College of Natural & Agricultural Sciences



Anh Hong, a fourth-year PhD student in Prof. Pingyun Feng’s group, has proved herself to be both prolific and versatile, co-authoring nine publications from her UCR research on topics including crystalline porous materials for gas storage and separations, heteroatom-doped nanomaterials for electrocatalytic reactions, and sulfonated materials for fast ionic conduction in battery or fuel cell materials.


Winn Huynh, a fifth-year PhD student in Prof. Matt Conley’s group, has co-authored six papers based on his UCR research.  He has integrated density functional theory calculations into the group’s primarily experimental research, which has made him a key contributor to their high-impact research into reactive organometallics and heterogeneous catalysis.  He is nicely balancing these computational efforts with strong progress on the experimental side of his PhD thesis as well.


Courtney Ngai, a fourth-year PhD student in Prof. Richard Hooley’s group, is synthesizing self-assembled organic cages that mimic enzyme catalysis.  She has accomplished challenging syntheses that had previously proved difficult or irreproducible, and her successes have led to the discovery of new biomimetic behaviors such as cofactor-mediated catalysis in these organic cages.  In addition to co-authoring four papers at UCR so far, she has been very active in local K-12 outreach activities.


Pablo Unzueta, a fourth-year PhD student in Prof. Greg Beran’s group, has published three papers on new computational methods for predicting nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) chemical shifts faster and more accurately.  He is credited with introducing machine learning techniques into the Beran group’s research, where he has used it to predict organic compound chemical shifts 1–2 orders of magnitude faster than first-principles quantum mechanical methods without sacrificing accuracy.  

Zixu Zhao, a fourth year graduate student in Prof. Haofei Zhang’s group, has been extremely productive,  co-authoring 9 published papers in her efforts to understand the chemical dynamics of organic peroxy radicals at aerosol particle interfaces.  Her advisor praises her motivation, scientific creativity, her research independence, and her general willingness to help out in the lab. Ms. Zhao will defend her dissertation in early July before starting as an NSF Postdoctoral Fellow at UC Berkeley.

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