Coty Jen is an associate professor in the Department of Chemical Engineering and a member of the Center for Atmospheric Particle Studies at Carnegie Mellon University. Her research focuses on understanding how the chemical composition and physical properties of atmospheric aerosol particles influence air quality and climate. Specifically, her goal is to disentangle the chemical complexity of the atmosphere by measuring and then developing semi-empirical models to describe the numerous compounds and their reactions that help form and grow atmospheric particles. These models will help predict how human activities will alter air quality over the next few decades. In addition, Jen’s group specializes in developing novel aerosol measurement techniques to measure the physical characteristics and molecular make-up of atmospheric particles from several molecules to 2.5 µm in diameter produced from wildfires to complex atmospheric reactions.

Jen obtained her BS in chemical engineering at Columbia University in 2010, MS in chemical engineering at the University of Minnesota - Twin Cities in 2013, Ph.D. in mechanical engineering at the University of Minnesota - Twin Cities in 2015, and postdoc in environmental science, policy, and management at University of California, Berkeley in 2018. She received the NSF GRFP, NSF AGS Postdoctoral Fellowship, and the American Association of Aerosol Research Friedlander Award. Jen’s research is currently funded by NSF AGS Atmospheric Chemistry and DOE Atmospheric System Research.

2113 Doherty Hall
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Coty Jen
Jen Research Lab website

Understanding the Complexities of the Atmosphere

Faculty Insights


2015 Ph.D., Mechanical Engineering, University of Minnesota, Twin Cities

2013 MS, Chemical Engineering, University of Minnesota, Twin Cities

2010 BS, Chemical Engineering, Columbia University

Research Interests

Media mentions

Chemical Engineering

Measuring ocean air to understand clouds and climate

In the lab and in the field, Coty Jen is studying marine phytoplankton emissions and their impact on atmospheric chemistry.

Chemical Engineering

From fridge to lunchbox: Measuring sulfuric acid in the air

Coty Jen received a grant to commercialize a smaller and less expensive instrument that will enable the research community to start monitoring urban sulfuric acid concentrations more widely.

Chemical Engineering

Teachers turned researchers

Two local high school teachers spent a month as researchers in the Jen Lab, part of a pilot program to help increase atmospheric chemistry and climate change literacy.

CMU Engineering

Quantifying that pond smell

Researchers are partnering with the PA Department of Environmental Protection to determine if emissions from harmful algal blooms could be unsafe to breathe.

WPXI Channel 11 News

Jen discusses poor air quality’s impact on health on WPXI Channel 11 News

ChemE’s Coty Jen discusses the poor air quality resulting from the Canadian wildfires and how prolonged exposure can have a serious impact on people’s health on WPXI Channel 11 News.

Chemical Engineering

Undergraduate researches health impacts of wildfire smoke

Chemical Engineering sophomore Jing Lin researches how smoke particles released into the atmosphere by wildfires affect our respiratory and immune systems.

Chemical Engineering

Faculty earn DOE Awards for Atmospheric Research

Carnegie Mellon University’s Coty Jen and Hamish Gordon have earned Department of Energy (DOE) awards for their work in atmospheric research.

Chemical Engineering

CMU’s Dominic Casalnuovo earns NSF Graduate Fellowship

First-year Chemical Engineering Ph.D. student, Dominic Casalnuovo, has earned a fellowship in the prestigious National Science Foundation Graduate Fellowship Program (NSF GRFP). His research focuses on developing new techniques for measuring trace gaseous pollutants in the atmosphere.


Jen and Sullivan quoted on wildfires

ChemE’s Coty Jen and MechE’s Ryan Sullivan were quoted in Salon about their experiences with wildfires in California.

Shared Air Podcast

Jen and Sullivan quoted on coronavirus

ChemE’s Coty Jen and MechE’s Ryan Sullivan appeared on MechE’s Albert Presto’s podcast, Shared Air, on the role of masks in the coronavirus pandemic.

CMU Engineering

Engineering ways to keep doctors safe from COVID-19

When Allegheny Health Network and Magee Plastics needed help perfecting their simple intubation boxes, they turned to Carnegie Mellon engineers Ryan Sullivan and Coty Jen.

CMU Engineering

Prescribed burns may introduce new atmospheric toxins

Prescribed burns are an effective method for managing forests and controlling wildfires. But burning such a large amount of built-up fuel can significantly impact regional air quality.