Ryan Sullivan is a professor in the Departments of Chemistry and Mechanical Engineering at Carnegie Mellon University. He is also a faculty member in the Centre for Atmospheric Particle Studies. Sullivan has a background in atmospheric and analytical chemistry, single-particle analysis, heterogeneous kinetics, and cloud nucleation research. His research interests include the development of improved aircraft-deployable analytical instrumentation to characterize individual particles in the atmosphere in real-time. These instruments are used to investigate the physicochemical properties of atmospheric particles emitted and produced from a variety of sources, the chemical processes they experience during atmospheric transport, and how these processes modify the ability of particles to nucleate both cloud droplets and ice crystals, thus altering cloud properties and the Earth’s climate. These research endeavors involve equal parts instrument development, laboratory experiments, and field measurements.

2111 Doherty Hall
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Ryan Sullivan
Sullivan Lab

Removing PFAS Molecules Using Ultraviolet Light

Studying Atmospheric Particles Using Aerosol Optical Tweezers

Understanding Climate Change Through Clouds


2008 Ph.D., Chemistry, University of California, San Diego

2006 MS, Chemistry, University of California, San Diego

2002 BS, Chemistry, University of Toronto

Media mentions

Daily Mail

Sullivan quoted on household product safety

MechE’s Ryan Sullivan was quoted in the Daily Mail about the safety of household cleaning products like air fresheners. “To a chemist ‘really clean’ would actually be no scent because the scent is caused by a chemical,” Sullivan first told the Washington Post.


Sullivan shares thoughts on fragrance products in Yahoo

MechE’s Ryan Sullivan shares his thoughts on fragrance products in Yahoo. “Products can contain dozens of chemicals, and all it shows up as is one word on the ingredient list: fragrance,” he says.

Chemistry World

Sullivan weighs in on water microdroplet chemistry

MechE’s Ryan Sullivan spoke with Chemistry World about the contentious topic of water microdroplet chemistry, which has inspired mixed feelings among researchers in the field.

Military Times

Sullivan comments about the unique chemical bonds found in PFAS-containing firefighting foams in the Military Times

ChemE’s Ryan Sullivan makes a comment about the unique chemical bonds found in PFAS-containing firefighting foams in Military Times.

The Washington Post

Sullivan talks to The Washington Post about the danger of air fresheners

MechE’s Ryan Sullivan talks with The Washington Post about how air fresheners can actually have serious adverse effects on consumers.

CMU Engineering

All eyes on “forever chemicals”

Ryan Sullivan has been developing new methods to measure “forever chemicals” in the atmosphere and aerosol particles to answer outstanding questions regarding the components that lead to human exposure.


Sullivan and Gordon receive DOE award

MechE’s Ryan Sullivan and Research Accelerator Hamish Gordon have received funding from the Department of Energy to continue studying how wildfire emissions could affect the climate.

Collegium Helveticum

Sullivan organized workshop on chemical exposure

MechE’s Ryan Sullivan organized a workshop titled “Everyday-Everywhere Chemicals and the Human Exposome” at the Collegium Helveticum.

the Center for Atmospheric Particle Studies

Sudoc named startup to watch by Chemical & Engineering News

Sudoc, a startup co-founded by CMU’s Terrence Collins and Ryan Sullivan, has been named one of 10 startups to watch by Chemical & Engineering News. Sudoc is developing and commercializing TAML catalysts, a bioinspired environmentally friendly molecule that outperforms toxic chemicals in a wide range of applications and can be used to remove pollutants from natural and built environments.


Sudoc named in 10 start-ups to watch

Sudoc (Sustainable Ultradilute Oxidation Catalysis) was named one of “C&EN’s 2021 10 Start-Ups to Watch.” MechE’s Ryan Sullivan is a co-founder of the company.

CMU Engineering

Making environmental science accessible to all students

New Mechanical Engineering course dives into the connections between Earth’s water, air, land, and life.

National Science Foundation

Sullivan’s research on wildfires featured

MechE/Chemistry’s Ryan Sullivan’s research on wildfires and cloud formation was featured on the National Science Foundation’s The Discovery Files radio feature.