Janet Macdonald

Janet Macdonald

Associate  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- 2020 Vanderbilt University

Associate Professor 2020- present Vanderbilt University

My education started in the very small town of Dorset, Ontario in a school with twelve children and one teacher. Mrs. McLennan did a great job fostering my love to learn because decades later, I still have yet to "finish" going to school. As a young student, I seemed to be always staring out the window because I was fascinated by the spinning black and while panels of the Crooks Radiometer on her classroom windowsill and the hoar frost that would cover the glass on winter mornings. I haven't stopped thinking about solar energy and crystal growth since.

Graduate Sudents

Lexie Koziel

Lexie Koziel

I am originally from Southborough, MA, but I spent 4 years in Cleveland at Case Western Reserve University earning a B.A. in Chemistry. My undergraduate research with Dr. Ina Martin focused on the effects of surface treatment on the stability of perovskite solar cells. Currently my research focuses on using NMR to ensure my the precursors to my copper selenide nanoparticles behave like they are supposed to. In my free time I enjoy running, indoor cycling, reading, and traveling.


Jeremy Espano

Jeremy Espano

I was born in Gainesville, Florida and raised in Ocilla, Georgia. After a few years in the rural south, I decided to explore a colder, more metropolitan area. Thus, after four years in Boston, I graduated from Boston College with a B.S. in chemistry. My undergraduate research with Professor Dunwei Wang focused on developing and improving materials for energy conversion and storage via solar water splitting. Currently, my research focuses on understanding how precursor decomposition affects the mechanisms of phase control in iron sulfide nanoparticles. In my free time, I love hanging out with my dog, swimming, biking, and playing the piano.

Andrey Shults

Andrey Shults

I am originally from Moscow, Russia. After finishing middle school in my country, I decided to continue my education in the US where I got my B.S. in Biochemistry from Florida State University. For my undergraduate research, I worked with Dr. Geoffrey Strouse on developing dilute magnetic semiconductor nanoparticles. My current research is focused on phase manipulation of metal sulfides. Outside of work, I enjoy outdoor activities and spending time with my friends.



Emma Endres

 Emma Endres

I am from Bourbonnais, Illinois. I received my B.S in chemistry at Indiana University in 2021. In my undergraduate research under Dr. Sara Skrabalak, where I became interested in nanoparticle synthesis, I studied the galvanic replacement reaction with intermetallic palladium-copper nanoparticle templates and gold precursor as well as platinum precursor. I observed PdCu-Au dimer formation and analyzed its formation as a function of Au precursor injection rate and volume. Currently my research focuses on phase control of iron sulfide particles, specifically via the addition of bidentate ligands. In my free time I like to paint, trying new crafts, and spending time with my friends.

Postdoctoral Fellows


Tony Peng

Tony Peng

Born in Reno, NV, and raised in Solon, OH, I am a Vanderbilt undergraduate student majoring in Cognitive Studies/Science and Chemistry. I joined the Macdonald lab the summer before my second year, beginning my work investigating phase control of copper selenide nanoparticles via in situ reactions with commonly used ligands and solvents. Currently, my research focuses upon understanding the role of reaction kinetics and thermodynamics in phase control of both copper and cadmium selenide nanoparticles. Outside the lab, I enjoy cooking/baking, playing with my cat Bran Muffin, listening to music, and exploring local coffee shops. Note from Janet: Tony is being modest! He is a prestigious Beckman Schollar!

Blake Catlett

Blake Catlett

I was born and raised in Chattanooga, TN. I am a rising third-year undergraduate majoring in Chemistry, with a minor in Earth & Environmental Sciences. I spent my first year of undergrad at the University of Wisconsin-Madison before transferring to Vanderbilt University, returning to my home state. I joined the Macdonald group in the summer of 2023, continuing a project focused on Anishinaabe rock art chemistry. The main goal is to re-discover the methods that led to the incredibly durable murals. In my free time, I like to cook, chat with friends, enjoy music, and go on drives.


Deborah Oke

Deborah Oke 

I am from Monroe, New York, and I am a rising sophomore at Northeastern University majoring in Chemistry. I joined the MacDonald Lab as an REU student under Vanderbilt's Institute of Nanoscale Science & Engineering. My research focuses on rediscovering techniques and materials used by Anisahanaabe people to make rock paintings. In my free time, I enjoy reading, embroidering, and playing guitar.


Group Alumni

Nathan Spear, PhD

(PhD 2023, Vanderbilt University)

Madeleine Fort, PhD

(PhD 2023, Vanderbilt University)

Danielle Penk, PhD

(PhD 2023, Vanderbilt University)

Christopher Sharp, PhD

(PhD 2023, Vanderbilt University)

Sarah Siman, summer reseacher

(Undergrad 2022), Vanderbilt University

Roxanne Hiojosa, REU

(Undergrad 2022), University of Oklahoma

Peter Edwards, Honors Reserach

(Undergrad, With Highest Honors, 2023), Vanderbitl Universtiy

Ralston Goldfarb, summer reseracher

(Undergrad 2021), Case Western Reserve University

Eric Ho, Honors reserach

(Undergrad 2020-2021, Vanderbilt) Emory PhD Chemistry Program

Jordan Rhodes, PhD

(PhD 2020, Vanderbilt)

Evan Robinson, PhD

(PhD 2020, Vanderbilt) CREE, Raleigh/Duram Process Engineer

Yilun(Paul) Zhao, BA Honors

(Undergrad 2015-2019) UC Berkley Chem Eng Masters Program

Puxin Xuanyuan

(Undergrad 2018) Vandy BA 2021

Emil Hernández-Pagán, PhD

(Post Doc 2012-2013, 2017-2019, Vanderbilt) Assistant Professor at the University of Delaware

Andrew LaCroix, PhD

(PhD 2018, Vanderbilt ) Lecturer, Lander University

Joeseph Veglak

(REU 2018, Rose Hulman Institute of Technology) Grad school at Penn State!

John Cliburn, BA

(Undergrad 2018, Becakman Schollar, Vanderbilt) Doing clinical research before applying for MD programs

Nikki Jenkinson, BA Honors

(Undergrad 2014-2018, Vanderbilt) Now pursuing MD/PHD at Johns Hopkins

Stephanie Castillo, MSc

(REU 2014, MSc 2015-2017, Vanderbilt) Now pursuing a PhD in the Hanusa group

Alice Leach, PhD

(PhD 2013-2017, Vanderbilt) Clean Room Guru, Vanderbilt Institute for Nanoscale Science and Envineering (VINSE)

Shane Finn, PhD

(PhD 2011-2016, Vanderbilt) Senior Staff Chemist with Chemours

Suresh Sarkar, PhD

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

Michael Turo, PhD

(PhD, 2011-16, Vanderbilt) Senior Process Development Chemist, Genalyte

Summer Arrowood, MSc

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

Amadou Fall

(Undergrad, 2014-15, Tennessee State University) Graduate Program at MTSU

Mathew Cleveland, BA Honors

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

Bryson Howard, MSc

(MSc, 2013, Vanderbilt)- Northwestern University and Improv Comedian

Nazharie Brandon

(Undergrad, Summer 2014, Vanderbilt)

Laura Mast, BA Honors

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

Samantha Monk

(Undergrad, Summer 2012)

Erik Jewel

(Undergrad Summer 2012) - Graduate Program at Penn State