Former postdocs

Dr. Marcus Hanwell came to Pittsburgh from the University of Sheffield, UK.  Marcus obtained his Ph.D. in physics, studying the self-assembly of Langmuir-Blodgett films for gas sensors with Dr. Tim Richardson, which involves a combination of experiment and simulation.  At Pitt, he helped set up the group and developed the simulation framework for designer defects.  He now works for Kitware, a scientific visualization software developer and is working on VTK and CMake, in addition to contributing to Avogadro.

Former Graduate Students

Kyle Reese returned to Pittsburgh after completing his B.S. in chemistry at Bucknell University. He worked on creating and controlling piezoelectric assemblies within the single-molecule piezoelectrics project.



Dr. Paula Hoffmann came to Pittsburgh after completing her B.S. in chemistry at DePaul University in Chicago, IL. Her graduate study work focused on atomic force microscopy characterization techniques and will be investigating charge transport dynamics and kinetics within the organic-solar cells and designer defects projects. Paula successfully defended her thesis in April 2015. Paula is currently employed a Project Architect (project manager) with PreScouter, based in Evanston, IL. She handles rapid research projects for a variety of client industries such as coating technologies, drug delivery, process optimization.


Dr. Xialing Chen came to the University of Pittsburgh from the prestigious University of Science and Technology of China. Her dissertation, titled Optical and Electrical Properties of Organic Semiconductors: Experiment and Simulation, is part of the designer defect project in which Xialing studied electrostatic self-assembly of semiconducting films and transistor characterization.



Dr. Adam Gagorik is a lifelong Pittsburgh resident.  His work in the group on theoretical simulation of charge transfer in organic semiconductors as part of the designer defects project culminated with the defense of his thesis entitled Charge Transport in Disordered Materials. Adam is a post-doctoral research associate at Northwestern University, collaborating on a variety of photovoltaic and solar fuel related projects..



Dr. Xinfeng Quan comes to the University of Pittsburgh from Fudan University in Shanghai.  In Fall 2013, he successfully defended his dissertation work entitled Single Molecule Piezoelectrics and Ferroelectrics: from Theory to Experiment and is currently working as a post-doc in the group. He is currently employed as an Assistant Professor at Sichuan University-Pittsburgh Institute.



Steven Owens worked on synthesis of oligo- and polythiophene materials within the organic solar cells project. Steve graduated from the University of Pittsburgh with his M.S. in August 2013 and currently works at Bayer Material Science. He graduated from Penn State in December 2009 with his B.S. in chemistry. Steve is currently a senior R&D specialist at Covestro in Pittsburgh.



dscf00791-1024x796Dr. Andrey Sharapov worked on developing computational models in the group. His dissertation involved the use of the Harris approximation in DFT for predicting pi stacking geometries in conjugated molecules, with a speed up of 10-20x over conventional methods. Andrey defended in the physics department in April 2013.



dscf0062_2-1024x768Dr. Tamika Madison is a life-long Pittsburgh resident and attended Pitt as an undergraduate.  She joined the group in 2009 to work on Monte Carlo simulation of charge transport in the designer defect project.  Tamika graduated with her Ph.D. in May 2011. She is currently a lecturer and lab instructor in the chemistry department at Pitt.




DSCF0014_2(1)Aaron Crandall comes from Alfred, NY and studied at Utica College before starting as a graduate student at the University of Pittsburgh.  In the group, Aaron worked on synthesis of semiconducting transition metal complexes.  He graduated from the Library Science program at Pitt in 2011.



Former Undergraduates

stk-fgr5Taylor Cornell (’16) worked with graduate student, Chris Marvin, on the patterning project. After completing her B.S. in Chemistry, she continued her education by enrolling in a M.S. of Cosmetic Science program.


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Eric LeCaeto (’15) is originally from Coatesville, PA. At Pitt, he graduated as  pre-pharmacy student studying chemistry with a bioscience track. In the group, Eric worked with graduate student Chris Marvin on synthesis in the piezoelectric project. He continued his education by pursuing a doctorate in pharmacy.



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Michelle Hu (’15) was born in Pittsburgh, but spent half of her childhood in Taiwan. She graduated with an ACS certified bachelors degree at the University of Pittsburgh. Within the group, she worked under the guidance of Prof. Hutchison on theoretical calculations for the piezoelectric project.




Isabel Foreman-Ortiz (’15) grew up in Lebanon, PA. She graduated with a B.S. degree in chemistry at Pitt with a bioscience focus. She worked under the direction of graduate student Paula Hoffmann on patterning of organic semiconductors and atomic force microscopy characterization techniques.


croppedMichael Moody (’15) is a Pittsburgh native who graduated form Pitt with a BS in engineering science with minors in chemistry and German. Michael worked with graduate student Chris Marvin on fabricating and testing piezoelectric foam. He continued his chemistry education by enrolling in the PhD program at Northwestern University.



Benjamin Frank (’14), from Holland, Pennsylvania graduated with a B.S. in chemistry with concentration in bioscience. His research focus was on piezoelectric patterning through micro-contact printing and atomic force microscopy under post-doc student Xinfeng Quan.



Leandro Gil-Silva (’16) studied chemistry Pitt with a focus in physical chemistry and materials and performed research on crystal growth atop a self assembled monolayer for testing piezoelectric properties of small crystals within the organic piezoelectric project.




Matt McCoy (’13) graduated with a chemistry degree from Pitt and is originally from the Pittsburgh area.  He worked on organic synthesis within the organic solar cells project.




downloadJon Bechtel (’13) graduated from Pitt with degrees chemistry and applied mathematics. He worked with Grad student Ilana Kanal on the screening of monomers for application in organic solar cells and investigating the effect of polymer sequencing on their performance. Jon continued his education with as a graduate student at UC Santa Barbara.



322363_10150344762607285_1128856904_oShannon Davies (’13) worked with graduate student Xinfeng Quan on monolayer characterization inside of the molecular piezoelectrics project during her senior year at Pitt.




Valerie Lentz (’13) started work as a junior.  Originally from Ohio, she came to Pitt in order to study chemistry and worked on the organic solar cells project until Spring 2012.




Terry Paske (’12) is from Sharpsville, PA.  She worked on the single-molecule piezoelectrics project alongside graduate student Xinfeng Quan, focusing primarily on AFM characterization. Terry is now working for PPG.




DSCF0090Bryan Siegfried (’11) worked on developing synthetic techniques on phthalocyanine derivatives.  He has a B.S. in Chemistry and a B.A. in Economics and comes from the prestigious small town of Hatboro, PA.  He is now working at Gelest, a leading supplier of silicones, silanes, and other silicon-containing compounds.



Leah Seebald (’11) worked on computational and theoretical projects until her graduation Spring 2011. She now works in Pittsburgh at RedPath Integrated Pathology, Inc.



Arthur Davis (’10) had been working in the group since the fall of 2008 on rational synthesis of semiconducting inorganic complexes, including substituted terpyridines and phthalocyanines. Arthur now works for Calgon Carbon, a company that specializes in supplying activated carbon and innovative treatment systems and is headquartered in Pittsburgh.


Evan Richards (’11) joined the group in Spring 2010 and worked on synthesis of soluble metal phthalocyanines.  He started a job Sonneborn Industries after graduation, and there he works on instrumental analysis and analytical method innovation.



Casey Campbell (’10) came to Pitt from Altoona, PA.  She joined the group in the fall of 2008 and worked on computational and theoretical chemistry.  Casey continued her love of chemistry as a graduate student at Georgia Tech in the group of Jean-Luc Brédas.



Alexandra McSorley (’10) joined the group in January 2009 and worked on computational and theoretical projects. Alexandra left Pitt for graduate school in chemistry at Cornell University.