Class of 2013
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 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 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 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 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 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 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
Class of 2018
Caroline Rouget Virbel
Caroline hails from the south of France. At 18 she decided to hop across the Atlantic to study at Princeton University where she obtained her B.A. in Chemistry and worked under the supervision of Prof. David MacMillan on Metallaphotoredox catalysis. After four years of New Jersey winters, she decided to move to Berkeley for her PhD. Outside of lab she can usually be found baking, stress-cleaning, or snuggling with her kitten Iridium.
caroline_rouget [at] berkeley.edu
Zeng Rong grew up in Singapore and obtained his undergraduate degree there from Nanyang Technological University. For his honors thesis he spent a semester on exchange at the University of Oxford, working on total synthesis with Prof. Darren Dixon. After graduating in 2018, he moved to Berkeley and joined the Toste group. In his spare time he likes playing the piano and swimming.
zengrong_wong [at] berkeley.edu
Wendy was born and raised in Brooklyn, NY. She attended Cornell University in cold upstate New York, where she did her undergraduate research with Jeremy Baskin. After spending 4 years in the cold, she was more than excited to move to Berkeley and start her PhD program in chemical biology. She is now a joint student with Francis Lab. During her free time, she enjoys baking, reading, exercising, and hopes to learn rock climbing.
wendyc [at] berkeley.edu
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
Lily was born and raised near Seattle, WA. She received her B.Sc. in chemistry at Western Washington University, where she was introduced to organometallic chemistry working with Prof. Tim Clark on Ir-catalyzed C-H borylation reactions. In 2013 she began doctoral studies under the direction of Prof. Nate Szymczak at the University of Michigan. Her graduate work focused on developing new strategies for Ru-catalyzed hydrogenation reactions of amines and nitriles. During her Ph.D. studies she was also a visiting student in the lab Prof. Ruben Martin at ICIQ in Tarragona, Spain, where she learned about the mechanisms and reactions of Ni-catalyzed C-O bond cleavage. Since you can't ride a motorcycle year-round in the Midwest, Lily moved back to the best coast after earning her Ph.D., and joined the Toste lab as a postdoctoral researcher in 2018. Lily is interested in applying her background in homogeneous catalysis to heterogeneous systems for reductive amination processes. Outside of the lab she enjoys experimenting with sourdough baking, learning the guitar, and exploring northern California with her fiancé and two dogs.
lilhale [at] berkeley.edu
Keywan A. Johnson
Keywan grew up in the beautiful U.S. Virgin Islands. Curious about the mainland winters, he attended
the University of Delaware where he received his B.S. in Chemistry. While there he conducted research
with Prof. Donald A. Watson on the silyl-Heck reaction. In 2013, he pursued graduate studies at the
University of Rochester in the lab of Prof. Daniel J. Weix. His research focused on the development of
new and improved methods for Ni-catalyzed cross-electrophile coupling. In 2017 he relocated with Prof.
Weix to the University of Wisconsin-Madison. The following spring, he conducted research on the
difunctionalization of alkenes with Prof. Yoshiaki Nakao at Kyoto University in Kyoto, Japan. After
earning his Ph.D. (and satisfying his curiosity about winters), Keywan joined the Toste lab as a
postdoctoral researcher to study enantioselective transformations catalyzed by gold. In his spare time,
he enjoys playing guitar, hanging out with friends, and exploring the west coast.
kajohnson37 [at] berkeley.edu
Hiro was born and grew up in Saitama, Japan, which is north of Tokyo. He received his bachelors from the University of Tokyo in 2004, and got Ph D. (in pharmaceutical science) from the same university under supervision of Prof. Shu Kobayashi in 2009. During his Ph.D., Hiro had the opportunity to study at Stanford University in the group of Prof. Justin Du Bois for 2 months in 2008. Since 2009, he has worked as an assistant professor in the group of Shu Kobayashi. His research interests are the development of heterogeneous catalysts for synthetic organic chemistry, mainly using metal nanoparticle catalysts, while also applying developed heterogeneous catalysts to continuous-flow synthesis. Some of his hobbies include hiking, tennis and Telemark skiing. Hiro is excited to the nice weather, beautiful nature and variety of good coffees in California.
miya0319 [at] berkeley.edu
Patrick grew up in Ontario, Canada and received his BSc in chemistry in 2014 from the
University of Ottawa, working in the groups of Prof. André Beauchemin and Prof. Mark Taylor
(University of Toronto). After a short internship at Genentech in South San Francisco in 2014, he
moved back to Canada to complete his PhD at the University of Alberta in the group of Prof.
Rylan Lundgren working on the development of metal-catalyzed decarboxylative cross-coupling
reactions. Relocating back to California, he joined the Toste group in the Fall of 2019 as an
NSERC Postdoctoral Fellow. In his spare time, Patrick enjoys playing racket sports (or any
sport!), watching hockey and having beer with friends.
patrickmoon92 [at] berkeley.edu
René was born and raised in the idyllic north of the Bavarian capitol Munich. After receiving his B.Sc. at the University of Munich, he had his first encounter with the Californian sun working on near-infrared copper probes in Chris Chang's lab at UC Berkeley. Missing the light German cuisine, he moved back to finish his Master studies in Prof. Thomas Carell's lab at the University of Munich, from where he also finally graduated with a Ph.D. investigating unexplored chemical pathways for the active removal of epigenetic marks in DNA. Escaping the yearly Oktoberfest madness, he returned to the good life at UC Berkeley in order to develop novel BINOL-based catalysts for enantioselective transformations. When not in the lab, René enjoys hiking, live music and rock climbing.
r.rahimoff [at] berkeley.edu
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
Ulli was raised in Potsdam, but was soon lured to Berlin to study chemistry and to enjoy the German capital. She completed her Master thesis with Prof. Hans-Ulrich Reissig in 2014, trying her luck with alkaloid synthesis. Not quite ready to leave Berlin, but anyways looking for a new challenge for her PhD, she joined the lab of Prof. Christoph Schalley to learn how to make supramolecular complexes fly. Ulli completed her PhD in 2018, which looked at supramolecular capsules and polyoxometalates by mass spectrometry. A short postdoc in the same group and a hipsteresque summer later, she jumped at the chance for the Californian sunshine. She joined the Toste and Raymond groups in 2018 as a postdoctoral fellow of the Alexander-von-Humboldt foundation to work on supramolecular catalysis. Outside of the lab, she's traveling, hiking, climbing and singing to her heart's content.
ulrike.warzok [at] berkeley.edu
Helene grew up near Basel in the picturesque western part of Switzerland. In 2010, she moved to Zurich to pursue her undergraduate studies in chemistry at ETH. An exchange semester at the University of Cambridge, where she worked in the group of Steven Ley, sparked her interest in natural product synthesis. Back at ETH, she carried out her master’s thesis in the lab of Antonio Togni focusing on novel trifluoromethylation reagents. Helene then joined the lab of Erick Carreira and completed her Ph.D. on the total synthesis of a sesquiterpenoid natural product and the investigation of anti-inflammatory isoprostanes. She moved to the Bay Area to join the Toste lab and to develop novel applications of gold catalysis. Outside the lab, Helene enjoys playing the violin and exploring the great outdoors of sunny California.
helene.wolleb [at] berkeley.edu
Anna was born in Washington, D.C. She received her A.B. from Princeton University in 2013. There, she was exposed to her first research experiences in Profs. Haw Yang, Robert Cava, and Andrew Bocarsly's research groups, and these opportunities inspired her to pursue graduate research in electrochemistry. She received her Ph.D. from MIT in 2018, where she investigated electrocatalytic CO2 reduction in Prof. Yogesh Surendranath's group. As a postdoc in the Toste Group, Anna is excited to explore the synthetic possibilities afforded by electrochemical approaches. Having lived on the east coast most of her life, Anna is enjoying finding new places here on the west coast to eat, go for a nice long run, and get that great cup of coffee with family and friends.
annawuttig [at] berkeley.edu
Wenhao was born and grew up in Chongqing, China. He obtained his B. Sc from Sichuan University in 2012. He then moved to Shanghai Institute of Organic Chemistry to pursue his Ph.D. degree in Professor Ang Li’s lab, where he focused on natural product synthesis, in particular, the synthesis of Daphniphyllum alkaloids. He obtained his Ph.D. in 2017 and then worked as a research associate in Professor Ang Li’s lab. In 2019, he joined the Toste Lab as a postdoc to study electrochemistry. Outside the Lab, he enjoys playing table tennis, riding and hiking.
wenhaozhang [at] berkeley.edu
Christian was raised in Kassel, Germany, but took the first chance to escape from North Hessian reservedness when he finished high school in 2015. He started his chemistry studies at Muenster University and received the BSc with a work on photoswitchable NHC precursors in the Glorius lab. Being tired of the small town life, he then joined the Nozaki lab in Tokyo to learn more about polymer synthesis and catalysis. After continuation of his graduate classes back home, Christian is now a visiting student in the Toste group and will be working on supramolecular catalysis. Outside the lab, he is a classical music lover, enjoys hiking and works as member of the board for a German party (no rebellion abroad, he promised).
gutheil [at] berkeley.edu
Hirofumi was born and raised in Hokkaido, Japan. He attended Mie University and got his
bachelor in the spring of 2019. He is in the first year for his master’s degree in the graduate
school of engineering, Mie University, and he researches in flow synthesis in the group of
Prof. Iwao Hachiya. He joined the Toste Lab as a visiting student researcher to study
organic synthesis. In the free time, he enjoys watching soccer and baseball games.
hirofumikikuchi [at] berkeley.edu
Kora grew up in a small village near Hannover. For her studies in Chemistry she moved to Hannover, where she obtained her B.Sc. in 2018 at the Leibniz University. Ready for new adventures she decided to spend a semester abroad at the UC Berkeley working on chiral anion catalysis. While not in the lab, she is exploring the bay area or enjoys playing tennis and piano.
k.reichau [at] berkeley.edu
Kun was born and spent most his life in Beijing, China. Ten years ago, he joined Toste’s group as visiting student and worked on the subject of biomass conversion. Now, he is a professor in Beijing Forestry University. Missing the sunshine and beautiful view in north California, as well as the unforgettable experience, he joined Toste’s group again in 2019. As a visiting scholar, he is working on the utilization of natural compounds and exploring the electrochemical reduction of CO2 with biomass-based materials. Outside the lab, he enjoys playing basketball and having great time with his family.
wangkun1207 [at] berkeley.edu
Hagar was born and raised in Egypt until she moved to Los Angeles, CA in 2010, where she attended Venice High School before coming to UC Berkeley to study Chemistry. She previously worked with Professor Ting Xu on random heteropolymer synthesis before joining the Toste group in Spring 2019. In her free time, she enjoys hanging out with her friends, playing the ukulele, biking, and sewing.
Katia is born and raised Bay Area, graduating from Los Altos High School in 2017 before coming to UC Berkeley to pursue a chemistry degree. She previously interned at Sandia National Labs characterizing helium nanobubbles. In her free time she loves to run, surf, and work on sustainability projects in the UC Berkeley community.
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.
The Toste Group | University of California, Berkeley