Maher El-Kady, an assistant researcher in UCLA chemistry professor Richard Kraner’s group, has been named one of this year’s Talented 12 by Chemical & Engineering News.

The annual Talented 12 list, created by the American Chemical Society’s weekly magazine to honor early career researchers, recognized El-Kady for “developing more powerful and safer batteries.” El-Kady developed a way to use a laser to create patterns by converting graphite oxide to graphene. The process changes the graphite oxide’s structure from tightly stacked sheets to a porous graphene network that’s useful for storing energy.

A native of Egypt, El-Kady received his masters degree in physical chemistry from Cairo University in 2009 and his doctorate in chemistry from UCLA in 2013. He is also co-founder and chief technology officer at Nanotech Energy, where he and Kaner are working on commercializing their graphene supercapacitor research.