Class of 2012

Mark Levin

Mark was born and raised in Cleveland, Ohio. He attended the University of Rochester as an undergrad where he worked on oxidative Nazarov cyclization chemistry under the direction of Professor Alison Frontier. Having had his fill of harsh upstate NY winters, he migrated westward to Berkeley to join the Toste group. Outside of lab, he enjoys playing guitar poorly and sampling regional beers.

Drew Samant

Drew grew up in San Diego. He graduated from UCSD in 2008, when dinosaurs still roamed the Earth. After that, he tried his hand at numerous exciting pursuits, including peptide manufacturing, database maintenance, medicinal chemistry, and unemployment. Now, at long last, he is safely returned to the warm embrace of the University of California system.

Rebecca Triano

Rebecca grew up in Scranton, Pennsylvania, a city known almost entirely for being home of "The Office". She left the Electric City for the Bronx to attend Fordham University, where she worked on the synthesis and environmental applications of dendrimers with Dr. Amy Balija. After four years, she left the East Coast for Berkeley and joined the Toste group.

Class of 2013

Cynthia Hong

At Northwestern University, Cindy worked on the development of a three-component reaction for the synthesis of thienopyrroles with Dr. Alexander Statsyuk. Since then, she's headed west to work on her PhD at UC Berkeley as a joint student in the Toste and Raymond groups. Like any true Texan, Cindy enjoys barbecue and beer, fiercely hot summers, and Korean dramas.

Richard Thornbury

Richard was born and raised just outside Toledo, Ohio.  He left the Glass City for the University of Illinois-Urbana Champaign where he worked on enantioselective phase transfer catalysis with Professor Scott Denmark.  Upon graduation in 2013, Richard came to Berkeley and joined the Toste group.  Outside of lab he enjoys all things sports, fishing, CBS’s Survivor, and Tony Packo’s.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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 and Alivisatos groups. Outside of lab, he enjoys watching Archer, playing tennis, and playing Settlers of Catan.

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.

Class of 2015

Laura Sofen

Laura graduated from Carleton College in 2010. She then returned to her native state of Massachusetts to work at Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute studying marine microbial signaling with Dr. Ben Van Mooy. After participating in research cruises in the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans, she moved to the land between the seas, Panama, where she lived and worked for three years as a Peace Corps Volunteer. She is a joint student in the Toste and Raymond groups.

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.

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.

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.

Charles Winslow

Chuck was born and raised in the suburbs of St. Louis. He left the home of the Cardinals to go south and do his undergrad at Georgia Tech, thinking he’d be close to the ocean before realizing that Atlanta is still 4 hours away from a beach. At Tech, he majored in Chemical Engineering and researched the mechanisms of different antioxidants in polymer processing under Dr. Charles Liotta. Once he got out of Tech, he decided to inch his way closer to the ocean and head west to Berkeley where he joined the Toste Group.

Post-Docs

Souvagya Biswas

Souvagya grew up in Kolkata, India. He got his bachelors degree in Jadavpur University, Kolkata and masters degree from Indian Institute of Technology, Bombay, India. In 2010, he moved to United States to pursue doctoral studies in organic chemistry. He joined Prof. RajanBabu research group at The Ohio State University in 2011, where his graduate work was mainly focused on asymmetric catalysis of carbon carbon bond forming reactions using sustainable feedstock ethylene. After the completion of his doctoral studies in December 2015, he decided to move from cold Columbus to sunny San Fransisco to join the Toste lab to learn about biomass derived biofuels and lubricants. When not in lab, you can find him watching tennis and soccer or enjoying the beauty of nature at National parks.

Johnathan Brantley

John was born in Kentucky and completed a B.S. degree in chemistry from Western Kentucky University in 2010. John pursued his doctorate at UT Austin under the mentorship of Christopher Bielawski, where he explored the mechanical activation of polymeric materials. Following the completion of his degree in 2014, John joined the Toste laboratory at UC Berkeley. His current research efforts focus on developing new strategies for the synthesis of olefin monomers from biological feedstocks.

Jaime Coelho

Jaime was born and raised in Lisbon, Portugal. He received his B.S. and M.S. degrees in Chemistry from Instituto Superior Técnico, Portugal. He then moved to the Faculty of Pharmacy, University of Lisbon, where he earned his Ph.D. with Prof. Carlos A. M. Afonso in 2014 and pursued one year studies as postdoctoral researcher. In 2016 he joined Toste group to learn about asymmetric catalysis. Outside of lab, he is always in to do all kinds of sports and taste new beer.

Andreas Haering

Andi grew up near the beautiful city of Landshut in Bavaria. During his Bachelor thesis at the Technical University of Munich (TUM) he worked on the design of new catalysts for the copolymerization of epoxides and carbon dioxide in the group of Prof. Bernhard Rieger. He obtained his M. Sc. from the same university for his work on the Palladium-catalyzed asymmetric polymerization of bis(trichloroacetimidates) and dicarboxylic acids in the group of Prof. Stefan F. Kirsch. In 2013 he joined the group of Prof. Kirsch again to pursue his doctorate, which was accomplished in 2016 after struggling with polyketides for three years. Outside of the lab he enjoys mountain biking, snowboarding and music.

Seojung Han

Seojung was born and raised in Korea. She graduated with a B.S. in chemistry from Sogang University in 2008. She received her M.S. degree in 2010 from Sogang University under the direction of Professor Duck-Hyung Lee. She then moved to Caltech and began her doctoral studies under the guidance of Professor Brian M. Stoltz. Her Ph.D work was focused on the total synthesis of polycyclic natural products. In 2016, she joined the Toste group as a postdoc to learn about asymmetric catalysis.

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 Ph.D. study. After completing his Ph.D. in 2013 under the supervision of Prof. Jinbo Hu, he joined a SIOC and Merck joint postdoc programme under the supervision of Prof. Jinbo Hu and Dr. Yongxin Han. His research involved studies on the synthetic application of diazo compounds in organofluorine chemistry. In 2015, he joined the Toste group as a postdoc with SIOC fellowship to study gold(III)-catalyzed asymmetric reactions.

Roman Kazantsev

Roman grew up in San Francisco, got his Bachelors in Chemistry for UC Davis, and his Ph.D. in Chemistry from Northwestern University in Chicago. As a graduate student, Roman studied the self-assembly of solution dispersible organic crystals for photocatalytic applications. Outside the lab he enjoys being in nature, judo, and watching ice hockey. Roman is currently joint between the Toste lab and the Joint Center for Artificial Photosynthesis at the Lawrence Berkeley Lab where he is working on developing new catalysts for CO2 reduction.

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.

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.

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.

Marcio Paixao

Marcio was born in Cachoeira do Sul, Brazil. In 2007, he completed his Ph.D. under the supervision of Prof. A. L. Braga and co-supervision of Prof. Dr. Ludger Wessjohann, working with catalytic enantioselective methodologies. He started postdoctoral studies at the University of São Paulo (Brazil) and then at the Center for Catalysis, University of Aarhus, DK, where he worked under guidance of Prof. Karl A. Jorgensen. In 2010 he started his independent career at the Federal University of Sao Carlos, Brazil. In 2012 he worked as visiting professor with Prof. Carlos F. Barbas III at The Scripps Research Institute. Late 2016, he joined the Toste Group to learn the merging of chiral anion phase-transfer with transition metal catalysis. Outside the Lab he likes to walk around and taste local beers.

Maria Padilla Paz

Maria Padilla Paz was born and raised in Mexico. She received her B.S. and Ph.D. at UAEH and National Polytechnic institute in Mexico. As graduated student, she studied the coordination chemistry and reactivity of organometallic iridium compounds. Maria has been involved in several research projects including small molecules activation and catalysis. During 2016, she moved to Toste group as a Postdoc to explore new transition-metal chemistry and its development into practical and catalytic synthetic methods for converting biomass feedstocks to useful monomers.

Suresh Pindi

Suresh Pindi was born in India. He received a master's degree in chemistry from the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT Kanpur). Suresh got his PhD under the supervision of Professor Guigen Li at Texas Tech University. In 2014, he joined Dean Toste's research group. He is currently studying the heterogeneous catalysis for the production of biofuels and lubricants. Other than chemistry he likes to watch college football.

Tao Wu

Tao was born and raised in Anhui, China. He obtained his B. Sc. at Beijing Normal University, where he conducted organometallic chemistry research on nickel catalyzed C-O activation under the supervision of Prof. Zhangjie Shi (Peking University). He then worked with Prof. Guosheng Liu at SIOC to pursue a Ph.D. degree starting in 2007. His graduate work mainly focused on palldium catalyzed difunctionalization of alkenes. In 2013, he joined the Toste group as a postdoc and began his new adventure in the field of organocatalysis.

Baihua Ye

Baihua was born in Guangdong, China. He received his Master in Chemistry from Ecole Polytechnique Federal de Lausanne (EPFL) in Switzerland in 2010. In the same year he started his PhD under the supervision of Prof. Nicolai Cramer at EPFL. His thesis focused on the development of chiral cyclopentadienyl ligands for enantioselective Rh(III)-catalyzed C-H functionalizations. After completing his doctoral studies, he joined the Toste group in 2015 as a SNF-Postdoctoral Fellow to work on the field of chiral counter-anion catalysis.

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.

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 with his wife.

Visiting Scholars

Lizbeth Moreno Bravo

Lizbeth was born and raised in Mexico, she is a junior student at National Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM). She regrets that she is pursuing her B.S. in Chemical Engineering instead of in Chemistry. She joined Toste group in 2017 and is currently working on DODH reactions. Lizbeth also enjoys playing competitive volleyball and cooking.

Cyril Theulier

Cyril was born and grew up in Laval, France. He did the main part of his studies at the Ecole Normale Supérieure, South of Paris and he obtained his B. Sc. from the Ecole Polytechnique in the field of Molecular Chemistry, Science and Engineering (2016). Before starting his Ph.D, Cyril joined the Toste Group for 10 months as a Visiting Student Researcher. In his free time, he enjoys going sailing, running, playing Handball, and tasting beers at the end of the day.

Zhenchuang Xu

Zhenchuang was born and raised in Qingyang, China. Now he is a senior in college of chemistry, Nankai University and will graduate in July 2017 and will go on to SIOC to conduct his graduate studies. He previously studied chiral phosphoric acids catalyses under guidance of Professor Shou-Fei Zhu. In December 2016 he joined the Toste group as a visiting student researcher to learn about Gold catalysis and asymmetric chiral anion catalysis. Outside of lab, he enjoys reading, watching movies and exploring the beautiful state.

Undergraduates

Woojin Lee

Woojin Lee was born and grew up in South Korea. He left South Korea for studying chemistry in Kansas and transferred to Berkeley. He is currently interested in total synthesis and medicinal chemistry. Outside of chemistry, Woojin enjoys playing tennis, playing piano, and taking a walk on the campus. He hopes to be a Chemist/CEO at a pharmaceutical company in the future.