The Boss

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.

Mike Turo

Mike Turo

I am from Albany, NY and joined the Macdonald group after graduating with a B.S. in Chemistry from Villanova University in 2011. As an undergrad I performed research under the supervision of Dr. Joseph Bausch and had an internship in industry working for SI Group. My current research interest is developing nanoparticles for use in solar energy conversion. In my free time I enjoy playing sports and spending time with friends.



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.


Summer Arrowood

Summer Arrowood

I am originally from Flat Rock, North Carolina. My undergraduate education was at Furman University in Greenville, South Carolina, where I completed a BS in Chemistry and a BA in Music. As an undergrad, I did research on self-assembling monolayers under Dr. Laura Wright of Furman University, and as a Howard Hughes Medical Institute Scholar I did research on headwater stream chemistry under Dr Brannon Andersen of Furman University and headwater stream temperature dynamics under Dr. Dripps of Furman University. My current research focus is gold-copper (II) selenide hybrid nanoparticle synthesis. In my spare time, I enjoy playing viola, sewing, drawing, hiking, and a variety of other activities.



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.

Postdoctoral Fellows

Suresh Sarker

Dr. Suresh Sarkar

I am from India. I joined Macdonald’s group in June, 2014 after completing my PhD in the field of nanomatrials synthesis and its photo-physical study from Indian Association for the cultivation of Science, Kolkata, India. Currently, I am working on developing the technique to achieve phase pure CuInS2 nanocrystals. In my free time, I love to play cricket, chess and watching adventurous movies.




Amadou Fall

Amadou Fall

I am from Cambridge, Massachusetts. I am a senior at Tennessee State University pursuing a Bachelor's degree in Chemistry. I first started doing research at TSU with lead thiolate complexes as a precursor to lead sulphide nanoparticles using a sol-gel process which which further grew my interest in research involving alternative energies. Over the summer of 2014 as a part of the TN-SCORE/VINSE REU, I worked on quantum dot-ligand interactions involving CdSe@ZnS core-shells with potential applications in water reduction and photovoltaics.. Currently, I am continuing the research from the summer. Outside the lab I like to watch a variety of sports, read books, and play games.

Matthew Cleveland

Matthew Cleveland

I am from Danville, Illinois. I am a senior pursuing a Bachelor’s degree in Chemistry, with plans to attend medical school after graduation. I studied abroad in Copenhagen the summer after my sophomore year, where I took a course on renewable energy systems, which spurred my interest in photovoltaics. Before joining the Macdonald group, I studied liquid crystal radicals in the Organic Materials Research Group. I am currently working on the synthesis and characterization of CuInS2 nanoparticles for potential use in photovoltaics. I am a member of the varsity cross country team here at Vanderbilt. In my spare time, I play basketball and video games, and I enjoy hanging out with my friends.

Group Alumni

Bryson Howard

(MSc, 2013, Vanderbilt)

Nazharie Brandon

(Undergrad, Summer 2014, Vanderbilt)

Stephanie Castillo

(Undergrad, Summer 2014, U. Central Florida)

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

Emil Hernández

(Post Doc 2012-2013)