Class of 2012

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.
asamant [at] berkeley.edu

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.
rtriano [at] berkeley.edu

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.
cmh206 [at] berkeley.edu

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.
r.thornbury [at] berkeley.edu

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

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.
charles.winslow [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

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.
sbiswas [at] berkeley.edu

Mario Ellwart

Mario was born and raised in Munich, Germany. He received his B.S. and M.S. degrees in Chemistry from the Ludwig-Maximilians-University Munich and joined the group of Prof. Paul Knochel for his doctorate in 2014. As graduated student, he studied preparation methods and reactions of salt stabilized organozinc reagents for the functionalization of aromatics, heteroaromatics, and allylic compounds. In 2017, he joined the Toste group as a DFG Postdoctoral Fellow to learn about asymmetric catalysis. Outside of the lab he enjoys hiking, rock climbing, and snowboarding.
mellwart [at] berkeley.edu

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.
haering [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 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.
mingyouhu [at] berkeley.edu

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.
rkazantsev [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

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.
mwpaixao [at] berkeley.edu

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.
spindi [at] berkeley.edu

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.
baihua.ye [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 with his wife.
alexzhuko [at] berkeley.edu

Visiting Scholars

Hsin-Hui Lin

Hsin-Hui was born and raised in Taipei, Taiwan. She obtained her B.S. at National Hsinchu University of Education (2008). She then received her M.S. at National Taiwan Normal University (2011) and pursued her Ph. D. under the supervision of Prof. Ming-Chang Yeh. Her work focused around iron-promoted cyclization reactions. In March 2017, she joined the Toste group as a visiting student researcher. When she’s not in the lab, she enjoys reading and playing basketball in her free time.

Akira Matsumoto

Akira was born and raised in Gifu, Japan. He is a Ph.D. program student in the group of Prof. Seijiro Matsubara at Kyoto University and working on the asymmetric synthesis of polyol compounds by using organocatalysts. Outside the lab, he enjoys scenic spots and delicious foods of California.

Undergraduates