CAFF promotes professional development for our students and postdocs,  including co-mentoring, collaborative training, and career development though a quarterly speaker series on careers within and beyond academia.

Zhengyi Bian
Zhengyi Bian is a graduate student majoring Materials Science and Engineering in Prof. Martin Gruebele’s group at University of Illinois Urbana Champaign. He earned a B.S. in Chemistry from Jilin University.
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Briley Bourgeois
Briley is a Ph.D. candidate in Materials Science and Engineering in the Dionne Group. He aims to understand the working mechanisms behind energy materials and technologies to help develop better performing sustainable devices of the future. His current research focuses on understanding novel classes of photocatalyst at the atomic scale using light- and gas- coupled transmission electron microscopy. By imaging these systems in similar environments to their working conditions, we can determine how light can be used as a tool for controlling atomic structure and subsequently impact chemistry. He translates this understanding to lab-scaled photochemical testing systems which he helped to build and automate in the Dionne Group. By probing these system across length scales, they unearth the working principles and applicability of our findings.
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Sadie Brasel
Sadie received her B.S. in Electrical and Computer Engineering from the University of Missouri in 2021. She is currently a Ph.D. student in the Department of Chemistry at Rice University under the advisement of Prof. Christy Landes. Her research interests include ultrafast spectroscopy and single particle spectroscopy.
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Autumn Bruncz
Autumn received her B.S. in Physics from the University of Alabama in Huntsville in 2021. She is currently a Ph.D. student in the Department of Chemistry at Rice University under the advisement of Prof. Christy Landes. Her research interests include ultrafast spectroscopy and gold nanoparticles.
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Danielle Cadena
Danielle is an NSF GRFP fellow in the Roberts group at UT Austin studying energy conversion and light-harvesting materials. She synthesizes hybrid inorganic-organic systems, specifically semiconductor nanocrystals functionalized with conjugated acene ligands. She examines energy transfer dynamics at the nanocrystal-ligand interface using transient absorption spectroscopy.
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Claire Carlin
Claire is a Ph.D. candidate in Materials Science and Engineering with the Dionne Group. Her research interest is in using bimetallic nanoparticles for plasmonic photocatalysis. Plasmonic nanoparticles allow us to produce highly excited electrons from incident light, opening up new out-of-equilibrium reaction pathways. Currently, she is investigating the electronic and optical properties of AgPd nanoparticles using transmission electron microscopy.
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Subhojyoti Chatterjee
Subhojyoti Chatterjee is a postdoctoral fellow under the supervision of Christy Landes at Rice University in Houston, TX. He received his B.S. in Biotechnology from Bangalore University, his M.Sc. in Bioinformatics from Amrita Vishwa Vidyapeetham University, and his Ph.D. in Theoretical and Computational Chemistry from Swinburne University of Technology.
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Zac Faitz
Zac is a graduate student in the Zanni Group at the University of Wisconsin.
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Emil Gillett
Emil received his B.S. in Chemistry from Trinity University. He is currently a Ph.D. student in the Department of Chemistry at Rice University under the advisement of Prof. Christy Landes.
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Eric Gomez
Eric earned his bachelor's degree in Biochemistry from the University of New Mexico. His research interests are the photoluminescence of single particle nanomaterials, and he currently workS with emissive defects from the carbon dot surface. In his free time, he likes going to the gym, going on walks, and to cook.
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Niklas Gross
Niklas Gross is a Ph.D. student in the Chemistry Department at Rice University. He earned his B.S. and M.S. in Chemistry from the Johannes Gutenberg-University in Germany. His research focuses on the ultrafast dynamics of metal nanomaterials after optical excitation and their applications. Specifically, he studies the effect of defects in the metal crystallinity on the acoustic phonons of nanoparticles.
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Caitlin Hetherington
Caitlin is currently a Ph.D. student at Stony Brook University. She earned her master’s degree in Chemistry with German at Heriot-Watt University in Edinburgh, Scotland. In the Levine group, she is modelling the hot carrier cooling and photochemistry of quantum dots. She is also using ab initio multiple spawning to model the excited state life-time of oxygenated carbon dots.
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Annette Jones
Annette is an undergraduate in the Landes Group at Rice University.
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Joy Lee
Joy is a senior undergraduate student of Chemistry in the Gruebele Group at the University of Illinois Urbana Champaign.
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Stephen A. Lee
Stephen A. Lee is a postdoctoral fellow under the supervision of Stephan Link at Rice University in Houston, TX. He received his B.S. in chemistry and biology at Sam Houston State University in 2014 where he graduated with highest honors. He received his M.S. in 2016 and PhD in 2019 in analytical chemistry at the University of Michigan. His research focuses on plasmon-induced charge separation in plasmonic photovoltaic devices and understanding the photophysical mechanism of plasmonic nanoparticle light emission. His expertise includes single molecule/particle imaging and spectroscopy, plasmonics, and nanophotonics.
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Zetai Liu
Zetai Liu is an undergraduate at UIUC and will earn his B.S. in May 2023. His research interests lie in nanofabrication and characterization of nanomaterials. He is also a huge fun of snowboarding.
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Arshad Mehmood
Arshad is a postdoctoral associate in the research group of Prof. Benjamin G. Levine. He received his Ph.D. at Texas Christian University with Prof. Benjamin G. Janesko. His dissertation was focused on the development of computational chemistry interpretative tools to understand the orbital overlap and chemical reactivity. In the Levine group, he is working on modelling the photochemical properties of carbon dots and simulation of transient absorption spectrum using ab initio multiple spawning (AIMS) and time dependent configuration interaction (TDCI).
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Hyuncheol Oh
Hyuncheol Oh is a postdoctoral fellow under the supervision of Christy Landes at Rice University in Houston, TX. He received his B.S. in Chemistry from Chungnam National University and his Ph.D. in Chemistry from the Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology (KAIST).
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Brittany Pollok
Brittany is part of the Roberts Group and the Rose Group at UT Austin. She is from Seguin, Texas and received a B.S. in Chemistry from Texas Lutheran University. She joined the Roberts Group in Fall 2018. Outside of lab she enjoys hiking and swimming.
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Emily Searles
Emily received her B.S. in Chemistry and Political Science from Roanoke College in Salem, Virginia in 2018. She is currently a Ph.D. student in the Department of Chemistry at Rice University under the advisement of Prof. Christy Landes. Her research interests include single particle spectroelectrochemistry of hybrids, using plasmonic nanoparticles to report on reactions happening at soft interfaces.
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Jakub K. Sowa
Jakub is currently a postdoctoral researcher in theoretical chemistry at Rice University. For his undergraduate degree, he read Chemistry at Hertford College, Oxford. He then pursued his Ph.D. in Materials also at the University of Oxford working on the theory of resonant charge transport through molecular junctions. Prior to moving to Houston, he was a postdoctoral researcher at Northwestern University. In his work, Jakub focuses on understanding dynamics of molecular systems often collaborating with experimental groups.
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Lawrence "Joey" Tauzin
Lawrence "Joey" Tauzin earned a B.S. in Chemistry from Louisiana State University and. Ph.D. in Chemistry from Rice University. He is currently a Research Scientist at Rice University working under Christy Landes and Stephan Link. His Ph.D research focused on using single molecule imaging tools to study the diffusion and transport of small molecules in and near tunable polymeric interfaces. During his postdoc work for Stephan Link he studied the light emission from plasmatic nanoparticles, particularly the effects of crystallinity on the quantum yield of photoluminescence of gold nanorods modeled as a Purcell Enhanced emission process. His current work focuses on further developing the understanding of light emission from plasmatic materials as well as the development and deployment of outreach activities geared toward high schools students.
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Alison Wallum
Alison is a Ph.D. student in the Gruebele Group at University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign. Her work in the Gruebele Group focuses on studying the excited state electronic structure of nanomaterials using single-molecule absorption scanning tunneling microscopy (SMA-STM). As a part of CAFF, Alison is using SMA-STM to study fluorescence mechanisms of carbon dots and energy transfer in quantum dots. When she’s not in lab she enjoys playing volleyball, running, and gardening.
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Yuzhe Zhang
Yuzhe was born and raised in Jiangsu, China. He received his B.S. in Chemistry from Xiamen University, where he worked with Dr. Cheng Wang on metal-organic frameworks (MOFs) for photocatalysis and ultrafast spectroscopy of inorganic and organic solar cells. He joined Zanni group in fall 2021.
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