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 Pentzer Group members are highly motivated undergraduate students, graduate students, and postdocs dedicated to using building better organic materials. Group members come form a variety of backgrounds including chemistry, materials science and engineering, chemical engineering, and mechanical engineering. Our collaborative environment supports interdisciplinary efforts at the forefront of soft materials research.



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Postdoctoral Associate

Niradha Sachinthani CV

Niradha was born and raised in Sri Lanka and earned her B.Sc. at the University of Kelaniya, Sri Lanka. She joined Nelson group at Oklahoma State University and earned her Ph.D. in 2017 where she focused on the design, synthesis and characterization of Eumelanin-inspired materials as organic semiconductors. She expanded her research experience by working as a postdoctoral researcher at Seferos group, University of Toronto, Canada for two years. She joined Pentzer group in January 2020 and starting to research on azulene derivatives and incorporated polymers with enhanced performance as dielectric materials. In her free time, Niradha enjoys chatting with her mom and friends, cooking, watching movies and organizing trips and parties.

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Postdoctoral Associate

Peiran Wei CV 01/2020

Peiran is from Wuhan, China, a city with two rivers and hundreds of lakes. After receiving his bachelor’s degree at Wuhan Institute of Technology, Peiran joined the Pentzer Lab in 2013 and earned his Ph.D. degree at CWRU department of chemistry in 2019. Peiran is currently working on 1) asymmetrically functionalization of 2D particles, and 2) developing novel multifunctional inks for 3D printing. Though Peiran choses science as his lifetime pursuit, art and philosophy are in his soul. In his spare time, Peiran likes to paint, listen to music, read books, and visit museums.





4th year, Materials Science and Engineering (at CWRU), joint with Alp Sehirlioglu

Kevin Pachuta CV 01/2020

Kevin was born and raised in Farmington, Michigan. After spending four years completing coursework and playing collegiate soccer at John Carroll University, Kevin graduated with a B.S. in chemistry in 2016. In 2018, Kevin earned an M.S. in Materials Science and Engineering at Case Western Reserve University by researching compositional changes associated with the exfoliation of layered oxides. Kevin is currently pursuing a Ph.D. in Materials Science and Engineering at Case Western Reserve University. For this work, Kevin’s primary research focuses on the mechanisms involved with the exfoliation of layered oxides and the applications of these interesting nanomaterials. In his free time, Kevin continues to play soccer but also enjoys hitting the links, playing guitar, and baking his ridiculously good bread.

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4th year, chemistry

Maria Escamilla CV 01/2020

Maria comes to us from warm and sunny California. She earned her bachelor’s degree from California State University Los Angeles (CSULA). While at CSULA, she worked on the synthesis of resorcinarene based macrocycles under the mentorship of Professor Linda Tunstad. She is currently working with Pickering type emulsions using 2D particle surfactants and on the synthesis of redox-active small molecules for applications in organic flow batteries. During her free time, she enjoys the outdoors, reading, and music.

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4th year, chemistry

Sarah Mitchell CV 01/2020

Sarah is from Erie, Pennsylvania where she earned her B.S. in chemistry at Mercyhurst University.  She currently works on the synthesis of redox active small molecules for the incorporation into deep eutectic solvents for new electrolytes and the polymerization of silyl ketenes.  In her spare time, she likes to read, listen to music and go camping.

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A native of Cleveland, Ohio, Katelynn earned her undergraduate degree from Cleveland State University where she was a member of the Ball research group. her research focuses on developing new cross-linking for encapsulation of  electrochemical and redox active liquids for applications in contaminant removal. Outside of lab, her hobbies include working out, baking, reading, and watching her favorite sports team – the Cleveland Indians.

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2nd year, chemistry

Sarah Lak CV 01/2020

Sarah received her bachelor's degree in chemistry from Lahore University of Management Sciences (LUMS), Pakistan. Her current research in Pentzer Lab focuses on encapsulation of phase change materials and functionalization and characterization of Janus nanosheets with tuned interfacial properties. Outside of lab, Sarah loves to travel and appreciates good music, art and food (read: chocolate).

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1st year, Materials Science & Engineering

Ciera Cipriani CV 01/2020

Ciera graduated with her bachelor’s and master’s degrees from North Carolina State University, where she worked jointly with Dr. Melissa Pasquinelli and Dr. Nelson Vinueza to determine the degradation mechanisms of industrially relevant textile dyes. As a student employee at NC State University Libraries and an intern at Formlabs, Ciera gained years of hands-on experience with 3D printing. Now a member of the Pentzer Lab, she combines this expertise with the group’s knowledge of Pickering emulsions to tune the microstructures of 3D printed materials. Outside of the lab, Ciera plays the drums, spends time with friends, wakes up early to hit the gym before other people are there to see her attempting to exercise, and tries to be a comedian.

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1st year, Materials Science & Engineering

Yifei Wang CV 01/2020

Yifei is now a PhD student of the Pentzer Lab in Materials Sciences & Engineering at Texas A&M University. Her research interest focuses on properties of emulsions stabilized by 2D particle surfactants and application-oriented encapsulation of ionic liquids. In her spare time, she likes reading books and watching movies.

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1st year, Chemistry

Wenhao up in Xinjiang province, China and received his undergraduate degree from Zhejiang University.  His research focuses on developing novel 3D printing inks and modification of nanomaterials with organic small molecules.  His hobbies include fitness, listening to music and playing computer games.



1st year, Chemistry

Randinu Pulukkody CV

Randinu graduated from Texas A&M University in May 2018 with a bachelor’s degree in Chemistry. As an undergraduate researcher she worked in the Wooley lab on developing plant-derived, mussel-inspired polycarbonates from quercetin and lysine. After graduating she worked as a research assistant in the Michaudel Lab on sequence-controlled polymerizations through metal-free deprotection/click reaction cascades. She joined the Pentzer group in August 2019 and is currently working on polymerizations of silyl ketenes. Outside of lab, Randinu enjoys listening to music, hanging out with friends and watching sports.

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1st year, Chemical Engineering

Huaixuan Cao CV 01/2020

Huaixuan is from Shandong, China, and he earned his undergraduate degree from East China University of Science and Technology. During this period, he had a one-year experience at the University of Houston as a transfer senior student. Currently, his research focuses on surface modification of 2D nanomaterials and self-assembly at liquid-liquid interfaces. In his spare time, he enjoys playing basketball, table tennis, and roller skating.



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1st year, Materials Science & Engineering

Gaur CV

Samanvaya comes from the Indian desert state of Rajasthan; he completed his undergraduate studies in Mechanical Engineering with specialization in Energy Engineering from Vellore Institute of Technology (VIT), India. During this period, he was a member of Centre of Nanotechnology Research headed by Dr. A.N. Grace where he worked on preparation, characterization, and energy storage applications of polymer nanocomposites. Currently, his research focuses on incorporation of new chemistries  for the enhanced stabilization of ionic liquid capsules and exploring their potential applications in diverse fields. Other than academics, he loves playing soccer and is a huge FC Barcelona fan, also he enjoys occasional reading, listening to music, visiting museums, collecting coins & stamps, among many other diverse interests.



Former Postdocs: Brendan McGrail (2014-2015, now at Arkema); Al De Leon (2016-2017, now at ThermoFisher)

Former PhD students: Brad Rodier (PhD 2017, Rochal Industries); Rachel Matthews (PhD 2018, Saint Gobain); Peiran Wei (PhD 2019, postdoc at Texas A&M); Yuanhui Xiang (PhD 2019, postdoc at Notre Dame); Qinmo Luo (PhD 2019, postdoc at University of Virginia)

Former MS students: Nolan Kovach (PhD student at Colorado School of Mines); Bowen Li (PhD student at Case Western Reserve University); Houming Leng

Former Undergraduate students: Lee Kendall (2017-2019, now PhD student at University of Virginia Arlington); Michael Lu Diaz (REU student 2017, PhD student at UMass Amherst); Emily Glasser (2016-2018, law school student); John Kwon (2017-2018, medical school student); Paul Advincula (2016-2018, PhD student at Rice University); Spencer Burton (2013-2017, PhD student at Northwestern University); Eric Mosher (2013-2017, PhD student at Johns Hopkins); Taylor Frey (2016-2017, PhD student at UC Irvine); John McCaffrey (2014-2017, Lubrizol); Riki Drout (2014-2016, PhD student at Northwestern); Laura Alonso (REU 2015, PhD student at UIC); Ann Davies (REU student 2015, MD/PhD student Northwestern); Ty Densmore (2014-2016, medical school student); Emily Young (2013-2016, medical school student); Kelly Peterson (2013-2015, PhD student UCSB); Jordan Swisher (2013-2015, PhD student at UPitt)

Former High School students: Louisa Wang (2018-2019, still in high school); Daphney Bonner (2014-2016, undergraduate at Howard University); RhayAuna Dent (2017-2018 through ACS SEED, undergraduate at Univ. Miami Ohio); Jaylen Williams (2016-2018 through ACS SEED, undergraduate at Univ. Miami Ohio); Kim Gliebe (2013-2014, now PhD student at CWRU)


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