Research Group


Ardo Group
Ardo Group in Aldrich Park at UCI, Irvine, CA (9/4/2020)
(Back Row: Ethan, Shane, Rylan, Rohit, Justin; Front Row: Nazila, Geoff, Simon, Jen, Cassidy, Leanna)
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. For more information and/or to discuss research opportunities in his laboratories, please contact Shane via one of his contact options. No postdoctoral scholar positions are available at this time.

Shane Ardo
ardo [at] uci [dot] edu
Shane Ardo
Principal Investigator (CV Highlights, Google Scholar, LinkedIn)
Associate Professor, UC Irvine, 2019–present (Chemistry, Materials Science & Engineering (MSE), Chemical & Biomolecular Engineering (CBE), Chemical and Materials Physics (ChaMP) )
Assistant Professor, UC Irvine, 2013–2019 (Chemistry, MSE, CBE, ChaMP)
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 (Computer Programming minor))


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

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. During his undergraduate studies, Simon 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.

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, characterization, and theoretical calculations 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, Rohit 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.

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

Research: Synthesis, characterization, and device physics numerical modeling and simulations of ion-conducting polymeric materials and architectures pertinent to artificial proton pumps, inepxensive electrocatalysis, and oceanic carbon capture.

Biography: Leanna was born and raised in Oakland, Michigan, a semi-distant suburb of Detroit. During her undergraduate studies, Leanna produced and printed 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.

Cassidy N. Feltenberger
cfeltenb [at] uci [dot] edu
Cassidy Feltenberger
Graduate Student (Chemistry, Physical Materials)
B.S., University of Southern California, 2017 (Thompson Group; Chemistry and Materials Chemistry)

Research: Synthesis, characterization, and device physics numerical modeling and simulations of photoacids and local pH and pOH pertinent to photochemical protonic energy storage proton pumps and light-triggered changes in selectivity of CO2 reduction reactions.

Biography: Cassidy grew up in San Pedro, California. During her undergraduate studies, Cassidy developed synthetic skills while making acene dimers and trimers for organic photovoltaics. After a few years in a lab coat, Cassidy decided to broaden her knowledge, put on a pair of laser safety goggles, and learn about photoluminescence spectroscopy as an intern at The Aerospace Corporation. When she's not tinkering in the lab, Cassidy enjoys swimming, skydiving and hiking.

Zejie (Justin) Chen
zejiec [at] uci [dot] edu
Zejie Chen
Graduate Student (Chemistry, Physical Materials)
B.S., Sun Yat-sen University, 2018 (Chen Group; Chemistry and Materials Chemistry)

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

Biography: Zejie was born and grew up in Chaozhou, China and went to Guangzhou, the city of flowers, for his undergraduate studies. As an undergraduate student, Zejie investigated the effects of MOF-based protective layers on semiconductors and improved the photoelectrochemical efficiency of photoanodes, such as those based on iron oxide. During his free time, Zejie enjoys jogging, playing badminton, and landscape photography.

Gabriel (Gabe) S. Phun
gphun [at] uci [dot] edu
Gabe Phun
Graduate Student (Chemistry, Theory & Computation, Co-Advised by Furche Group)
B.S., Harvey Mudd College, 2018 (Cave Group and Daub Group; Chemistry and Physics Double Major)

Research: Device physics numerical modeling and simulations and theoretical calculations of photoacid molecules and ion-conducting polymeric materials and architectures pertinent to artificial proton pumps and inexpensive electrocatalysis.

Biography: Gabe grew up in Riverside, California. During his undergraduate studies, Gabe used density functional theory to computationally study a hydroamination reaction, explored NMR signal processing using Monte Carlo simulations, and investigated differences between electronic structure theory predictions and experimental data of Claisen rearrangements. In his free time, he goes to the gym, plays video games, and watches superhero movies.

Ethan J. Heffernan
eheffern [at] uci [dot] edu
Ethan Heffernan
Graduate Student (Materials Science & Engineering)
B.A., Occidental College, 2019 (Snowden-Ifft Group; Physics (Chemistry and Mathematics minors))

Research: Fabrication and characterization of ion-conducting polymeric materials and architectures pertinent to artificial proton pumps, bipolar membranes, and ionic ratchets for electrochemical desalination.

Biography: Ethan was born and raised in San Diego, California. During his undergraduate career, Ethan spent time building detectors to identify and analyze Dark Matter candidate particles. After realizing that he wanted to combine his passion for Physics and Chemistry, Ethan turned to Materials Science. Ethan seeks to implement his education and experiences to solve problems related to clean water and renewable energy. In his free time, he likes to run, play video games, and play board games with friends.

Geoffrey (Geoff) R. McClarin
gmcclari [at] uci [dot] edu
Geoff McClarin
Graduate Student (Chemistry, Physical / ChAMP)
B.S., Western Washington University, 2019 (Berger Group; Chemistry (Mathematics minor))

Research: Device physics numerical modeling and simulations of proton-transfer processes at interfaces and within architectures pertinent to inexpensive electrocatalysis.

Biography: Geoff grew up in Coupeville, Washington. During undergraduate research, he used density functional theory to examine the effect of d orbitals and atomic displacement on the bandgap of niobate and tantalate perovskites. In his free time, he enjoys playing board and video games, as well as reading and playing guitar.

Jennifer (Jen) M. Urbine
jurbine [at] uci [dot] edu
Jen Urbine
Graduate Student (Chemistry, Physical Materials)
B.S., Arizona State University, 2019 (Moore Group; Chemistry and Conservation Biology Double Major)

Research: Synthesis and characterization of modified materials to detect local pH and pOH.

Biography: Jen grew up in Phoenix, Arizona where she found her passion for the natural world. She spent her undergraduate career exploring her many scientific interests while doing research in an ecology lab quantifying carbon dioxide emissions from various degradation processes. Ever chasing new ideas she switched paths and joined a chemistry lab where she worked on synthesizing and characterizing molecular fuel production catalysts. In her free time, Jen enjoys hiking, camping, and spending time behind her easel painting.

Anastasiya (Ana) Bender
avbender [at] uci [dot] edu
Ana Bender
Graduate Student (Chemistry, Organic)
B.S., San Diego State University, 2020 (Bergdahl Group; Chemistry)

Research: Synthesis and characterization of photoacid molecules and ion-conducting polymeric materials and surfaces pertinent to artificial proton pumps, light-triggered changes in selectivity of CO2 reduction reactions, and oceanic carbon capture.

Biography: Ana was born in Ukraine, and experienced the joy of harsh winters and almost getting frostbite before the age of five. Thankfully, when she was five she moved to California, eventually ending up in Palm Springs, and experienced the joy a 120 degree day with no air conditioning, and a 112 degree night, still with no air conditioning. At the age of eighteen, she finally moved to a city that had the perfect climate: San Diego. During undergraduate studies, she performed research on the total synthesis of natural products that exhibited anticancer properties, and tutored organic chemistry students. In her free time, Ana enjoys thrift shopping (so much so that she will go to as many thrift stores as she can in one day), baking secretly healthy desserts (you'd never guess her brownies, that taste better than normal brownies, are made with sweet potatoes), and reading at the beach (preferably really early in the morning before anyone else gets there).

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

Postdoctoral Scholars

Graduate Students
  • Joseph M. Cardon (2014 – 2019, Ph.D. Degree in Chemistry) – Engineer @ Ideal Vacuum Products, LLC
  • David M. Fabian (2014 – 2018, Ph.D. Degree in Chemistry) – Process Chemist @ Mine Safety Appliances
  • Nazila Farhang (2018 – 2019, M.S. Degree in Chemical Engineering, with thesis)
  • Ardalan Fathabadi (2015 – 2016, M.S. Degree in Chemical Engineering) – Process Engineer @ IQA Solutions
  • William (Bill) Gaieck (2013 – 2019, Ph.D. Degree in Materials Science & Engineering) – Christine Mirzayan Science and Technology Policy Graduate Fellow @ National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine
  • Jennifer (Jen) Glancy (2015 – 2019, Ph.D. Degree in Chemistry) – Portland Technology Development Lithography Module Engineer @ Intel Corporation
  • Masih Jorat (2015 – 2016, M.S. Degree in Chemical Engineering) – Ph.D. Graduate Student in Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering @ UCLA, Manousiouthakis Group
  • Rylan Kautz (2019 – 2020, Ph.D. Degree in Materials Science & Engineering) – Senior Multi Disciplined Engineer II, Space Component Engineering @ Raytheon Technologies
  • Sam Keene (2016 – 2018, Ph.D. Degree in Physics, ChaMP Program) – Research Engineer @ Enevate Corporation; formerly Research Engineer, Battery Systems @ Fisker, Inc.
  • Simon Luo (2016 – 2021, Ph.D. Degree in Chemistry) – Portland Technology Development Module and Integration Device Yield Engineer @ Intel Corporation
  • Jingshu Ma (2014 – 2015, M.S. Degree in Chemical Engineering) – Process Engineer @ NW Innovation Works – Port of Kalama
  • Claudia P. Ramirez (2013 – 2016, Chemistry)
  • Ronald (Ron) S. Reiter (2013 – 2015, M.S. Degree in Chemistry, with Thesis) – QC Analyst I @ Glanbia Nutritionals
  • Christopher (Chris) D. Sanborn (2013 – 2017, Ph.D. Degree in Chemistry) – Portland Technology Development Module and Integration Device Yield Engineer @ Intel Corporation
  • Eric Schwartz (2017 – 2019, Materials Science & Engineering)
  • Yuanxun Shao (2015 – 2016, M.S. Degree in Chemical Engineering) – Ph.D. Graduate Student in Chemical Engineering @ Clemson University, Scott Group
  • Margherita Taddei (2018, M.S. Degree in Photochemistry @ University of Bologna, Italy) – Ph.D. Graduate Student in Chemistry @ University of Washington, Ginger Group
  • Kevin Tkaczibson (2015 – 2019, Ph.D. Degree in Materials Science & Engineering) – Portland Technology Development Lithography Module Engineer @ Intel Corporation
  • Vijay Weerasinghe (2015 – 2016, M.S. Degree in Chemical Engineering) – Validation Engineer @ PSC Biotech
  • William (Will) White (2014 – 2019, Ph.D. Degree in Chemistry) – Portland Technology Development Module and Integration Device Yield Engineer @ Intel Corporation; formerly Postdoctoral Scholar in Hickner Group @ Penn State (Materials Science & Engineering)

Postbaccalaureate Scholars

Undergraduate Students

High School Students