• Member Bios

    Prof. Jonathan Owen

    2009 -


    Jonathan Owen grew up in Midland, MI experimenting in the garage with the help of his father who was a chemist at the Dow Chemical Company. He studied the synthesis of asymmetric diazaphospholanes with Clark Landis at the University of Wisconsin-Madison (BS, 2000). In 2005 he obtained a PhD from Caltech while studying the synthesis and bonding of pyridine-derived N-heterocyclic carbenes and the C–H activation of methane with John Bercaw. Following his PhD, he was a postdoctoral researcher with Professor Paul Alivisatos at UC Berkeley (2005-2009) where he learned about the chemistry and photophysics of colloidal quantum dots. He joined the faculty at Columbia University in 2009 where he is currently Associate Professor of Chemistry. His group studies the coordination chemistry of colloidal semiconductor nanocrystals, as well as the mechanism of nanocrystal nucleation and growth. Jon has received several awards for his work including The 3M Nontenured Faculty Award (2010), The Early Career Award from the Department of Energy (2011), The DuPont Young Faculty Award (2011), the CAREER Award from the National Science Foundation (2012), and the Award in Pure Chemistry from the American Chemical Society (2016).


    UC, Berkeley - Postdoc (Alivisatos)

    CalTech - Ph.D. (Bercaw & Labinger)

    UW, Madison - B.S. (Landis)


    2016 - American Chemical Society Award in Pure Chemistry

    2012 - National Science Foundation, CAREER Award

    2011 - DuPont Young Faculty Award

    2011 - Department of Energy, Early Career Research Award

  • Dr. Daniel DeRosha

    Postdoc, 2019 -


    Dan received a PhD from Yale University under professor Pat Holland, where his thesis research interrogated the electronic structure and reactivity of metal chalcogenide complexes including iron-sulfur clusters. Interested in larger clusters that bridge molecular and bulk material regimes, as well as X-ray scattering spectroscopy capable of revealing long-range structure, Dan joined the Owen group in 2019. There his research focuses on III-V nanocrystals, which are at the heart of current efforts toward cadmium-free quantum dots. In particular, Dan is interested in innovating synthetic routes to nanocrylline GaP, and is currently developing new phosphide precursors and nanocrystal surfactants. Dan is an avid alpine skier and a musician. In his free time, he enjoys exploring the NYC food scene, and atoning for these adventures through jogging in Central Park.


    Yale University, Ph.D. (Holland) - 2019

    Carleton College, B.A. (Whited) - 2013


    2019 - Wolfgang Prize

    2013 - James Helmholtz Prize

    2009 - William Carleton Scholar

  • Dr. Abraham Jordan

    Postdoc, 2019 -


    Abe grew up outside of Syracuse, NY in the tiny town of Weedsport. No longer wanting to pick out what clothes to wear, he moved south and attended the Virginia Military Institute. At VMI he studied organic and inorganic liquid crystals with Prof. Daren Timmons while attempting, and mostly failing, to keep the chemistry off his uniform. He also spent one summer back in Central New York running columns in Prof. Daniel Clark’s lab at Syracuse University. After VMI, he moved to Atlanta and started graduate school at Georgia Tech, joining Joseph Sadighi’s lab. After five years of making copper complexes he obtained his Ph.D. and decided to move back to the Empire State and start making nanoparticles.


    Georgia Institute of Technology, Ph.D. (Sadighi) - 2019

    Virginia Military Institute, B.S. (Timmons) - 2014


    2019 - Anita and Gary Schuster Undergraduate Research Mentorship Award

    2014 - Wilbur S. Hinman Jr. Research Award

    2014 - Floyd D. Gottwald, Jr. ‘43 Award in Chemistry

  • Dr. Jim Shanahan

    Postdoc, 2020 -






  • Ellie Bennett

    5th Year PhD, 2016 -


    Ellie was born and raised across the pond in Leicestershire, the self-proclaimed ‘Heart of Rural England’. Moving south she studied Natural Sciences at the University of Cambridge. There she spent her time dodging tourists, navigating 800 year old traditions and studying a lot of chemistry. Ellie spent a summer undertaking research TU Wien in Vienna, Austria, and it was here that she decided she wanted to live abroad at some point. She developed a soft spot for batteries during her undergrad whilst working on defaults in layered cathode materials in the lab of Prof. Clare Grey. After graduating, Ellie ruled out moving to London due to not wanting to live in a large city and so logically chose New York instead. Swapping a small island for the even smaller island of Manhattan, she moved to Columbia and joined the Owen Lab and is working on the synthesis of ZnS quantum dots. Outside of lab Ellie enjoys going to live music events, eating ice cream and fighting the patriarchy.


    University of Cambridge, M.Sc. - 2016

    University of Cambridge, B.A. - 2016


    2019 - Jack Miller Teaching Award

    2017-18 - Columbia-Upjohn Fellowship

    2013-16 - Churchill College Scholar


  • Brandon McMurtry

    5th Year PhD, 2016 -


    Brandon was born and raised on a small rock in the middle of the Pacific Ocean (‘Oahu, Hawai‘i) by a father who studies rocks (geologist) and a mom who rocks. Unwilling to buy a winter coat, Brandon decided to stay home for college and study chemistry at the University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa. At Mānoa, he began researching in the lab of Prof. Ralf Kaiser, studying the reaction dynamics of simple aromatic molecules in interstellar model ice grains. Wishing to actually mix chemicals, he joined the lab of Prof. Matthew Cain with the goal of synthesizing chiral hybrid phosphine-phosphaalkene ligands. Finally ready to leave his little rock, Brandon flew 5,000 miles to New York City only to discover he was now stuck on an even littler rock. At Columbia, Brandon looks forward to studying the synthesis of indium phosphide quantum dots in the Owen lab. When not doing chemistry, Brandon enjoys eating interesting foods, aimlessly wandering around cities, and spending egregious amounts of money seeing Broadway shows.


    University of Hawai'i Manoa, B.S. (Kaiser, Cain) - 2016


    2018 - Jack Miller Teaching Award

    2016 - Magistad Awardee

    2015 - Giichi Fujumoto Scholar

    2012 - University of Hawai‘i Regents Scholar

  • Natalie Saenz

    4th Year PhD, 2017 -


    Natalie Saenz grew up outside Miami, FL. She graduated from Princeton in 2015 and did research in Spain as a Fulbright scholar in the field of bioinorganic chemistry where she used ferritin proteins to make magnetic nanoparticles. She escaped the world of biological chemistry to the most inorganic work she could find and now she works with cadmium chalcogenides.


    Universidad de Granada, M.S. - 2017

    Princeton University, A.B. - 2015


    2015 - IIE Fullbright Research Grant

    2015 - Sigma Xi Honor Society

    2014 - Princeton Environmental Institute Grant

    2011 - Ingersoll Rand National Merit Scholarship