Vibha Kalra

Dr. Vibha Kalra is George B. Francis Endowed Chair Professor and the Director of the PhD Program in the Department of Chemical and Biological Engineering at Drexel University. Kalra received her BS from the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT), Delhi, India in 2004 and PhD from Cornell University in 2009, both in Chemical Engineering. Prior to joining Drexel in 2010, Kalra worked in the electronic packaging research division at Intel Corporation. 

Her research group combines material assembly & characterization, study of fundamental electrochemical behavior, in-situ spectro-electrochemistry, and device assembly and testing to develop next-generation batteries and supercapacitors. Her research spans from fundamental science to technological applications with 10+ major fundamental grants from the National Science Foundation, in addition to technology translational funds from Pennsylvania Nanomaterials Commercialization Center (w/Applied Materials), Drexel Ventures Innovation program, NSF PFI-Technology Translation program (w/ Saft Batteries), and direct industrial funds from automotive and battery companies including the highest $ amount industry grant at Drexel. Kalra has published over 60 peer-reviewed journal articles and has 14 pending/issued patents in the field of energy storage.

Kalra currently serves as the Associate Editor of Chemical Engineering Science journal since 2013. At Drexel, Kalra served as the CBE PhD Admissions Advisor from 2013-2018, and as the CBE PhD Program Director since 2019. In her role as the PhD Admissions Advisor, Kalra led several initiatives to improve the diversity and quality of the applicant pool recruiting from top-ranked universities across the US as well as globally from several countries including Egypt, India, China, Kenya, and Iran. As the PhD Program Director, Kalra has led and supported several efforts such as revision of the PhD core curriculum, initiation of a mentoring/outreach program for students interested in industry careers, and institution of a minimum department PhD salary structure. Kalra has been selected as a fellow of the Executive Leadership in Academic Technology, Engineering and Science (ELATES) program 2022-23.

Kalra is recipient of several awards including the NSF CAREER award (2012), ONR summer faculty fellowship (2013), AICHE DVS Outstanding Faculty of the Year Award (2015), Department of Chemical and Biological Engineering Outstanding Service Award (2018) and the College of Engineering Outstanding Research Award, both at assistant professor level (2015) and at mid-career level (2020) and the Provost Award for Outstanding Mid-Career Research Achievement (2020) and Outstanding Innovation Award (2021).