.; Nguyen, H. T.; Kim, S.; Kang, H. C.; Lee, J. J.; Zheng, W.; Yoo, C. G.; Sherman, B.; Leem, G. Enhanced Photocatalytic Alcohol Oxidation at the Interface of RuC-coated TiO2 Nanorod Arrays. ACS Appl. Mater. & Interfaces 2022,14, 22799–22809.  DOI:10.1021/acsami.1c20795. (Invited to the Early Career Forum special issue 2022; ACS Appl. Mater. Interfaces 2022, 14, 20, 22679–22680)

Fluorine doped tin oxide reaction. A graph showing reaction time and conversion per cents

30. Li, S.; Wijethunga, U. K.; Davis, A. H.; Kim, S.; Zheng, W.; Sherman, B.; Yoo, C. G.; Leem, G. Ru(II) Polypyridyl-Modified TiO2 Nanoparticles for Photocatalytic C-C/C-O Bond Cleavage at Room Temperature. ACS Appl. Nano Mater. 20225, 948-956. DOI:10.1021/acsanm.1c03622.

reactions and chemical structures.


29. Yoo, S.; Nam, D. H.; Singh, T. I.; Leem, G.; Lee, S. Effect of Reducing agents on the Synthesis of Anisotropic Gold Nanoparticles. Nano Converg. 2022, 9: 5. DOI:10.1186/s40580-021-00291-1.


  • 2021

28. Davis, A. H.; Li, S.; Chu, C.; Lin, H.; Franck, J. M.; Leem, G.; Maye, M. M.; Zheng, W. Ligand-Mediated Synthesis of Chemically Tailored Two-Dimensional All-Inorganic Perovskite Nanoplatelets Under Ambient Conditions. J. Mater. Chem. C. 2021, 9, 14226-14235. DOI:10.1039/D1TC02931B

27. Wang Y.; Meng, X.; Tian, Y.; Kim, K. H.; Jia, L.; Pu, Y.; Leem, G.; Kumar, D.; Eudes, A.; Ragauskas, A. J.; Yoo, C. G. Engineered Sorghum Bagasse Enables a Sustainable Biorefinery with p-Hydroxybenzoic Acid-Based Deep Eutectic Solvent. ChemSusChem. 2021, 14, 1-11. DOI:10.1002/cssc.202101492

26. Sherman, B. D.; Bodiford, N.; Beeri, D.; Leem, G. Sustainable Hydrogen Production from Water Using Tandem Dye-sensitized Photoelectrochemical Cells. Nano Converg. 2021, 8 (7), 1-12. DOI:10.1186/s40580-021-00257-8.

25. Li, S.; Kim, S.; Davis, A. H.; Zhuang, J.; Shuler, E. W.; Beeri, D.; Zheng, W.; Lee, J.-J.; Sherman, B. D.; Yoo, C. G.; Leem, G. Photocatalytic Chemoselective C-C Bond Cleavage at Room Temperature in Dye-Sensitized Photoelectrochemical Cells. ACS Catal. 2021, 11, 3771-3781. DOI:10.1021/acscatal.1c00198.

24. Davis, K.; Yoo, S.; Shuler, E. W.; Sherman, B. D.; Lee, S. H.; Leem, G. Photocatalytic Hydrogen Evolution from Biomass Conversion. Nano Converg. 2021, 8 (6), 1-19. DOI: 10.1186/s40580-021-00256-9.

  • 2020

23. Wang, Y; Meng, X.; Jeong, K.; Li, S.; Leem, G.; Kim, K. H.; Ragauskas, A. J.; Yoo, C. G.  A Closed-Loop Biorefinery using Lignin-Based Deep Eutectic Solvents for Efficient Conversion of Woody Biomass. ACS Sustainable Chem. & Eng. 2020,  8, 12542-12553. DOI:10.1021/acssuschemeng.0c03533.

22. Li, Z.-J.; Li, S.; Davis, A.; Hofman, E.; Leem, G.; Zheng, W. Enhanced Singlet Oxygen Generation by Hybrid Mn-Doped Nanocomposites for the Selective Photo-Oxidation of Benzylic Alcohols. Nano Res. 2020, 13, 1668-1676. DOI:10.1007/s12274-020-2790-0.

21. Li, Z.-J.; Li, S.; Hofman, E.; Davis, A. H.; Leem, G.; Zheng, W. Visible-Light Induced Disproportionation of Pyrrole Derivatives for Photocatalyst-Free Aryl Halides Reduction. Green Chemistry, 2020, 22, 1911-1918. DOI:10.1039/C9GC04248B.

20. Li, S.; Li, Z.-J.; Yu, H.; Sytu, R. M.; Wang, Y.; Beeri, D.; Zheng, W.; Sherman, B. D.; Yoo, C. G.; Leem, G. Solar-Driven Lignin Oxidation via Hydrogen Atom Transfer with a Dye-Sensitized TiO2 Photoanode. ACS Energy Lett., 2020, 5, 777-784. DOI: 10.1021/acsenergylett.9b02391.

  • 2019

19. Asgari, P.; Hua, Y.; Bokka, A.; Thiamsiri, C.; Prasitwatcharakorn, W.; Kaderath, A.; Chen, X.; Sardar, S.; Yum, K. ; Leem, G.; Pierce, B. S.; Nam, K.; Gao, J.; Jeon, J. Catalytic Hydrogen Atom Transfer from Hydrosilanes to Vinylarenes by Alkali Metal Lewis Base Catalyst for Hydrosilylation and Polymerization. Nature Catalysis 2019, 2, 164-173. DOI: 10.1038/s41929-018-0217-z.


Book Chapters

3. Singh, T. I.; Li, S.; Leem, G.; Lee, S. “Photocatalytic hydrogen production by the reforming of biomass” in Photocatalytic Hydrogen Production, Puga, A. (Eds.), ISBN 978-3-527-34983-8, Wiley-VCH GmbH, Submitted2022.

2. Zhuang, J.; Wang, Y.; Kim, K.H.; Leem, G.; Yoo, C.G. "Depolymerization strategies for lignin valorization." in Sustainable biorefining of woody biomass to biofuels and biochemicals, Kumar, D.; Kumar, S.; Rajendran K. (Eds.), Elsevier, Submitted2022.

1. Li, S.; Davis, K.; Leem, G. “Electrocatalytic and Photocatalytic Approaches to Lignin Conversion.” in Lignin Utilization Strategies: From Processing to Applications, Yoo, C. G. and Ragauskas, A. (Eds.), ACS Symposium Series, 20211377, 97-121. DOI: 10.1021/bk-2021-1377.ch005.


2014-2018 Published (prior to SUNY ESF)

18. Wang, J.; Price, R. S.; Leem, G.; Jiang, J.; Abboud, K. A.; Schanze, K. S. Interaction of a Poly(phenylene vinylene) with an Organometallic Lewis Acid Additive. Fundamentals and Application in Polymer Solar Cells. Chem. Mater. 2018, 30, 5968-5977. DOI:10.1021/acs.chemmater.8b02152.

17. Eom, Y. K.; Nhon, L.;  Leem, G.; Sherman, B. D.; Wang, D.; Troian-Gautier, L.;  Kim, S.;  Kim, J.; Meyer, T. J.; Reynolds, J. R. ; Schanze, K. S. Visible-Light-Driven Photocatalytic Water Oxidation by a π-Conjugated Donor−Acceptor−Donor Chromophore/Catalyst
Assembly. ACS Energy Lett., 2018, 3, 2114–2119. DOI:10.1021/acsenergylett.8b01020.

16. Leem, G.; Black, H. T.; Shan, B.; Bantang, J. P. O.; Meyer, T. J.; Reynolds, J. R.; Schanze, K. S.  Photocathode Assembly via Layer-By-Layer Deposition of a Low Band-Gap Isoindigo Polyelectrolyte with a Proton Reduction Catalyst. ACS Appl. Energy Mater. 2018, 1, 62-67. DOI:10.1021/acsaem.7b00223.

15. Leem, G.*; Sherman, B. D.; Schanze, K. S.* Polymer-Based Chromophore-Catalyst Assemblies for Solar Energy Conversion. Nano Convergence 2017, 4, 37. DOI:10.1186/s40580-017-0132-z.

14. Jiang, J.; Sherman, B. D.; Zhao, Y.; He, R.; Ghiviriga, I.; Alibabaei, L.; Meyer, T. J.; Leem, G.*; Schanze, K. S.* Polymer Chromophore-Catalyst Assembly for Solar Fuel Generation. ACS Appl. Mater. & Interfaces 2017, 9, 19529-19534. DOI:10.1021/acsami.7b05173.

13. Leem, G.; Sherman, B. D.; Burnett, A. J.; Morseth, Z. A.; Wee, K. R.; Papanikolas, J. M.; Meyer, T. J.; Schanze, K. S. Light-Driven Water Oxidation Using Polyelectrolyte Layer-by-Layer Chromophore–Catalyst Assemblies. ACS Energy Lett. 2016, 1, 339-343. DOI:10.1021/acsenergylett.6b00171.

12. Leem, G.; Morseth, Z. A.; Wee, K. R.; Junlin, J.; Papanikolas, J. M.; Schanze, K. S. Polymer-based Ruthenium(II) Polypryridyl Chromophores on TiO2 for Solar Energy Conversion. Chem. Asian J. 2016, 11, 1257-1267. (Invited submission for the Energy Conversion and Storage Special Issue). DOI:10.1002/asia.201501384.

11. Leem, G.; Jiang, J.; Chen, Z.; Pho, T.; Hu, Z.; Keinan, S.; Puodziukynaite, E.; Kanai, Y.; Reynolds, J. R.; Papanikolas, J. M.; Schanze, K. S. Ru(bpy)32+ Derivatized Polystyrenes Constructed by Nitroxide-Mediated Living Radical Polymerization. Relationship between Polymer Chain Length, Structure and Photophysical Properties. Polym. Chem. 2015, 6. 8184-8193. DOI: 10.1039/C5PY01289A. 

10. Pan, Z.; Leem, G.; Cekli, S.; Schanze, K. S. Polymer Aggregation and Its Effect on Dye-sensitized Solar Cell Efficiency. ACS Appl. Mater. Interfaces 2015, 7, 16601-16608. DOI:10.1021/acsami.5b04162.

9. Morseth, Z. A.; Wang, L.; Puodziukynaite, E.; Leem, G.; Gilligan, A. T.; Meyer, T. J.; Schanze, K. S.; Reynolds, J. R.; Papanikolas, J. M. Ultrafast Dynamics in Multifunctional Ru(II)-Loaded Polymers for Solar Energy Conversion. Acc. Chem. Res. 2015, 48, 818-827. DOI:10.1021/ar500382u.

8. Leem, G.; Morseth, Z.; Puodziukynaite, E.; Papanikolas, J. M.; Reynolds, J. R.; Schanze, K. S. Light-Harvesting and Charge Separation in a p-Conjugated Antenna Polymer Bound to TiO2. J. Phys. Chem. C 2014, 118, 28535-28541. DOI:10.1021/jp5113558.

7. Cariati, E.; Cavallo, G.; Forni, A.; Leem, G.; Metrangolo, P.; Meyer, F.; Pilati, T.; Resnati, G.; Righetto, S.; Terraneo, G.; Tordin, E. Self-Complementary Nonlinear Optical-Phores Targeted to Halogen Bond-Driven Self-Assembly of Electro-Optic Materials. Crystal Growth & Des. 2011, 11, 5642-5648. DOI:10.1021/cg201194a.

6. Leem, G.; Zhang, S.; Jamison, A. C.; Galstyan, E.; Rusakova, I.; Lorenz, B.; Litvinov, D.; Lee, T. R. Light-Induced Covalent Immobilization of Monolayers of Magnetic Nanoparticles on Hydrogen-Terminated Silicon. ACS Appl. Mater. Interfaces 2010, 2, 2789-2796. DOI:10.1021/am100457v.

5. Leem, G.; Saranqi, S.; Zhang, S.; Rusakova, I.; Brazdeikis, A.; Lee, T. R. Surfactant-Controlled Size and Shape Evolution of Magnetic Nanoparticles. Crystal Growth & Des. 2009, 9, 32-34. 10.1021/cg8009833.

4. Zhang, S.; Leem, G.; Lee, T. R. Monolayer-Protected Gold Nanoparticles Prepared Using Long-Chain Alkanethioacetates. Langmuir 2009, 25, 13855-13860. DOI:10.1021/la901847s.

3. Leem, G.; Jamison, A. C.; Zhang, S.; Litvinov, D.; Lee, T. R. Facile Synthesis, Assembly, and Immobilization of Ordered Arrays of Monodisperse Magnetic Nanoparticles on Silicon Substrates. Chem. Commun. 2008, 4989-4991. DOI:10.1039/B804633F.

2. Zhang, S.; Leem, G.; Srismbat, L.; Lee, T. R. Rationally Designed Ligands that Inhibit the Aggregation of Large Gold Nanoparticles in Solution. J. Am Chem. Soc. 2008, 130, 113-120. DOI:10.1021/ja0724588.

1. Prulliere, F; Leem, G.; Reisinger, N. C.; Lee, T. R. Preparation and Characterization of Conducting Polymer shell/ core composite nanoparticles. Curr. Top. Coll. Int. 2006, 7, 19.


“Super absorbent polymer and a preparation method thereof” T. Y. Won, C. S. Han, G. C. Kim, Y. H. Lee, S. G. Lee, K. P. Kim, S. Park, G. Leem. U.S. Patent 10,086,361 issued October 2, 2018.

“Preparation method of a super absorbent polymer” G. Leem, G. C. Kim, S. G. Lee, K. P. Kim, T. Y. Won, C. S. Han U.S. Patent 9,656,296 issued May 13, 2017.

“Super absorbent polymer and a preparation method thereof” T. Y. Won, C. S. Han, G. C. Kim, Y. H. Lee, S. G. Lee, K. P. Kim, S. Park, G. Leem U.S. Patent 9,517,446 issued December 13, 2016.

“Preparation method of super absorbent polymer” H. M. Lee, G. Leem, T. Y. Won U.S. Patent 14,400,512 issued July 16, 2016.

“Preparation method of super absorbent polymer” T. Y. Won, C. S. Han, G. C. Kim, S. G. Lee, K. P. Kim, S. Park, G. Leem, U.S. Patent 9,029,480 issued May 12, 2015.

“Shredder for super absorbent polymer and preparation method of super absorbent polymer using the same” G. C. Kim, C. S. Han, S. G. Lee, K. P. Kim, S. Park, J. H. Bae, T. Y. Won, G. Leem U.S. Patent 9,120,100 issued September 1, 2015.

“Shredder for super adsorbent polymer and preparation method of super absorbent polymer using the same” G. C. Kim, C. S. Han, S. G. Lee, K. P. Kim, S. Park, J. H. Bae, T. Y. Won, G. Leem U.S. Patent 8,919,683 issued December 30, 2014.

“Preparation method of superabsorbent polymer” T. Y. Won, C. S. Han, G. C. Kim, S. G. Lee, K. P. Kim, S. Park, G. Leem U.S. Patent 8,697,812 issued April 15, 2014.


Current Graduate Advisees

Tau DavidTau David

  • Degree Sought: MS
  • Graduate Advisor(s): Leem
  • Area of Study: Environ & Forest Chemistry

Saerona KimSaerona Kim

  • Degree Sought: PHD
  • Graduate Advisor(s): Leem
  • Area of Study: FCH Polymer Chemistry

Research Focus
Visible light-driven photocatalytic C-O/C-C bond cleavage mechanisms in the presence of hydrogen atom transfer mediators

Ramachandra LegundapatiRamachandra Legundapati

  • Degree Sought: PHD
  • Graduate Advisor(s): Leem
  • Area of Study: Environ & Forest Chemistry

Web Link

Graduate Research Topic
Biosensing of PFAS in Agriculture water systems.

Favorite Quote
The quality of your thinking is the qualification to your progress.. Penned by: #Myself

Seongsu ParkSeongsu Park

  • Degree Sought: PHD
  • Graduate Advisor(s): Leem and Yoo
  • Area of Study: Environ & Forest Chemistry