Meet the Group

Our mission is to (1) train students to be world-class chemists and outstanding leaders in academia and industry (2) contribute to society through research and innovation. Through science and education, we strive to build a more equitable, inclusive, and sustainable world. We plan to achieve this mission within a healthy and happy team that supports each other, through the good times and the challenging times.

Do our best.
One for all, all for one.
Never give up.

We value diversity, including differences in race, ethnicity, gender, and sexual orientation. If you're interested in joining our mission, please feel free to contact us for more information. LABORATORY: 4403 Natural Science I; TELEPHONE: 949-824-0415. See GROUP ALUMNI.

Postdoctoral Fellows

Dr. Shaozhen Nie

Was born and raised in Shandong province, China. He earned his doctorate at the Sun Yat-sen University under the supervision of Prof Yan ming and then joined the faculty at Liaocheng University. As a visiting scholar, Shaozhen is aiding our efforts on the design of catalysts and transformations. When not doing chemistry, he enjoys hiking, swimming, and spending time with his wife and daughter.

Dr. Patrick Parker

Was born and raised in Nashville Tennessee. He obtained his bachelor's degree in chemistry and mathematics from Lipscomb University. He then moved to Raleigh for his PhD under the direction of Professor Joshua Pierce at North Carolina State University. Patrick's doctoral work focused on the development of novel methods for accessing nitrogen-containing heterocycles with applications to total synthesis and medicinal chemistry. He joined our group in September of 2019. In his free time, Patrick enjoys weightlifting, running, and reading.

Dr. Isaiah Speight

Was born in Portsmouth, Virginia and received his B.S. in chemistry at Norfolk State University. During his undergraduate studies, Isaiah performed research in polymer synthesis with Dr. Olufemi Oyesanya and synthetic organic chemistry with Dr. Steven Townsend. Isaiah then went on to Vanderbilt University to earn his Ph.D. in chemistry under the mentorship of Dr. Timothy Hanusa with a focus on using mechanochemistry to make organometallic complexes. Isaiah has worked within NOBCChE as the organizations National Student Representative. Dr. Speight joined our team in May 2021. Outside of lab, Isaiah loves a good game of pick-up basketball and videogaming with friends.

Graduate Students

Brian Daniels

Was born and raised in Dayton, Ohio. He obtained a B.S. in chemistry from The Ohio State University. While in Columbus, he worked for Professor Jon Parquette designing self-assembled nanotube structures. Subsequently, he worked for Professor David Nagib designing new synthetic methods using radicals. He joined our group in February 2021. Outside of lab, he enjoys reading biographies, going camping, and weightlifting.

Ryan Davison

Was born and raised in Syracuse, New York. Ryan obtained his B.S. in chemistry from Hobart and William Smith Colleges in 2017. While at HWS, Ryan worked on the synthesis of macrocyclic depsipeptides in Professor Justin Miller's lab. He joined our group in December 2017 as a member of team hydrofunctionalization. When not doing chemistry, Ryan enjoys weightlifting, basketball, and playing chess.

Xintong Hou

Was born and raised in Langfang, Heibei, China. She obtained a B.S. in Chemistry from Gettysburg College. While in Gettysburg, she worked on cyclopentadienone iron tricarbonyl catalysts for transfer hydrogenation and dehydrogenation in Dr. Timothy Funk's lab. She joined our group in February 2020. Outside of lab, she enjoys drawing, playing Chinese musical instruments, and exploring all the good restaurants in Irvine.

Alex Jiu

Was born and raised in the Bay Area (Oakland, California). He obtained his B.S in Biochemistry from San Jose State University in 2016 while working for Professor Laura Miller Conrad designing anti-quorum sensing therapeutics. After graduating, Alex was offered a medicinal chemistry position in Professor Stanley Prusiner's lab UC San Francisco. There, he designed small molecule therapeutics aimed at inhibiting prion aggregation. In 2019, Alex joined our team to pursue his doctorate in organic synthesis. In his free time, he likes to eat, sleep, and lift things.

Erin Kuker

Was born and raised in Fort Wayne, Indiana. She obtained a B.A. in Chemistry from Indiana University Bloomington. While at IU, she worked on the total synthesis of cyclobutane-containing natural products in Professor Kevin Brown's group. She joined our group in the summer of 2019 as a rotating student. Outside the lab, Erin enjoys photography, growing plants, and listening to podcasts.

Alexander Lu

Was born and raised in Montville, New Jersey. He obtained a B.S. in Chemistry from Boston College while working in the lab of Professor James P. Morken. He joined us in December 2016 as a member of team hydroamination. When not doing chemistry, he enjoys napping, eating instant ramen, and hip-hop.

Kirsten Ruud

Was born and raised in Fort Atkinson, WI. She obtained her B.S. in Chemistry from University of Wisconsin-River Falls. While at UWRF, Kirsten worked towards an enantioselective route to synthesize 2-substituted azetidines in Dr. Matthew C. O'Reilly's lab. She joined our group in February 2021. In her free time, Kirsten enjoys hiking, camping, and rock climbing!

Hannah Slocumb

Grew up in Fort Collins, CO. She obtained her bachelor's degree in chemistry at Harvey Mudd College in 2019. There, she worked under Prof. Adam R. Johnson designing ligands for Ti/Ta complex-catalyzed hydroamination of aminoallenes. She joined our group in January 2020 as a member of team hydroamination. Outside of lab, she likes to hang out with her dog, try out interesting recipes and go to concerts.

Minghao Wang

Was born in Zhengzhou, China. He went to Nankai University in Tianjin for undergraduate studies and worked in the Zhou Group on metal-catalyzed hydrogenations. In his senior year, he went to Yale University and worked in Newhouse Lab on natural product total synthesis. Minghao joined our team in February 2021 to purse a PhD in synthetic chemistry. During his free time, he enjoys playing basketball and cooking.

Undergraduate Research Students


Wilmer Alkhas

Is our group coordinator and webmaster. He grew up in southern California where he graduated from the California State University at Long Beach with a bachelorís degree in Computer Engineering.

Elizabeth Trammell

Patricia Terrell

Earned her doctorate degree from Baylor University where she examined writing public legislation, in light of the separation of religion and state. During her studies at Oxford, she researched guidelines for human bioethics. After an internship at the Council of Europe, she participated on the UNESCO International Bioethics Committee (in Paris) for nine years. Her work led to the "Universal Declaration of Human Rights and Bioethics" and she has published books with Taylor and Francis and Bloomsbury. We're fortunate to now have her at UC Irvine where she joined our team in 2015.

Lab Bettas


Grew up in southern California and joined our team in November 2014. Bubbles enjoys fishing for results and has an eclectic appreciation for cinema. His favorite films are Little Mermaid, Jaws, Finding Nemo, and Waterworld.


From Tustin, he joined our team in the summer of 2015. He loves the study of valence shells and is passionate about green chemistry. Living up to his name, Hulk's growing at an exponential rate. Inside the tank, he enjoys swimming, sun-bathing, and fishing.