August Research Round-Up

Congratulations to our amazing research teams here in the Department of Chemistry for their publications this month!


Blakey Group


Bowman Group


Brathwaite Group


Dyer Group


Evangelista Group


Kindt Group


Lian Group


Salaita Group


Wuest Group



May Research Round-Up

Congratulations to our amazing research teams here in the Department of Chemistry for their publications this month!

Blakey Group

Burman, J., Harris, R., Farr, C., Bacsa, J., & Blakey, S. B. (2019). Rh (III) and Ir (III) Cp* Complexes Provide Complementary Regioselectivity Profiles in Intermolecular Allylic CH Amidation ReactionsACS Catalysis.

Davies Group

Davies, H. M., & Liao, K. (2019). Dirhodium tetracarboxylates as catalysts for selective intermolecular C–H functionalizationNature Reviews Chemistry, 1.

Heaven Group

Schmitz, J. R., Kaledin, L. A., & Heaven, M. C. (2019). Laser induced fluorescence spectroscopy of jet-cooled ThOJournal of Molecular Spectroscopy.

Hill Group

Wang, X., Tao, M., Li, Y., Zhang, X., Li, Z., & Hill, C. L. (2019). A Polyoxometalate‐Based Microfluidic Device for Liquid Phase Oxidation of GlycerolChemSusChem.

Ke Group

Zhang, Y., Pan, V., Li, X., Yang, X., Li, H., Wang, P., & Ke, Y. (2019). Dynamic DNA StructuresSmall, 1900228.

Zhang, Y., Peng, R., Xu, F., & Ke, Y. (2019). Hierarchical Self-Assembly of Cholesterol-DNA NanorodsBioconjugate chemistry.

Lian Group

Ge, A., Rudshteyn, B., Videla, P. E., Miller, C. J., Kubiak, C. P., Batista, V. S., & Lian, T. (2019). Heterogenized Molecular Catalysts: Vibrational Sum-Frequency Spectroscopic, Electrochemical, and Theoretical InvestigationsAccounts of chemical research.

Salaita Group

Ma, V. P. Y., & Salaita, K. (2019). DNA Nanotechnology as an Emerging Tool to Study Mechanotransduction in Living SystemsSmall, 1900961.

Faculty Spotlight: Dr. Jose Soria Named “Emory Williams Distinguished Undergraduate Teaching Award” Winner

As Senior Lecturer for the Department of Chemistry, Dr. Jose Soria has taught lectures and laboratories ranging from introductory 100-level courses to 400-level advanced courses. His sees the classroom as a space for scientific discussion and the sharing of ideas, an approach which has been well-received by his students and undergraduate TAs. Dr. Soria’s dedication to his student’s and unique teaching style were recently recognized with the Emory Williams Distinguished Undergraduate Teaching Award. The award is given in recognition of a record of excellence in teaching, contributions to curriculum development in the awardee’s academic discipline, and pedagogical innovation.

As a young child growing up in Mexico, Dr. Soria was curious about science. He recalls playing with fireworks and doing “experiments” with his neighbors during his grade school years before he even knew what chemistry was. In middle school chemistry courses, he was fascinated by the changing structures and properties of compounds. After taking his first laboratory class, he was totally captivated.

Dr. Soria earned his Bachelor’s and Master’s Degrees in chemistry from Universidad Nactional Atonoma before moving to the United States to pursue is doctorate degree here at Emory University. Following graduation, Dr. Soria opted to apply for his green card, allowing him to stay at Emory to complete a postdoc in the lab of Dr. Dennis Liotta. During this time, he became interested in teaching. He took a part-time position at a local two-year college where he could teach classes in the evenings. His experiences in the classroom lead him to apply for more permanent teaching positions, ultimately landing him back at Emory as a member of chemistry’s lecture-track faculty.

His classroom now is based primarily on free-flowing discussions. “When I go into the classroom, I have a plan of what we are going to discuss, but the way that it is discussed is not planned. It is not rehearsed because each community, each group, is different,” says Dr. Soria. He values creating a space that encourages students to speak up about their ideas, ask their questions, and grow as scientists together. Reflecting on an early experience during his teaching career, Dr. Soria explains that a group of minority students approached him and expressed their appreciation for the way he explained his research. That interaction influenced the way he continues to structures his class, with a focus on making the complex concepts more approachable through discussion and application.

Dr. Soria’s willingness to mentor also resonates with his students. “I think the thing that really stands out to me about Dr. Soria’s teaching style is his dedication to mentoring his students. When I told him I was going to be applying for grad schools, he asked to meet up with me so that we could talk about the process, what I should look for in a school, what questions I should ask, and what kinds of programs would be the best fit for me,” says recent chemistry graduate Daniel Salgueiro (EC’18, Blakey Group). “All in all, Dr. Soria is a very supportive and helpful professor, and I recommend all of his classes to anyone who asks me.”

Dr. Soria’s most recent undergraduate TAs, Eddy Ortega (EC’18, Liebeskind Group) and Nilang Shah (EC’18, Levin Group) also have wonderfully positive things to say about his teaching. “Dr. Soria values the environment of his class, the spirit of discussion, and teamwork,” says Eddy. “He loves pushing students to achieve their full potential and promotes students to give concise and well thought answers,” added Nilang.

Dr. Soria remembers seeing a colleague win the Williams Award twelve years ago and thinking “I want to be like him”. He worked hard to build his credentials since then, developing the courses that are now so greatly appreciated by his students. Support for his ideas from chemistry chairs—five in his career, so far!—and collaboration with other faculty and staff have also contributed to his development. The supportive community has helped Dr. Soria during his ongoing project of building a supportive, and now award-winning, classroom.


Undergraduate Spotlight Round-Up: Where are they now??

We have previously featured several undergraduate students to celebrate their unique experiences and amazing accomplishments within the Department of Chemistry. Recently, we checked in with some of these students to learn more about what they have been up to since being featured. Read on to find out what these bright minds are doing now!

Matthew Birnbaum

As an undergraduate student, Matt conducted research in the lab of Dr. Simon Blakey, served as co-editor-in-chief of the Emory Undergraduate Research Journal, and participated in both the Scholarly Inquiry and Research at Emory (SIRE) program and the Summer Undergraduate Research Experience (SURE) program. Now, Matt works as a Research Associate at Regeneron Pharmaceuticals, Inc in New York, where he focuses on genomic engineering technologies.

Click [here] to read his spotlight!

Carolyn Cohen

In her senior year at Emory, Carolyn received the 2014 National Science Foundation Graduate Student Research Fellowship, which she was able to apply towards her current graduate studies in chemistry at Stanford University. She works in the lab of Dr. Noah Burns, whose research “explores the boundaries of modern organic synthesis”.

Click [here] to read her spotlight!

Ryan Fan

In 2016, Ryan wrote about his “Summer in Siena”, where he discussed his wonderful experience traveling abroad with activities ranging from studying chemistry to climbing the Basilica to see the view of Rome’s skyline. Now a junior, Ryan is preparing to take the MCAT this summer and is looking forward to starting with Teach for America in August 2019.

Click [here] to read his story!

Juan D. Cisneros

Juan, a chemistry and Spanish double major, wrote for The Lab Report about his experiences studying abroad in Salamanca, Spain and working in the lab of Dr. Daniel J. Mindiola at the University of Pennsylvania. Now, Juan is a Research Like A Champion (RLAC) investigator with the Harper Cancer Research Institute at the University of Notre Dame.

Click [here] to read his spotlight and [here] to read his story!

Sunidhi Ramesh

When Sunidhi was featured in the first semester of her sophomore year, she was working on earning her double major in Neuroscience and Sociology, while also volunteering as a chem mentor. Since then, she has spent some time pursuing neuroethics, working with the Atlanta Journal Constitution on race relations, and volunteering with several organizations. In the Fall, she will be attending Thomas Jefferson University for medical school.

Click [here] to read her spotlight and [here] to check out her AJC feature!

Julia Gensheimer

When we featured Julia last March, she was a few months away from a summer research experience in the Ahmed lab studying cancer immunology. A year later, Julia has continued her research in the Ahmed lab and is about a year away from graduating with her degree in chemistry.

Click [here] to read her spotlight!

Carli Kovel

We featured Carli for her research in the MacBeth lab and travel abroad experience in Sienna about a month before she was named as one of Emory’s Bobby Jones Scholars. At the time of her spotlight, Carli wasn’t sure what the future would hold. Now, Carli is looking forward to spending the next year at the University of St. Andrews in Scotland studying catalysis and “green chemistry”.

Click [here] to read her spotlight!




Graduate Student Spotlight Round-Up

The Emory Department of Chemistry is an epicenter of cutting-edge research in organic, inorganic, biomolecular, and physical chemistry fueled by its motivated and passionate graduate students. We have featured a few outstanding graduate students in previous blogs who embody the mission of our department to engage in teaching and research efforts as a collaborative scientific community. With Recruitment Weekend kicking off today, it is the perfect time to reflect on some of the accomplishments and experiences of a few of our graduate students.

Roxanne Glazier

Roxanne Glazier of the Salaita Group is a student in the Biomedical Engineering Program, a joint graduate program shared by Emory and Georgia Tech. For her research on developing novel methods to elucidate the mechanobiology of podosomes, Roxanne was recognized with the NSF Graduate Research Fellowship, a funding opportunity providing financial support to promising scientists early in their careers.



Robert Kubiak

Robert Kubiak of the Davies Group joined the Chemistry PhD program at Emory after serving as a platoon senior medic in the Army’s 3rd Ranger Battalion. His research project focuses on developing novel catalysts for N-sulfonyltriazoles-nitrogen-based compounds, with an ultimate goal of saving time and money in pharmaceutical synthetic processes.




Brian Hays

Brian Hays of the Widicus Weaver Group defended his thesis in April 2015 and, a year later, was recognized as the winner of the American Chemical Society’s Astrochemistry Dissertation Award. His award-winning research was focused on making and examining unstable molecules for their potential to lead to prebiotic molecules in space.



Yang Liu

Yang Liu of the Salaita Group defended his thesis, “Developing Nanoparticle-based Tools to Investigate Mechanotransduction at the Living/Nonliving Interface” in September 2016. In addition to his research on how our immune system can recognize and eliminate pathogens or cancer cells, he helped developed a technique for using single elastic molecules, such as DNA, protein, and polymer, as sensors to visualize membrane receptor mediated forces.


Congratulations, Dr. Eric Andreansky!

Eric Andreansky successfully defended his dissertation, “Synthetic Studies Toward Methanoquinolizidine-Containing Akuammiline Alkaloids ” on Wednesday, April 26th, 2017. Eric’s committee was led by Simon Blakey with Frank McDonald and Lanny Liebeskind as additional members.

Eric was a Laney Graduate School Woodruff Scholar. He was also a service instructor for the Emory NMR Research Center and interned for a year with the Emory Office of Technology Transfer. Eric was also a member of the first Broadening Experiences in Scientific Training (BEST) cohort, a National Institute of Health-funded graduate training program run jointly with Emory and the Georgia Institute of Technology.

Eric plans to pursue a career in patent law.

Congratulations, Eric!

Congratulations, Dr. Nina Weldy!

Nina Weldy and Simon Blakey following her defense. Photo provided by Nina Weldy.
Nina Weldy and Simon Blakey following her defense. Photo provided by Nina Weldy.

Nina Weldy successfully defended her thesis, “Development of Transition Metal Catalyzed Metallonitrene and Metallocarbene Group Transfer Reactions” on Monday, August 3rd, 2015. Nina’s thesis committee was led by Simon Blakey with Huw Davies and Chris Scarborough as additional members. Nina’s research at Emory resulted in publications in Angew. Chem. Int. Ed., Chem. Sci., and a chapter in Science of Synthesis. Nina will be an Assistant Professor at Kennesaw State University starting in the Fall.

Congratulations, Nina!