Current Team


Simon Bare

Distinguished Scientist

Simon received his PhD from the University of Liverpool in 1982, and then held postdoctoral appointments at Cornell University (Prof. Wilson Ho) and Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Prof. Gabor Somorjai). In 1986 he moved to industrial R&D, and took a positon with The Dow Chemical Company in Midland, MI. He was initially responsible for surface characterization of catalysts, and then expanded into methods applicable to studying catalysts in-situ. It was during his time at Dow that he had his first experience of using synchrotrons for catalyst characterization. In 1996 he moved to UOP LLC, a Honeywell Company, in Des Plaines, IL where he spent the next 19 years, and built up a reputation for in-situ and operando characterization of catalysts using primarily x-ray absorption spectroscopy. After spending so much of his time at synchrotrons, he decided he should spend more of his time there, so took a position as a Distinguished Scientist at SSRL at SLAC National Accelerator Lab in 2016. He is currently leading an effort there called, Co-ACCESS (Consortium for Operando and Advanced Catalyst Characterization via Electronic Spectroscopy and Structure).



Fernando Vila

Associate Scientist

Fernando received his MSc from the University of the Republic (Uruguay) in 1995 and his PhD from the University of Pittsburgh in 2000, followed by postdoctoral positions at the University of Washington with Profs. Hannes Jonsson and John Rehr. Since then he has been a Staff Scientist in the Department of Physics, as a member of the FEFF group. With a background in Theoretical and Quantum Chemistry, he specializes in various aspects of chemical reactivity, catalysis at the nanoscale, nuclear and electronic real-time dynamics, optical and X-ray spectroscopy (XAS), and the associated scientific software development and deployment needed to study these topics. In particular, he is one of the main developers of FEFF, a computer program for the simulation of EXAFS, XANES and other X-ray spectroscopies used by thousands of scientists in synchrotrons around the world. Fernando brings his expertise in combining state-of-the-art XAS simulations with density functional theory to the interpretation of experimental results in Co-ACCESS.

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Adam Hoffman

Associate Scientist

Adam received his PhD from the University of California, Davis, followed by a postdoctoral fellowship at SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory working at SSRL under Simon R Bare. Adam has since advanced through the roles of Research Associate and is now an Associate Scientist in the Chemistry and Catalysis Division of SSRL. Since graduate school Adam has been working with synchrotrons for in-situ characterization of catalytic materials. He started by using X-ray absorption spectroscopy to determine structure/activity relationships of single-site catalysts. Now he develops in-situ reactors for multiple X-ray techniques along with methodologies for time-resolved spectro-kinetics, characterizing catalyst of all shapes and sizes, under almost any process condition. This work is in collaboration with the Co-ACCESS program led by Simon Bare.



Jorge Perez-Aguilar

Research Associate

Jorge received his PhD from the University of California, Davis, where he worked on characterizing atomically dispersed platinum and rhodium on silica-alumina-phosphates using infrared spectroscopy, gas chromatography, and X-ray absorption spectroscopy. He joined Co-ACCESS as a research associate in October 2021. His work focuses on training and facilitating users in in-situ/operando X-ray absorption spectroscopy measurements on catalytic materials, helping the team’s effort to broaden the experimental capabilities to accommodate more variety of materials and reaction conditions at various XAS beamlines, including BL10-2.



Jiyun Hong

Post-Doctoral Research Fellow

Jiyun received her PhD in Chemistry from Northwestern University, and joined Co-ACCESS as a postdoctoral research fellow in October 2019. Her PhD work focused on using pump-probe X-ray absorption spectroscopy in picoseconds to microsecond time regime to investigate the excited state structural dynamics of various transition metal complexes targeted for photocatalysis applications. Now at Co-ACCESS, she is facilitating the in-situ X-ray absorption spectroscopy measurements on catalytic materials, analyzing the resulting XAS data, as well as helping the team’s effort to broaden the experimental capabilities to accommodate more types of catalyst samples and conditions.



Stephen Kristy

SCGSR Fellow

Stephen Kristy is a 3rd year PhD student in chemical engineering at Oregon State University. His PhD focuses on the design of bimetallic alloy catalysts intended for low temperature oxidation of carbon monoxide in diesel exhaust. As part of the Co-ACCESS team, Stephen plans to perform Quick Scanning Extended X-Ray Absorption Fine Structure (QEXAFS) analysis and transmittance Fourier Transform Infrared Spectroscopy (FTIR) with these catalysts during transient temperature experiments under operando conditions. Stephen will use these experiments to elucidate the structural and electrical properties of these catalysts, as well as reagent absorption sites, and relate these properties to the kinetics of CO oxidation. Stephen’s goal is to better understand parameters leading to improved low temperature activity for CO oxidation. In completing this work, Stephen will aid in the development of operating procedures and analysis methods required to extract meaningful data from time resolved QEXAFS experiments for future utilization.



Lars Berent Ostervold III

SCGSR Fellow

Lars is a 5th-year PhD student in chemical engineering at Penn State. His PhD work focuses on applying operando and computational techniques to improve intrinsic electrocatalyst activity by rational design. During his time with the Co-ACCESS group, Lars plans to investigate the electronic and atomic structure of formal Cu3+ materials during the oxygen evolution reaction using EXAFS modeling. Lars will also investigate the effect of cations on the structure of Cu1+ and Cu2+ oxidation states. Lars will also assist the team in evaluating designs of operando electrochemical cells.


Past Members

Post-Doctoral Research Fellows

  • Nirmalendu Patra - Post-Doctoral Research Fellow (2020-2021)
  • Alexey Boubnov - Post-Doctoral Research Fellow (2017-2019)


SCGSR Fellows

  • Jordan Finzel - SCGSR Fellow (2021-2022)
  • Taylor Spivey - SCGSR Fellow (2020-2021)
  • Melissa Cendejas - SCGSR Fellow (2020-2021)
  • Griffin Canning - SCGSR Fellow (2019-2020) 


SULI Interns

  • Hayden Oliver - SULI Intern (Summer 2020)
  • Kenzie Sanroman - SULI Intern (Summer 2020)
  • Jessica Stelzel - SULI Intern (Summer 2019)
  • Helen Fisher  - SULI Intern (Summer 2019) 
  • Lauren Cooper -SULI Intern (Summer 2018)