• Member Bios

    Prof. Jonathan Owen

    2009 -

    jso2115@columbia.edu

    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).

    Education

    UC, Berkeley - Postdoc (Alivisatos)

    CalTech - Ph.D. (Bercaw & Labinger) - 2005

    UW, Madison - B.S. (Landis) - 2000

    Honors

    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. Jim Shanahan

    Postdoc, 2020 -

    jps2244@columbia.edu

    Jim grew up outside of Worcester, MA in the town of Boylston and went on to attend the University of Rochester (B.S. 2014). When not hiding from the upstate winters in the university’s underground tunnel system, he could be found in the basement of the chemistry building in the Jones lab. His undergraduate work investigated small molecule reaction kinetics with nickel sulfide complexes. His doctoral thesis, advised by Professor Nathaniel Szymczak at the University of Michigan, focused on ligand design and assessment of unconventional hydrogen bond and Lewis acid interactions to transition metal bound small molecules (N2 and H2). After earning his PhD in 2020, he joined the Owen lab where he will apply his appreciation for ligand design, exchange behavior, and structure/function relationships to nanocrystal synthesis. Outside of the lab, Jim enjoys skiing, pyrography (woodburning), and visiting museums.

    Education

    University of Michigan, Ph.D. (Szymczak) - 2020

    University of Rochester, B.S. (Jones) - 2014

    Honors

    2018 - Margaret & Herman Sokol Graduate Summer Research Fellowship

    2014 - Carl A. Whiteman, Jr. Teaching Award

    2014 - ACS Undergraduate Award in Inorganic Chemistry

     

  • Dr. Ellie Bennett

    Postdoc, 2021 -

    eb3076@columbia.edu

    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.

    Education

    Columbia University, Ph.D. (Owen) - 2021

    University of Cambridge, M.Sc. (Grey) - 2016

    University of Cambridge, B.A. - 2016

    Honors

    2019 - Jack Miller Teaching Award

    2017-18 - Columbia-Upjohn Fellowship

    2013-16 - Churchill College Scholar

     

  • Dr. Sungho Park

    Postdoc, 2021 -

    sp4075@columbia.edu

    Sungho is from Seoul, South Korea. He was first introduced to inorganic chemistry research in the lab of Prof. Liviu Mirica at Washington University, where he synthesized bench-stable Pd(III) complexes. After two years in the Korean military, he decided to come back to the U.S. for graduate school and joined Prof. John Berry's group at the University of Wisconsin. Sungho's work at Wisconsin focused on paramagnetic ruthenium compounds and their N–P and N≡N bond formation reactivity. After receiving his PhD, he has joined Prof. Jon Owen's lab at Columbia to investigate nanoscale metal-organic frameworks.

    Education

    UW, Madison, Ph.D. (Berry) - 2021

    Washington University, A.B. (Mirica) - 2013

    Honors

    2019 - SRGC Travel Award

    2018 - Honorable Mention, IPMI

    2013 - Samuel Weissman Award

  • Dr. Mark Ziffer

    Postdoc, 2021 -

    mz2733@columbia.edu

    Mark is originally from Philadelphia and has been a scientist in Maine, Chicago, Seattle, and New York. He got his B.A. in Chemistry at Colby College in Maine where he discovered an interested in physical chemistry, followed by a yearlong research internship at Argonne National Laboratory in Chicago where he discovered another interest in materials science. He received his PhD in Physical Chemistry from University of Washington in Seattle in 2018, where his research involved using electro-optical and time resolved optical spectroscopy techniques to study the photophysics of organic and hybrid perovskite semiconductors in the group of Professor David Ginger. In 2018 he moved to Columbia University as a DOE EERE Postdoctoral Fellow to study the ultrafast photophysics of ferroelectric semiconductors using a variety of pump-probe laser spectroscopy and optical microscopy techniques in the group of Professor Xiaoyang Zhu. In fall 2021, he pursued a unique opportunity to work jointly as a postdoc in the groups of Professors Jonathan Owen, James Schuck (Columbia MechE), and Abhay Pasupathy (Columbia Physics) to establish a research effort at Columbia on quantum sensing with nitrogen-vacancy defect centers in diamond for imaging magnetism in two-dimensional materials. Mark is very excited to be working in all aspects of quantum with the Owen group!

    Education

    UW, Seattle Ph.D. (Ginger) - 2018

    Colby College, B.A. (Conry) - 2011

    Honors

    2019 - 2021 - DOE EERE Postdoctoral Fellowship Award

    2015 - CEI Graduate Fellowship Award

    2012 - Lewis R. and Joan. M Honnen Endowed Fund in Chemistry Award

  • Dr. Rodolphe Valleix

    Postdoc, 2021 -

    rcv2113@columbia.edu

    Rodolphe grew up next to the city of Clermont-Ferrand, in the center of France. After obtaining his bachelor degree in Clermont-Ferrand, he moved to the capital of the gastronomy, Lyon, where he complete his master degree in inorganic chemistry from Claude Bernard university. He then went back to Clermont to start his PhD under the supervision of Dr. Damien Boyer. After three years spent dealing with the synthesis of III-V quantum dots and studying their optical properties from luminescence to photocatalysis, he obtained his doctoral degree in December 2021. Without delay, he joined the Owen lab in January 2022 where he will use every chemistry tools he learned to improve the optical properties of indium phosphide-based devices. Apart from playing with chemistry, Rodolphe enjoys watching and playing sports, walking around the city and spending times to discover new food and beverages.

    Education

    Clermont Auvergne University, Ph.D. (Boyer) - 2021

    Claude Bernard University, M.S. - 2018

    Clermont Auvergne University, B.S. - 2016

    Honors

    2021 - E-MRS Graduate Student Symposium Award

  • Dr. Lilian Guillemeney

    Visiting Postdoc, 2022 -

     

    Lilian studied chemistry in France, at the Ecole Normale Supérieure de Lyon where he received his Ph.D. in 2021. He worked on the synthesis and the characterization of semiconducting nanoplatelets (CdSe, InS or In2S3 based), their conformation control through surface ligand exchange, and their self-assembly potentially resulting in new collective optical properties.

    Although he obtained a chemistry teacher position in the same University the following year, his interest in Science and research is unaltered and still growing up, such as he joined Jon's group for a short research stay on InP quantum dots etching. Outside of the lab, Lilian is a musician, who enjoys also hiking in the Alps and cooking in the French traditional way.

    Education

    École Normale Supérieure de Lyon, Ph.D. (Abécassis) - 2021

    École Normale Supérieure de Lyon, M.S. - 2018

    École Normale Supérieure de Lyon, B.S. - 2015

    University of Burgundy, B.S. - 2014

    Honors

    2017 - Agregation de chimie

  • Natalie Saenz

    5th Year PhD, 2017 -

    ns3221@columbia.edu

    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.

    Education

    Universidad de Granada, M.S. (Cultrone) - 2017

    Princeton University, A.B. - 2015

    Honors

    2015 - IIE Fullbright Research Grant

    2015 - Sigma Xi Honor Society

    2014 - Princeton Environmental Institute Grant

    2011 - Ingersoll Rand National Merit Scholarship

     

  • Bereket Zekarias

    2nd Year PhD, 2020 -

    blz2105@columbia.edu

    Bereket Zekarias was born and raised in the vibrant city of Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. She came to the states at 16 to attend an international boarding school in Montezuma, New Mexico. After two years in beautiful Montezuma, she attended Brown university and studied biochemistry and molecular biology. After a gap year at home, she moved back to the states to pursue her masters in pharmaceutical sciences at University of Wisconsin-Madison. During her graduate studies, she synthesized analogues that were potent against Venezuelan equine encephalitis virus (VEEV) and worked on the rearrangement of chloroquinazolinones to twisted-cyclic guanidines or ring-fused N-acylguanidines. Finding the prospect of living in New York City irresistible, she moved to Columbia university and joined the Owen lab to study quantum dots' surface coordination chemistry. Bereket enjoys writing short stories, reading and watching movies.

    Education

    University of Wisconsin-Madison, M.Sc. (Golden) - 2018

    Brown University, Sc.B. (Sello) - 2015

    Honors

    John & Jane Roudebush Wisconsin Distinguished Graduate Fellowship

    Karen T. Romer Teaching & Research Award

    Armand Hammer United World College Davis Scholar

  • Yuzuka Karube

    1st Year PhD, 2021 -

    yk2948@columbia.edu

    Yuzuka was born in Iwakura, Japan, grew up in Memphis, TN, and went to high school in Los Angeles, CA. She wanted a change of scenery again and moved to Baltimore, MD to pursue a degree in chemistry at Johns Hopkins University. She studied under Professor Thomas Kempa, studying redox-active dimolybdenum metal organic frameworks. After graduating from Hopkins with more degrees than originally planned, she decided to move yet again and headed off to New York City to pursue a Ph.D. in chemistry at Columbia. In the Owen Lab, she is studying PbS in perovskites and spectroscopic methods. In her free time, Yuzuka likes cooking, thrift shopping, and exploring the city.

    Education

    Johns Hopkins University, M.A. (Kempa) - 2021

    Johns Hopkins University, B.A., B.S. - 2021

    Honors

    2019 - Greer Undergraduate Research Award

  • William Zhang

    1st Year PhD, 2021 -

    wz2588@columbia.edu

    William was born and raised in Arcadia, CA outside of the Los Angeles Metropolitan Area. Harboring an appreciation for sunny days and ocean views, he studied Chemistry at the University of California Santa Barbara (B.S. 2021) and developed a love for synthetic chemistry, having worked in the lab of Prof. Ram Seshadri under Molleigh Preefer developing functional magnetics and materials for lithium-ion batteries utilizing solid state methodologies. After graduating, William decided warm sunny days are overrated and took his former mentor’s advice to move from sea to shining sea. Now at the Owen Lab, William is studying the synthesis of III-V semiconductor nanocrystals. While not mixing chemicals, William enjoys wandering New York City’s many neighborhoods, watching Broadway shows, listening to live music, drinking coffee, and swearing there is no way it can get any colder in this city.

    Education

    University of California, Santa Barbara, B.S. (Seshadri) - 2021

    Honors

    2018 - John Mithun Foundation Scholarship

  • Colin Davis

    Undergraduate, 2022 -

    cd3262@columbia.edu

    Colin is from the southern coast of North Carolina, in a beachside town called Jacksonville. To achieve a more challenging, faster-paced environment he decided to continue his education in New York City at Columbia University. He plans to major in Biochemistry on a premed track in hopes of going to medical school or graduate school. Though Colin has several different research interests, he has a keen liking for metal-organic frameworks. In his day-to-day life, Colin enjoys singing, music arranging and composing, cooking, and reading.

     

    Education

    Columbia University, B.A. - expected 2025

    Coastal Carolina Community College, A.S. - 2021

    Honors

    2022- Guthikonda Family Fellowship

    2022- Thomson Family Scholarship