Group Members


Prof. James P. Lewis is the primary developer and distributor of the FIREBALL ab initio tight-binding density-functional theory (DFT) package, which is based on local-orbitals and pseudo-potentials. FIREBALL is an academic computational package and widely utilized by several research groups throughout the world.

Prof. Lewis' research group works on computational characterization of materials for a broad variety. Our major research efforts include investigating, 1) interfaces between bio-molecules and metal nanoparticles, 2) porous organic/inorganic hybrid systems, 3) the electronic structure and optical properties of semi-conducting materials and 4) optimal materials design via high-throughput searching approach. 

Research Faculty

Dr. Hong Wang received her Ph. D (Physical Chemistry) in the Institute of Theoretical and Computational Chemistry at Jilin University in June, 2006. Prior of her Ph. D study, Dr. Wang finished her bachelor's degree (1997-2001) in Chemistry Department at Liaoning Normal University in China. She has been working with Dr. Lewis as a research faculty since 2006.  

Dr. Hong Wang's research focuses on applying density-functional theory approach to investigate the fundamental properties of metal nanostructures, bio-molecule metal  interface and nano-catalysts. 

Graduate Students    

M. Kylee Rice (Underwood) has been working under the direction of Prof. James Lewis since the summer before her undergraduate junior year.  She graduated Summa Cum Laude from the WVU Honors college with a B.S Physics (emphasis in Computational Physics) in 2010. She completed her M.S. Physics in August 2012 with a thesis entitled "Electronic Structure of Delafossites for Improved Photocatalysis"

Kylee is continuing her work with the family of metal-oxides known as delafossites to find solutions to energy and environmental issues with funding as a National Science Foundation Graduate Fellow.  She hopes to complete her Ph.D. by May of 2015.

Oshadha K. Ranasingha completed his BSc (Hons) in Physics at “University of Colombo, Sri Lanka” in 2008. Just after the graduation, he was hired by the “Centre for Instrument Development, Department of Physics - University of Colombo” as a Research Assistant and worked on several projects about “Alternative fuels and Solar energy harvesting”.

In Fall 2009 he started his PhD in Physics at West Virginia University. He joined Lewis group in Summer 2010 as a Graduate Research Assistant. He started to work on development and characterization of photo-catalytic materials to reduce CO2 in to viable products which can be used as alternative fuels, under the guidance of Dr. James P. Lewis. Currently he is investigating “Local heating effects of ZnO due to the plasmon resonance of Au nanoparticles”. He is developing his expertise in synthesis of nanomaterials, characterization of nanomaterials and photo-catalytic experiments. Other than his experimental work he works on computational calculations to support his experimental results. Oshadha completed his MS in Physics in May 2012 and expects to complete his PhD in Physics by May 2015.

Gihan Panapitiya received his
BSc (Hons) in Computational Physics  from the University of Colombo Sri Lanka. He then joined the Department of Physics of the same university as a Teaching Assistant. After 10 months, he  was hired by the Institute of Fundamental Studies, Sri Lanka, where he worked as a research assistant on  the project, computer simulation of sonoluminescence for one year. He was selected to the master's degree program at the Department of Physics, University of Akron in 2011 from where he graduated in Fall 2013. Gihan has been working in the Lewis group since Spring 2014. He is currently studying the photo-catalytic properties of delafossites, a family of metal-oxides and Au/Cu attached bi-metalic gold nano-particles

Ramon Beesley

Pedram Tavadze

Arturo Hernandez

Undergrad Researchers

Zachary Herberger

 Anya Leach


Walter Ferrell has been the IT administrator for the Lewis Group since November 2012. Scheduled to graduate May of 2016, he is currently pursuing a BS in Computer Science here at WVU. Outside of the lab, he is currently working on building novel Android applications and solutions including FloorNavi (in collaboration with Dr. Bourlai of the WVU Multispectral Imagery Lab) and Foodcycle – both project applicants for WVU's 2013 App Challenge.