Plamen Atanassov

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Research Professor

Department of Chemical and Biological Engineering


Ph.D. Bulgarian Academy of Sciences Chemistry, 1995

Specialization in Bioelectrochimistry Frumkin's Institute of Electrochemistry, 1988

M.S. University of Sophia Chemical Physics, 1987


Plamen Atanassov, Ph.D. grew up in Bulgaria and graduated from the University of Sofia in 1987 specializing in Chemical Physics and Theoretical Chemistry. He joined the Bulgarian Academy of Sciences and become a Member of Technical Staff of its Central Laboratory of Electrochemical Power Sources (now the Institute for Electrochemistry and Power Systems). His initial work included materials solutions for metal-air batteries. During 1988/89, Atanassov was a visiting scientist in the Frumkin’s Institute of Electrochemistry, Moscow, Russia studying bio-electrochemistry of enzymes. He received his doctorate from the Bulgarian Academy of Sciences in Physical Chemistry, specializing in Electrochemistry under the guidance of Prof. Ilia Iliev and Prof. Evgeni Budevski. He moved to the United States in 1992 and later became a research faculty with the University of New Mexico. During the 90's he was involved in development of a several electrochemical biosensor technologies for biomedical, environmental, food safety and defense applications. In 1999, Atanassov joined Superior MicroPowders LLC (now Cabot-SMP) where he was a project leader in fuel cell electrocatalyst development that resulted in introduction of spray pyrolysis for catalyst synthesis on industrial scale. He returned to the University of New Mexico in 2000 as faculty member of the Chemical and Nuclear Engineering Department. In October 2007, he founded the UNM Center for Emerging Energy Technologies and was its Director till December 2011. Prior to that Atanassov was the Associate Director of the UNM Center for Micro-Engineered Materials and the UNM site director of the NSF Industry/University Collaborative Research Center. He has standing collaborations with scientists from LANL, SNL, NREL, ANL, ORNL, LBNL and funded programs with industrial partners such as: Toyota, Daihatsu, Ballard, AFFCC, Sharp, Cabot, IRD, CFDRC and Lynntech. Atanassov's research programs include development of non- platinum electrocatalyst for fuel cells, new materials and technologies for micro-power sources, enzymatic bio-fuel cells, sensor systems design and integration of micro-analytical systems.

Research Interests

  • Sensors and Biosensors
  • Bio-engineering
  • Applied Electrochemistry