Javier Vela

Javier Vela

  • University Professor
  • Chemistry
We synthesize nanostructured materials for applications in energy conversion, chemical catalysis, and fluorescence imaging.


Contact Info

2101E Hach, 2438 Pammel Dr
Social Media and Websites


  • Ph.D., University of Rochester, 2005
  • M.S., University of Rochester, 2003
  • B.S. (w. Honors), National Autonomous University of Mexico, 2001


  • Editorial Advisory Boards: ACS Energy Letters, Chemistry of Materials, Chemistry – An Asian Journal, and ChemNanoMat
  • Fulbright Scholar in Italy (2024)
  • ACS Fellow (2021)
  • John D. Corbett Endowed Professor (2020-2023)
  • AAAS Fellow (2018)
  • Editorial Advisory Boards: ACS Energy Letters, Chemistry of Materials, Chemistry – An Asian Journal, and ChemNanoMat
  • LAS Awards: Cassling Innovator (2018), Institutional Service (2017), Early Achievement in Research (2014), Diversity (2013)
  • IUPAC Young Observer (2017)
  • Big XII Faculty Fellowship (2017)
  • ISU Martin Luther King, Jr. Advancing One Community Faculty Award (2017)
  • ACS Midwest Stanley C. Israel Award for Advancing Diversity in the Chemical Sciences (2014)
  • NSF CAREER Award (2013)

Javier Vela is a University Professor of Chemistry at Iowa State University. He is a Fellow of the American Chemical Society (ACS) and the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS). He serves on the editorial advisory boards of ACS Energy LettersChemistry of MaterialsChemistry–An Asian Journal, and ChemNanoMat. Along with former and current coworkers, Dr. Vela is the author of over one hundred peer-reviewed scientific publications and patents on nanostructured materials, inorganic compounds, and their application to energy conversion, chemical catalysis, and fluorescence imaging. He has directed twenty doctoral and four master’s theses and successfully mentored numerous undergraduate researchers, among them three NSF graduate research fellowship awardees.

Dr. Vela has been a faculty scientist with the Ames National Laboratory since 2010. An active member of the American Chemical Society, he has served as Councilor for the Ames local section, Program Chair for the Midwest Regional Meeting in Ames in 2018, Treasurer of the Division of Inorganic Chemistry, and member of the Committee on Committees (ConC). He also worked as Equity Advisor for the ISU College of Liberal Arts and Sciences from 2015 to 2021. Dr. Vela holds a BS (Lic.) in Chemistry from UNAM and a PhD degree in Chemistry from the University of Rochester. After postdoctoral stints at the University of Chicago and Los Alamos National Laboratory, he joined Iowa State University in 2009. He was granted tenure in 2015, rose to the rank of full professor in 2019, and was named University Professor in 2020. He also held the rotating John D. Corbett Endowed Professorship from 2020 to 2023. Dr. Vela grew up in Xalapa (Veracruz), Mexico and is a proud US Citizen by naturalization.