Leaelaf received his B.S. in Chemical Engineering from Addis Ababa University (AAU) in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia in 2000. He obtained a PhD in Chemical Engineering from Purdue University in May 2008, where his research was focused on finding better ways to represent and integrate product development information (physical, chemical etc) for the pharmaceutical industry. He also obtained an MS in Chemical Engineering in December 2004 for his work on the modeling of viscoelastic flow and an MS in Industrial Engineering in December 2007 from Purdue. He did summer internships with the Shell Oil Company (2006) and Eli Lilly (2007). He joined Dow in July, 2008.
He enjoys music and keeping track of current events. Leaelaf also runs a LinkedIn group called AIChE YPNucleus (link below).