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
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.
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.
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.
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.
I grew up in Columbia, SC. I completed my undergraduate work at Furman University in Greenville, SC, where I earned a B.S. in Chemistry and French, while working under the guidance of Dr. Marion Martin. I joined the Macdonald group at the start of 2013, and I currently study wurtzite CuInS2 nanoparticles for use in the photocatalytic splitting of water. In my free time I try to see movies, play tennis, watch 30 Rock, eat cheese, study French, and write short plays.
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.
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.
Laura Mast, a senior at Vanderbilt University, was selected to be a Beckman Scholar in March 2013. She is currently pursuing a Bachelor’s degree in Chemistry with a minor in Environmental Studies and hopes to attend graduate school. Passionate about environmental research, Laura began doing research at the Great Lakes WATER Institute in the summer of 2012 under Dr. Tim Grundl (University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, Geosciences) on urban agriculture, focusing on methods of analyzing heavy metal contamination. She continued that project under Dr. John Ayers (Vanderbilt University, Earth and Environmental Science) in fall 2012 before changing her focus to energy and beginning a nanochemistry project under Dr. Janet Macdonald (Vanderbilt University, Chemistry). She is using Grubb’s metathesis to achieve water solubility of nanoparticles.
Laura hopes to go to graduate school to continue her work with energy or perhaps focus on other environmental research topics. Additionally, she has served on the Vanderbilt Student Government Environmental Affairs Committee, with the Vanderbilt Garden Initiative, worked in the Vanderbilt Greenhouse, and has done internships with local nonprofits focusing on environmental injustice and pollution. She also has served on the executive board of her sorority, Alpha Chi Omega, and loves traveling with her family.
Stephanie Castillo is an undergraduate at the University of Central Florida. She is pursuing a B.A. in Chemistry and is expected to graduate spring of 2015. At UCF Stephanie is researching under Dr. Florencio Hernandez (Nonlinear Optics and Materials Synthesis Lab) where she synthesized metal nanoparticles using environmentally friendly nontoxic solvents. During summer 2013, Stephanie worked under the mentorship of Dr. Marcelo Sousa (University of Colorado-Boulder, Biochemistry) where her focus was in understanding the role of the proteins located in the beta-barrel machinery complex. Summer 2014, Stephanie is continuing her focus on nanomaterials in Dr. Janet Macdonalds’s Lab at Vanderbilt University. In a team, her role is to understand the electronic properties of some new exciting surface chemsitry of quantum dots.
Nazharie Brandon is a junior in the Vanderbilt University School of engineering. Her studies focus in Chemical Engineering with a minor focus on Chinese language and culture. Her first experience with nano-materials came via the Naval Research Laboratory in Washington, DC. Under Dr. Christopher Spillman. There she was able to synthesize and analyze the properties of gold nano-particle films. Nazharie is now continuing her nano material experience with Dr. Janet Macdonald at Vanderbilt, working with a team to understand the properties of functionalized quantum dots. On campus, she is involved in various student organizations, holding leadership positions in many; these organizations range from sorority to professional development to social. Nazharie is originally from Cincinnati, Ohio and enjoys reading, sports and cooking.