Class of 2013

Aya Buckley

Aya was born in Japan and grew up in the great state of New Jersey. She attended Columbia University, where she studied the surface chemistry of CdSe nanocrystals in the group of Prof. Jonathan Owen. She also spent a summer synthesizing dinickel complexes for ethylene polymerization in the group of Prof. Theodor Agapie. She traded New York bagels for San Francisco sourdough and moved to Berkeley, where she works with Dr. Francesca Toma and Prof. Toste at the Joint Center for Artificial Photosynthesis in developing nanoparticulate systems for CO2 reduction.
akbuckley [at] berkeley.edu

Class of 2014

Patrick Bohan

Patrick was born and raised in the mountains of western North Carolina. He attended UNC-Chapel Hill and did his undergraduate research working on the palladium-catalyzed C-H alkylation of aromatic systems with Dr. Erik Alexanian. After graduating in 2014, Patrick headed out west to begin his graduate studies at Berkeley, where he joined the Toste group. When not in lab, he enjoys being outdoors and relaxing with his pals.
pbohan [at] berkeley.edu

Alec Christian

Alec grew up in scenic Salem, CT. He attended Wake Forest University and performed undergraduate research with Dr. Paul Jones. While attending Wake Forest, he worked as an intern at Pfizer in Groton, CT, working on methodology and the mechanism of the Ni-catalyzed Suzuki-Miyaura cross-coupling with Dr. Jotham Coe and Dr. Sebastien Monfette, respectively. After graduating, he made the move to the best coast and joined the Toste lab in 2015. In his free time, Alec likes to limber up on his foam roller, listen to Motown, and watch Duke lose.
alec.christian [at] berkeley.edu

Suhong Kim

Suhong was born and grew up in Goyang, Korea. When he was at Seoul National University, he worked on the development of ruthenium vinylidene catalysis with Dr. Chulbom Lee. Before starting his career as a Ph.D at Seoul., he really wanted to live in the United State for a while. So, he visited UT Austin as an exchange student and worked with Dr. Simon M. Humphrey. After having a fantastic year at Texas, he decided to pursue a doctoral degree at the west coast! Outside of lab, he enjoys both playing and watching basketball.
suhong [at] berkeley.edu

John Lee

John grew up in St. Louis, Missouri. He left the Midwest to study at the University of Southern California as an undergrad where he worked on the synthesis of perovskite nanoparticles with Dr. Richard Brutchey. After graduating in 2014, John came to Berkeley and joined the Toste group. Outside of lab, he enjoys watching Archer, playing tennis, and playing Settlers of Catan.
johnsl [at] berkeley.edu

Julie Rorrer

Julie was born and raised in Corvallis, Oregon. She graduated with a B.S. degree in chemical engineering from Arizona State University in the Spring of 2014, where she worked on amorphous photocatalysts for water splitting under the direction of Dr. Candace Chan. Julie joined the Toste group in the Fall of 2014 at the Energy Biosciences Institute and is co-advised by Professor Alexis Bell in Chemical Engineering. Her research is focused on the catalytic conversion of biomass to liquid fuels and lubricants. Outside of the lab she enjoys painting, playing the violin, and the outdoors.
jrorrer [at] berkeley.edu

Class of 2016

Edward "Wonderbread" Miller

Ed was born and raised in the wide open countryside of Brooklyn. Growing tired of the lazy small town vibe of NYC, he moved out to Long Island to attend Stony Brook University and perform undergraduate research for Prof. Melanie Chiu, working on the synthesis of photoswitchable catalysts for copolymer microstructure control. In 2016, he took the plunge and moved across the country to attend UC Berkeley and join the Toste lab. In his free time he enjoys grabbing a beer with friends, browsing dank memes, and hiking.
edwardmiller [at] berkeley.edu

Mariko Morimoto

Mariko was born in Osaka, Japan, and spent time in both Japan and North Carolina growing up. She obtained her B.S. in chemistry at Emory University, working on the development of novel benzoisothiazolone organocatalysts in the lab of Dr. Lanny Liebeskind. Although she will always love the south, she made the move to Berkeley after graduation and became a joint student in the Toste and Raymond groups. Outside the lab, she enjoys playing the piano, eating chicken nuggets, and trying out different kinds of coffee.
mmorim2 [at] berkeley.edu

Thomas O'Connor

Thomas was born in Lorain, Ohio and grew up in Kansas City, MO. Deciding to leave the Midwest, he attended Vassar College located in Poughkeepsie, New York. At Vassar College, he conducted his senior thesis under Professor Tanski. In 2016, Thomas obtained his BA in Chemistry and made the leap to the West Coast, hoping to escape the cold, dark winters he had grown so fond of since childhood. In the Toste Lab, Thomas's main interests are in developing novel catalytic methods as well as exploring unusual organometallic reactivity.
thoconnor [at] berkeley.edu

Class of 2017

Stephen Bierschenk

Stephen was born and raised just outside of Austin, Texas. He attended Texas A&M University, where he studied molecular gyroscopes in the group of Professor John A. Gladysz. After graduating in 2016 he left the Lone Star state to become a student in the Toste group at Berkeley. In his free time he enjoys being outside and watching Fightin’ Texas Aggie Football.
stephen_bierschenk [at] berkeley.edu

Banruo Huang

Banruo was born and raised in Shanghai, China. He attended Shanghai Jiao Tong University and got his B.S. in Chemistry with highest honors. As an undergraduate at SJTU, he conducted research on palladium catalysis with professor Wanbin Zhang. In 2016, he traveled across Pacific Ocean to be a visiting student at Berkeley. At Berkeley, he worked on organocatalysis and mechanistic studies in the lab of professor F. Dean Toste, as well as supramolecular chemistry, collaboratively with professor Kenneth N. Raymond. Wishing to be a bear for a little longer, he moved back to Berkeley and joined Toste Group as a graduate student. Outside the lab, he enjoys music, swimming and traveling.
banruohuang [at] berkeley.edu

Megan Neubig

Megan grew up in Columbus, Ohio. In an effort to get out of the midwest, she attended Smith College in western Massachusetts where she completed her senior thesis on natural product isolation and derivatization under Professor Shea. She also briefly worked in the Toste group in the summer of 2016 on the C(sp3)-CF3 reductive elimination from Au(III). Now she's back in Berkeley to finish what she started and drink more beer.
mneubig [at] berkeley.edu

Post-Docs

Trandon Bender

Trandon was born and raised in Utah (if your asking yourself ... no). He received his B.S. in Chemistry from Weber State University in Ogden, Utah. Tired of the dry heat and beautiful mountains, he set out to pursue graduate work at The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. There he worked with Mike Gagné on the selective modification of carbohydrates and natural products. Missing the freedom of the West he joined the Toste and Raymond lab in 2017 as a Postdoctoral researcher to think about supramolecular chemistry and its applications towards catalysis. To get away from lab Trandon enjoys hanging out with his family, riding bikes, and drinking beer (preferably at the same time).
tbender [at] berkeley.edu

Mingyou Hu

Mingyou was born in Sichuan, China. He obtained his BSc degree at Southwest University in 2008. Then he moved to Shanghai Institute of Organic Chemistry (SIOC) to continue his PhD study. In 2013, he got his PhD degree under the supervision of Prof. Jinbo Hu. After a 2-years' postdoc programme with SIOC and Merck, he joined the Toste group as a postdoc in 2015. Outside the lab, he enjoys the beautiful seaview at bay area.
mingyouhu [at] berkeley.edu

Ilia Kobylianskii

Ilia was born and grew up in Vladivostok, Russia. At the age of 13, he and his family moved to Saint-Petersburg, Russia where he attended lyceum 239 followed by Saint-Petersburg State University where he received his diploma in organic chemistry. He decided to pursue his PhD degree at ETH Zurich with Prof. Peter Chen where he studied gas-phase reactivity of organic and organometallic molecules. Now Ilia is an SNF postdoctoral fellow at UCB. And yes, he knows how to drive a tank.
ilia.k [at] berkeley.edu

Christine Le

Christine was born in Calgary, Alberta, but spent most her life in southern Ontario. She attended Western University as an undergrad and moved to the University of Toronto for graduate studies. Christine obtained a M.Sc. degree with Professor Vy Dong, working on Rh-catalyzed hydroacylation. She then decided to pursue Ph.D. in the group of Professor Mark Lautens, where she worked mainly on palladium-catalyzed carbohalogenation. Tired of the cold and snowy winters, Christine migrated to the Bay Area, where she is now an NSERC Postdoctoral Fellow in the lab of Professor Dean Toste.
cmle [at] berkeley.edu

Junqi Li

Junqi was born and raised in Singapore. She received her B.Sc and M.Sc from National University of Singapore under the supervision of Prof. Shao Q. Yao. In 2009, she moved to Illinois to pursue graduate studies with Prof. Martin Burke, working on the iterative cross-coupling of MIDA boronates. In 2016, she joined the Toste lab as a postdoctoral researcher to explore new catalytic reactions.
junqili [at] berkeley.edu

Javier Miro Arenas

Javi was born in Valencia, Spain, in 1988. He received his BSc in Chemistry in 2011 from the Universitat de València. In 2013, he completed his MSc in Experimental and Industrial Organic Chemsitry, and started his PhD under the supervision of Prof. Santos Fustero and Dr. Carlos del Pozo. As a graduate student, he worked on developing new transition metal-catalyzed methodologies, establishing organofluorine chemistry as the benchmark application. He also carried out internships in the groups of Prof. Toste (Berkeley), Prof. MacMillan (Princeton) and Prof. Akiyama (Gakushuin). In 2017, after completing his PhD at the Universitat de València, he returned to the Toste group as a Marie Sklodowska Curie Fellow. In his free time he enjoys live music, sports, going to the cinema, and grabbing a beer with friends.
jmiroarenas [at] berkeley.edu

Spencer Scholz

Spencer grew up in rural northwestern NJ before heading up north to do his undergraduate studies at the University of Vermont–Burlington, where he earned a BS in Chemistry and BA in Neuroscience in 2011. He then joined the lab of Tehshik Yoon at The University of Wisconsin–Madison and completed his graduate studies on novel triplet sensitized cycloaddition reactions. Looking to switch out the persistent polar vortex and Vitamin D deficiency for some year round sunshine, Spencer joined the Toste group in 2017 to investigate new strategies for targeting “undruggable” proteins.
soscholz [at] berkeley.edu

Cheng-Che Tsai

Cheng-Che was born and raised in Hsinchu, Taiwan. He received his B.Sc and M.Sc from Chung Yuan Christian University, working on the development of glycolipid-based gelators with Prof. Yow-Fu Tsai. Then he decided to pursue his Ph.D. in the lab of Prof. Chien-Tien Chen at National Tsing Hua University, where he studied enantiodivergent reactions using photoswitchable catalysts. In 2017, he joined the Toste lab as a postdoc to learn about chiral anion phase-transfer catalysis. Outside the lab, he enjoys jogging and cycling.
chengchetsai [at] berkeley.edu

Patti Zhang

Patti grew up next to the beautiful mountainside in the greater Salt Lake City, Utah area. After high school, she went to Texas where she ate BBQ and breakfast tacos to her heart’s content and, on the side, attended college. She started her undergraduate degree at Baylor University and finished at UT Austin where she worked in the lab of Professor Stephen F. Martin on natural product synthesis. Continuing east, Patti joined the MacMillan lab at Princeton University in 2012 to work on the development of new cross-coupling methods, specifically copper and metallaphotoredox catalysis. To escape the humidity, Patti moved back west to start a postdoc with the Toste group. In her spare time, Patti likes eating. When she can, she likes to get out to southern Utah where she can’t get enough of the natural red rock arches and canyons.
pattizhang [at] berkeley.edu

Jie Zhao

Jie was born in Shuangcheng, Heilongjiang, China. After receiving her B.S. and M.S. in Capital Normal University under the supervision of Prof. Shengli Cao, she moved to Tsinghua University. Her Ph.D. studies in the groups of Prof. Yufen Zhao and Prof. Hua Fu focused on catalytic copper reactions. Then she joined Prof. Yadong Li's group to study nanoparticle catalyzed organic reactions. Now, she is working on exploring the catalytic properties of gold nanoparticles. Outside the lab, Jie likes playing tennis and basketball.
zhaojie [at] berkeley.edu

Alex Zhukhovitskiy

Alex was born in Ukraine and immigrated to Chicago when he was eleven. As an undergraduate, he attended Northwestern University, where he studied chemistry and mathematics and was introduced to chemistry research in the groups of Tobin Marks and SonBinh Nguyen. Subsequently, Alex completed his doctorate at MIT: supervised by Jeremiah Johnson, he studied the surface chemistry of persistent carbenes and harnessed supramolecular cage chemistry to develop new polymer metallogels. For his postdoctoral work, Alex moved to UC Berkeley to join the Toste group, where he will learn more about gold chemistry and catalysis. In his spare time, Alex enjoys fishing, playing guitar and exploring Northern California.
alexzhuko [at] berkeley.edu

Visiting Scholars

Buyun Chen

Buyun was born and grew up in Jiangsu, China. In 2015, he attended Shanghai Jiao Tong University. He performed his undergraduate research in Wanbin Zhang’s group, working on the reactions of indole derivatives via Pd(II)-catalyzed di-functionalization of conjugated dienes. In 2018, he came to Berkeley and joined the Toste group as a visiting student researcher. Outside the lab, He loves archaic Chinese-style music. He is also a fan of Dota2 and Hearthstone.

Laura Garlatti

Laura was born and raised in Enghien-Les-Bains, France, a city at the north of Paris. She earned a B.Sc in Chemistry and Material Science in 2016 at the engineering school ENSICAEN in Caen, France, where she decided to pursue a M.Sc. in Organic Chemistry. During her studies she worked on Artificial Hydrogenases for Asymmetric Reduction of Polarized C=X Bonds with Prof. Jean-Luc Renaud and on the Design of New Cyclometalated Iridium Complexes Photocatalysts with Dr. Sylvain Guillard. In May 2018, she came to the Toste Group as a visiting scholar to discover Biochemistry through working on new strategies for targeting “undruggable” proteins. Outside the lab, she likes to hang out with her friends, go to the gym, cook and enjoy life.

Hengye Xiang

Hengye was born and raised in Hebei, China. In 2015, he attended Shanghai Jiao Tong University. As an undergraduate, he had conducted research under the supervision of Professor Shuyu Zhang since his sophomore year, working on copper-mediated C-H/N-H annulation to construct tetracyclic Indoloquinoline alkaloids. Driven by the curiosity of understanding more about reaction mechanism, he came to Berkeley as a visiting student in 2018 and joined the Toste Group to do research on gold(III) catalysis. He's also interested in parameterization and tries to use this method to analyze relevant reactions. Outside the lab, he enjoys cooking, swimming and diving into ACG worlds.

Rotation Students

Undergraduates

Tanya Lazarus

Tanya grew up moving around India, Malaysia and Singapore. She attended high school at United World College of South East Asia and graduated in 2016 when she decided to come to California to pursue a degree in chemical biology. In the free time she doesn’t have as a student in the college of chemistry, she likes to workout, play tennis and cook.

Arismel Tena Meza

Arismel was born in Michoacán, Mexico and grew up in Salinas, CA. She attended Salinas High School. Now, at UC Berkeley she is an undergraduate majoring in chemistry. Her main interest lies in synthetic organic chemistry. Before joining the Toste group, Arismel was an intern at Genentech within the small molecule drug discovery group working under the supervision of Dr. Craig E. Stivala and Dr. Jason R. Zbieg. While at Genentech her project focused on Ir-catalyzed Asymmetric allylic alkylations (AAA) reactions. In the Toste group, Arismel's focus is in developing new bioconjugation reactions. In her free time, she enjoys running, reading fiction books while sipping on tea, and making arts & crafts.