Janet Macdonald

Janet Macdonald

Assistant Professor of Chemistry

BSc 2003 McGill University

PhD 2008 University of Alberta

Post Doctoral Fellow 2008-10 The Hebrew University of Jerusalem

Assistant Professor 2011- present Vanderbilt University


Graduate Sudents

Shane Finn

Shane Finn

I am originally from St. Louis, MO, and I moved to Naples, FL, when I was young. In May of 2011, I received my B.A. in Chemistry from Florida Gulf Coast University in Fort Myers, FL. There, I worked with Dr. Jose Barreto in studying the effect of doping, annealing, and sensitizing titanium(IV) oxide for photocatalytic destruction of model toxins. My current project in the Macdonald Group is to examine molybdenum(IV) sulfide as a new, highly active, stable, and inexpensive nanostructured cathode material for polysulfide reduction in quantum-dot-sensitized solar cells. My future career goals include holding a research position in academia or industry, conducting further investigation into solar energy conversion and other alternative energy sources. I also aim to collaborate with other research groups in various disciplines in hopes of expediting the improvement and commercialization of solar technology, transitioning our society from dependence on nonrenewable resources to renewable ones. My hobbies and interests include comic books, videogames, movies, blogging, philosophy, and traveling.

Andrew LaCroix

Andrew LaCroix

I am originally from Spartanburg, SC. I graduated with my B. S. in chemistry from Lander University in Greenwood, SC. While pursuing this degree, I researched the synthesis of spiro orthocarbonate compounds for shrinkage reduction in epoxy telescope mirrors, as well as the synthesis of diazobenzene containing monomers for use in ultra-light weight photonic muscle telescopes under Dr. Lisa Brodhacker. My current research aim is to perform complete water splitting using hybrid nanoparticles with hole extracting ligands. In my free time I enjoy playing various musical instruments, staying active, and fixing things.



Alice Leach

I am from London, England. I completed my undergraduate degree at the University of Oxford, where I graduated with an MChem in 2012. While at Oxford, I pursued research in the anion chemistry of complex oxides under Dr. Michael Hayward and played a lot of lacrosse. I then spent a year teaching Physics at Wellington College, a British co-educational independent school in the village of Crowthorne in Berkshire. In 2013, I began my PhD in Interdisciplinary Materials Science here, at Vanderbilt. My current research interest lies in the structural and optical properties of semiconductor nanoparticles for use in solar energy capture. Outside the lab, I enjoy playing the guitar, staying active and drinking craft beer. My passion for beer is such that I hope to start home brewing in the next year.

Jordan Rhodes

Jordan Rhodes

I am from Woodbury, NJ. I graduated from Rider University in Lawrenceville, NJ with a B.S. degree in chemistry. In my undergraduate research project I worked under Dr. Feng Chen on the synthesis of zinc titanium oxide doped with magnesium for electronic applications. My current research interests focus on synthesizing iron pyrite nanocrystals. My hobbies include playing basketball, watching movies, and drawing.



Evan Robinson

Evan Robinson

was born and raised in Pensacola, FL and graduated from the University of Florida in the Fall of 2009 with a B.S. in chemistry. I subsequently worked in a ceramic membrane R&D laboratory in Pittsburgh from 2010-2011. Following this, I received a M.S. from the University of Oregon in semiconductor device processing, and did a nine-month co-op at Fairchild Semiconductor in Portland, ME. At Fairchild, I worked in the Process Technology Development group and split my time between working in the clean-room facility and developing scripts for the engineering department. I joined the Macdonald group in the Spring of 2015, and currently work with copper(I) sulfide nanoparticles. My wife and I live in Hillsborough Village and enjoy living in Nashville.


Stephanie Castillo

Stephanie Castillo

Came for an REU and decided she just had to come back for a PhD.





Postdoctoral Fellows

Emil Hernandez Dr. Emil Hernandez

Our prodigal Post Doc.






Nicole Jenkinson

Nicole Jenkinson

I am from Shepherdstown, West Virginia and I am a sophomore pursuing Bachelor's degrees in Chemical Engineering and Chemistry. I joined the Macdonald group February of my freshman year after reading about their research because I was interested in inorganic chemistry. I am currently working with CdSe@ZnS nanocrystals with a new ligand binding motif. Outside of class, I am a member of the Vanderbilt Student Government Sexual Assault Prevention Committee and Voce a Capella.


Group Alumni

Suresh Sarkar, PhD

(Postdoc, 2014-16) Postdoc with Prof. Andrew Smith, Universitry of Illinois

Michael Turo, PhD

(PhD, 2011-16, Vanderbilt) Postdoc with Prof. Alina Schimpf, UC San Diego

Summer Arrowood, MSc

(MSc, 2012-15, Vanderbilt) Chemist at Stony Creek Colors

Amadou Fall

(Undergrad, 2014-15, Tennessee State University)

Mathew Cleveland

(BA, 2015, Vanderbilt)-Southern Illinois University School of Medicine

Bryson Howard

(MSc, 2013, Vanderbilt)- English Teachin Assistant program in France

Nazharie Brandon

(Undergrad, Summer 2014, Vanderbilt)

Stephanie Castillo

(Undergrad, Summer 2014, U. Central Florida)- Graduate Program at Vanderbilt

Laura Mast

(Undergrad, Beckman Schollar, 2013-2014, Vanderbilt)- Graduate Program at Georgia Tech

Samantha Monk

(Undergrad, Summer 2012)

Erik Jewel

(Undergrad Summer 2012) - Graduate Program at Penn State