Research Group


Ardo Group
Ardo Group outside Rowland Hall at UCI, Irvine, CA (3/13/2018)
(Back Row: Sam, Shane, Will, Mike V., Jen, Larry; Middle Row: Nazila, Margherita, Leanna, David, Baldwin, Mike C., Jingyuan; Front Row: Simon, Kevin, Eric, Rohit, Bill, Joseph)
Research opportunities exist in the Ardo Group for students with various backgrounds and expertise, spanning the disciplines of chemistry, physics, materials science, chemical engineering, electrical engineering, and biology. Please contact Shane, via one of his contact options, for more information, and to discuss research opportunities in his laboratories.

Shane Ardo
ardo [at] uci [dot] edu
Shane Ardo
Principal Investigator (CV)
Postdoctoral Scholar, Caltech, 2010–2013 (Lewis Group; Photoelectrochemistry)
Ph.D., Johns Hopkins University, 2010 (Meyer Group; Photophysical Inorganic Chemistry)
M.A., Johns Hopkins University, 2008 (Meyer Group; Chemistry)
M.S., University of Maryland, 2005 (Yu Group; Nutrition & Food Science)
B.S., Towson University, 1999 (Computing, Applied, & Pure Mathematics)


Biography: Shane was born in San Francisco, CA and grew up in Ellicott City, MD. Before attending graduate school, Shane worked as a software engineer, community college instructor, high school teacher, and strength and conditioning coach. In his spare time, he enjoys playing soccer, hiking, camping, biking, and spending time with his family.

Office: NS2 2131; 949-824-3796
Assistants: Ashley John, Faye Tajadode
Financial Analyst: Cathy Nguyen

Bill Gaieck
wgaieck [at] uci [dot] edu
Bill Gaieck
Graduate Student (Materials Science and Engineering)
B.S., University of California San Diego (UCSD), 2012 (Chemistry, with studies in Chemical Education)

Research: Synthesis and photoelectrochemical characterization of photocatalyst particles, cocatalysts, and redox shuttles in novel particle suspension reactors for solar water splitting.

Biography: Bill was born and raised in San Diego, CA. Broadly, his scientific interests include surface/interface dynamics, computational modeling, and spectroscopy with respect to energy capture, conversion, and storage. In his spare time, he enjoys reading, baking, bowling, climbing, and salsa dancing.

David Fabian
dmfabian [at] uci [dot] edu
David Fabian
Graduate Student (Chemistry, Physical Materials)
B.S., The College of William & Mary, 2013 (Wustholz Group; Chemistry)

Research: Analysis and characterization of the fundamental photophysics and photoelectrochemistry of hybrid organic–inorganic thin-film materials.

Biography: David was born in Rockville Centre, NY and grew up in Chatham, NJ. As an undergraduate, he did research in surface-enhanced Raman spectroscopy to identify fading colorants in historical artworks and also spent a summer working at Merck & Co. In his spare time, he enjoys playing piano, golfing, Ultimate Frisbee, and skiing.

Joseph Cardon
jcardon [at] uci [dot] edu
Joseph Cardon
Graduate Student (Chemistry, Organic)
B.S., Brigham Young University, 2012 (Castle Group; Organic Chemistry)

Research: Synthesis and characterization of halide electrocatalysts, and analysis and characterization of the fundamental photophysics and photoelectrochemistry pertinent to next-generation dye-sensitized devices.

Biography: Joseph was born in Provo, Utah and spent about half of his life there. The other half was spent in San Francisco CA, Kingston Ontario in Canada, and Fort Worth TX. As an undergraduate he researched osmium-catalyzed aminohydroxylation of hindered olefins as a synthetic route for unnatural amino acids. After graduation he worked as a polymer chemist developing heavy metal containing acrylics as transparent radiation shielding. He is interested in applications of physical chemistry to real systems. Joseph spends his free time running around town and watching cartoons with his wife Kelsey.

Will White
wnwhite [at] uci [dot] edu
Will White
Graduate Student (Chemistry, Organic Materials)
B.S., University of Massachusetts Amherst, 2014 (Thayumanavan Group; Chemistry (cum laude))

Research: Synthesis and characterization of photoacid molecules and ion-conducting polymeric materials and architectures pertinent to artificial proton pumps.

Biography: Will was born in Vermont and spent the first 18 years growing up and picking stone fruit. During his undergraduate studies he found his calling in chemistry while working on the synthesis of small molecule BODIPY dyes for organic solar cell devices.

Jen Logan
jlogan1 [at] uci [dot] edu
Jen Logan
Graduate Student (Chemistry, Physical Analytical)
B.S., University of West Florida, 2010 (Vaughan Group; Chemistry)

Research: Synthesis and characterization of photoacid molecules and materials pertinent to artificial proton pumps.

Biography: As an undergraduate Jen studied the seasonal and spatial variations in the ultraviolet absorbing capacity of natural phytoplankton communities. At UC Irvine, Jen had the opportunity to conduct summer research at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory during her second year in the Ph.D. Program. For fun, Jen enjoys CrossFit, spending time with her husband and dogs, and reading fictional goodness.

Kevin Tkacz
ktkacz [at] uci [dot] edu
Kevin Tkacz
Graduate Student (Materials Science and Engineering)
B.S., Carnegie Mellon University, 2014 (Majetich Group; Physics)

Research: Pulsed-laser spectroscopic analysis and device physics numerical modeling and simulations of the fundamental photophysics and photoelectrochemistry pertinent to next-generation dye-sensitized devices.

Biography: Kevin grew up in a small town called Novelty outside of Cleveland, OH. During his undergraduate career in Pittsburgh, PA he decided he wanted to live somewhere with better weather and thus chose southern California. In his spare time, he enjoys cooking, reading science fiction and fantasy, playing board games, and spending time outside.

Sam Keene
skeene [at] uci [dot] edu
Sam Keene
Graduate Student (Physics / ChaMP)
B.S., Harvey Mudd College, 2011 (Donnelly Group; Physics)

Research: Synthesis and photoelectrochemical characterization of photocatalyst particles, cocatalysts, and redox shuttles in novel particle suspension reactors for solar water splitting.

Biography: Sam was born and raised in Denver, CO. Before joining the Ardo group he worked as a research assistant studying biomedical optics in the Diffuse Optical Spectroscopy & Imaging Lab (DOSI) Lab at the Beckman Laser Institute and as a graduate student researcher studying quantum dot solar cells in the Law Group at UC Irvine. When he is not in lab you can find Sam snowboarding, mountaineering, backpacking, cooking, brewing beer, or just hanging out with his girlfriend and his dog.

Simon Luo
luos9 [at] uci [dot] edu
Simon Luo
Graduate Student (Chemistry, Physical)
B.S., University of San Francisco, 2016 (Castro / Karney Group; Chemistry; Physics minor)

Research: Synthesis, theoretical calculations, and characterization of photoacid molecules and ion-conducting nanoporous materials and architectures pertinent to artificial proton pumps.

Biography: Simon was born and raised in San Francisco, CA. After 21 years living under the same roof, he finally moved out to attend UC Irvine. As an undergraduate, he investigated the thermodynamics of hydrogen shifts in polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons via computational modeling. Interested in other skillsets, Simon found laser spectroscopy to be a flexible, yet powerful tool. His ultimate goal is to apply his knowledge in fields concerning clean and renewable energy. In his free time, Simon enjoys biking, gaming, and cooking as well as photography and random DIY projects.

Eric Schwartz
schware1 [at] uci [dot] edu
Eric Schwartz
Graduate Student (Materials Science and Engineering)
B.S., University of Pennsylvania, 2016 (Winey Group; Materials Science & Engineering)

Research: Synthesis and characterization of photoacid molecules and ion-conducting polymeric materials and architectures pertinent to artificial proton pumps.

Biography: Eric grew up in Jenkintown, PA and performed his undergraduate studies close by in Philadelphia. As an undergraduate student, he studied thermomechanical properties of acid copolymers and ionomers. He has also done summer internships at Merck & Co., Inc. and the Grenoble Innovation for Advanced New Technologies (GIANT) Innovation Campus. He is very happy to be in California where the wind does not eat his face for a few months out of the year. During his free time, he enjoys playing music and board games.

Rohit Bhide
rbhide [at] uci [dot] edu
Rohit Bhide
Graduate Student (Chemistry, Organic)
B.Tech., Institute of Chemical Technology Mumbai, 2012 (Dyestuff Technology
M.Tech., Institute of Chemical Technology Mumbai, 2014 (N. Sekar Group; Dyestuff Technology)


Research: Synthesis and characterization of photoacid molecules pertinent to artificial proton pumps.

Biography: Rohit was born and grew up in Mumbai, India, famously known as the city of Bollywood. He received his undergraduate degree in Chemical Technology with a specialization in Dyes. During his Master's studies, he successfully synthesized novel mono-azo dyes with enhanced light-fastness. He has over 18 months of chemical industry experience working in production and R&D departments. In his spare time, Rohit enjoys singing, hiking and wildlife photography.

Nazila Farhang
nazilaf [at] uci [dot] edu
Nazila Farhang
Graduate Student (Chemical Engineering)
B.S., Science and Research Branch of Azad University, 2014 (Chemical Engineering)

Research: Fabrication and characterization of dye-sensitized solar cells with low potential drop and fast regeneration kinetics between dye and redox shuttles.

Biography: Nazila was born and raised in Tehran, Iran. As an undergraduate student, she simulated the wastewater treatment plant of an oil company, using Aspen Plus and proposed the optimum condition for minimizing nitrogen and COD in the intermittent aeration process. After graduation, she worked as a process engineer at SBC (a vegetable oil manufacturing company in Iran) developing the quality plan for refining and packaging the vegetable oil. During her free time, she enjoys swimming and watching TV series.

Leanna Schulte
lschulte [at] uci [dot] edu
Leanna Schulte
Graduate Student (Chemistry, Physical Materials)
B.S., University of Washington in St. Louis, 2017 (D'Arcy Group; Chemistry; Mathematics minor)

Research: Synthesis and characterization of ion-conducting polymeric materials and architectures pertinent to artificial proton pumps.

Biography: Leanna was born and raised in Oakland, Michigan, a semi-distant suburb of Detroit. As an undergraduate, she produced and printed with electrically conductive 3D printer filaments containing carbon black and graphene oxide. In her free time, she likes to go to the gym, cook, bake, and knit things.

Margherita Taddei
mtaddei [at] uci [dot] edu
Margherita Taddei
Graduate Student (Chemistry, Photochemistry)
B.S., University of Bologna, 2016 (Bergamini Group; Chemistry and Materials Chemistry)

Research: Synthesis and characterization of ion-conducting polymeric materials and architectures pertinent to artificial proton pumps.

Biography: Margherita was born and raised in Bologna, Italy and is currently a visiting student from the University of Bologna, where she is working on a Master of Science Degree in Photochemistry and Molecular Materials. During her undergraduate studies, she performed photophysical research using a fluorescent chemosensor for different nucleotides in aqueous solutions, and also spent one year at the University of Strasbourg, France. Margherita enjoys traveling and meeting new people from different cultures. During her free time, she likes to dance, hike, practice different languages, and spend time with her friends.

Baldwin Liwanag
bliwanag [at] uci [dot] edu
Baldwin Liwanag
Undergraduate Student (Chemistry and Biology Double Major)

Research: Characterization of ion-conducting polymeric materials and architectures pertinent to artificial proton pumps.

Biography: Baldwin was born and raised in Long Beach, California. He became fascinated with chemistry in high school and hopes to explore careers and opportunities pertinent to the field. In his free time he enjoys cooking, working out, and occasionally dancing.

Garrick Hogrebe
ghogrebe [at] uci [dot] edu
Garrick Hogrebe
Undergraduate Student (Undecided Major)

Research: Fabrication and characterization of dye-sensitized solar cells with low potential drop and fast regeneration kinetics between dye and redox shuttles.

Biography: Garrick was born and raised in Fullerton, California. He has always had a love for science, but his passion really developed in high school due to a few great teachers. Through research, he hopes he can learn exactly where his interests lie as he figures out what field he wishes to pursue in his education. In his free time, he likes swing dancing, working out, rock climbing, and going to amusement parks. He has an excessive knowledge about roller coasters and can't help but to bring them up in conversation more often than he would like to admit.

Ardo Group Alumni
Visiting Scholars
  • Mohammad Qureshi (2017) – Professor at Indian Institute of Technology Guwahati, Department of Chemistry
  • Zhangjing Zhang (2015 – 2016) – Professor at Fujian Normal University, College of Materials Science and Engineering

Postdoctoral Scholars

Graduate Students

Postbaccalaureate Scholars

Undergraduate Students
  • Jackie Angsono (2014 – 2016, B.S. in Chemistry) – Laboratory Technician at Orange Coast Analytical, Inc.
  • Mike Chen (2017 – 2018, B.S. in Chemistry)
  • Jenny Conde (2017, Energy Engineering, UC Berkeley)
  • Nancy Estrada (2014 – 2015, Chemistry)
  • John Hylak (2017, Chemical Engineering, UC Santa Barbara)
  • Greg Krueper (2016 – 2017, Applied Physics and Electrical Engineering)
  • Connie Loo (2015 – 2016, Physics)
  • Diana Luong (2015 – 2016, B.S. in Chemistry) – Graduate Student at UC Riverside, Chemistry; previously Analytical Chemist at Weck Laboratories, Inc.
  • Victor Macedonio (2013 – 2014, B.S. in Chemistry) – Environmental Chemist at AirKinetics, Inc.
  • Tabitha Miller (2014 – 2015, B.S. in Chemistry) – Graduate Student at UC Riverside, Chemistry
  • Sabeena Sebastian (2015 – 2016, Chemical Engineering)
  • Jerry Siu (2015, Chemical Engineering)
  • Andy Trinh (2016 – 2018, B.S. in Chemistry) – Graduate Student at UC Riverside, Chemistry
  • Mike Valenzuela (2017 – 2018, Chemistry)
  • Stephanie Yeh (2016 – 2017, Materials Science and Engineering)

High School Students