Resnick Institute

Past Postdoctoral Scholars

James Blakemore

James Blakemore

2014 Resnick Postdoctoral Scholar

James was raised in Kansas and studied as an undergraduate student at Wichita State University. He graduated summa cum laude in 2007 with a BS in chemistry and a BA in spanish with a minor in russian. James then enrolled at Yale University, where he completed his PhD in chemistry in 2012. He then joined Harry Gray’s group as a postdoctoral fellow in the NSF Center for Chemical Innovation in Solar Fuels, prior to receiving his Resnick fellowship. James' research focused on using the tools of inorganic chemistry to address challenges in catalysis, solar-energy conversion, and sustainability.

Faculty Sponsor: Harry B. Gray

Artur Davoyan

Artur Davoyan

2015 Resnick Postdoctoral Scholar and Kavli Nanoscience Institute Fellow

Artur's research focused on the physics of nanoscale structures for applications in energy harvesting. He received his BS from Saratov State University, Russia (2007) and PhD from Australian National University (2011).

Faculty Sponsor: Harry A. Atwater

Sonja Francis

Sonja Francis

2015 Resnick Postdoctoral Scholar

Sonja was born in the twin island republic of Trinidad and Tobago. She graduated from the University of the West Indies, St. Augustine with first class honours in a BSc chemistry and management. For her graduate studies, she moved to Canada where she earned a PhD in chemistry at the University of Alberta in 2013 under the supervision of Steven Bergens. Her research focused on the development of alkaline alcohol fuel-cell catalysts. Sonja joined Caltech in 2014 and worked in the Lewis research group developing catalysts and product analysis methods for light driven and dark electrochemical carbon dioxide reduction. This reaction is important as it is a potential source of carbon neutral fuels and/or commodity chemicals.

Faculty Sponsor: Nathan S. Lewis

Jing-Shun Huang

Jing-Shun Huang

2014 Resnick Postdoctoral Scholar

Jing-Shun worked in organic photovoltaics employing plasmon-enhanced long-distance energy transfer. Prior to arriving at Caltech, he spent two years at Yale University as a postdoctoral associate investigating Förster resonance energy transfer to improve the quantum yields of incident photons in polymer solar cells —and achieved a 38% increase in power conversion efficiency. Prior to arriving at Yale, he received his PhD in photonics and optoelectronics from National Taiwan University, where his work involved the invention of transition metal oxide inks for optical spacers in polymer solar cells, the development of organic-inorganic hybrid solar cells, and the design of ZnO nanostructures.

Faculty Sponsor: Harry A. Atwater

Justin Jasper

Justin Jasper

2015 Resnick Postdoctoral Scholar

Justin researched sustainable water treatment technologies that conserve water resources while protecting the natural environment. He earned his PhD developing a novel open-water wetland cell that enhances the removal of nutrients and pharmaceuticals from wastewater effluent at UC Berkeley. This treatment technology has since moved from pilot-scale to the demonstration scale at the Prado Wetlands in Orange County. At Caltech, Justin worked on developing an off-the-grid electrochemical wastewater treatment system that generates bleach to disinfect wastewater, allowing water to be recycled for toilet flushing. System prototypes are currently deployed in regions where the infrastructure for conventional wastewater treatment is lacking, including locations in India, China, and South Africa. In 2015, Justin won the Dow-SISCA Runner-up Prize along with Cody Finke for the project, "Electrochemical+UV On-Site Wastewater Treatment".

Faculty Sponsor: Michael R. Hoffmann

Moureen Kemei

Moureen Kemei

2014 Prize Postdoctoral Scholar

Moureen completed her PhD at UC Santa Barbara (UCSB), where she studied the structure-property relationships in functional materials in the group of Professor Ram Seshadri. Her research has demonstrated that exchange interactions often couple strongly to the structure of magnetic materials, giving rise to long-range structural distortions. She has resolved the ground state structure of several spinel oxides—and these results are now guiding the prediction and interpretation of the properties of these magnetic materials. At Caltech, Moureen systematically investigated the electrochemical processes that occur in solid oxide fuel cell (SOFC) cathode materials. Her aim was to develop an accurate thermodynamic model of defect chemistry in SOFC cathode materials that would provide a framework for understanding transport mechanisms and cathode performance. The ultimate goal of her research was to establish universal guidelines for designing efficient SOFC cathode materials.

Faculty Sponsor: Sossina M. Haile

Research Highlight
Yuanyue Liu

Yuanyue Liu

2015 Resnick Postdoctoral Scholar

Yuanyue received his BS from the University of Science and Technology of China in 2008, and PhD from Rice University in 2014, both in materials acience. Before joining Caltech, he spent one year at National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) as a postdoctoral fellow. His research focus at Caltech was on the computational study of novel materials for energy conversion, storage, and next-generation electronics.

Faculty Sponsor: William A. Goddard

Zhu Liu

Zhu Liu

2015 Resnick Postdoctoral Scholar

Zhu's research focused on global sustainability accounting and the human impacts on the earth's systems in terms of greenhouse gas emissions. He conducted his doctoral study at the Chinese Academy of Sciences (2013). Zhu was a visiting student at University of Cambridge (2012). He holds a bachelor’s degree in geology from Northwest University (2007) and a master’s degree in ecology from China Agricultural University (2009). He is a recipient of the Giorgio Ruffolo postdoctoral research fellowship in sustainability science at Harvard University (2013, 2014). His research on energy, environment and sustainability has been published in Nature, Nature Climate Change, PNAS, and other professional journals.

Sponsor: The Resnick Sustainability Insitute in Partnership with NASA JPL

Christopher Prier

Christopher Prier

2014 Resnick Postdoctoral Scholar

Christopher hails from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. He obtained his BA in chemistry and biochemistry in 2009 from the University of Pennsylvania, where he conducted undergraduate research in organic chemistry in the laboratory of Professor Madeleine M. Joullié. In the same year, he began his graduate studies at Princeton University under the supervision of Professor David W. C. MacMillan. At Princeton his research focused on applications of photoredox catalysis, in which visible light is employed to promote chemical reactions. At Caltech, Chris pursued the engineering of enzymes for environmentally-benign chemical synthesis.

Faculty Sponsor: Frances H. Arnold

Research Highlight