Resnick Institute

Current Postdoctoral Scholars

Gwen Bailey

Gwendolyn A. Bailey

2018 Resnick Postdoctoral Scholar

Originally from the Rocky Mountains in British Columbia, Canada, Gwen completed her PhD in chemistry with Prof. Deryn Fogg at the University of Ottawa. There, she studied the intrinsic reactivity and decomposition of the active species in ruthenium-catalyzed olefin metathesis, an exceptionally powerful and “green” technology for building carbon-carbon bonds. She also built on these insights to improve catalyst productivity and reduce waste. Her research was recognized by the Inorganic Division of the Canadian Institute for Chemistry, with its 2018 “AGWIC” award for graduate work in inorganic chemistry, and by a postdoctoral fellowship from Canada’s Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council (NSERC). At Caltech, Gwen’s research will focus on new ways to activate carbon dioxide (CO2) using mixed-metal complexes. With emerging technologies for efficiently capturing CO2 directly from the atmosphere, this research could lead to powerful strategies for taking advantage of atmospheric CO2 to synthesize renewable, carbon-neutral liquid fuels.

Faculty Sponsor: Theodor Agapie

Chengying Bao

Chengying Bao

2017 Resnick Postdoctoral Scholar

Chengying received his PhD in optics from Tsinghua University in 2016. He then worked as a postdoctral researcher at Purdue University. His previous work focused on the generation of frequency combs, arrays of evenly spaced optical frequencies. At Caltech, he will work on using this light source for rapid and sensitive methane leak detection, which may advance the technology for use with natural gas energy sources.

Faculty Sponsor: Kerry J. Vahala

Kurt Dahlstrom

Kurt M. Dahlstrom

2017 Resnick Postdoctoral Scholar

Kurt was raised on a grain farm in North Dakota where he developed an interest in understanding how to sustainably produce the world’s food. He majored in the biological sciences as an undergraduate at the University of Chicago before obtaining his PhD in microbiology at the Geisel School of Medicine at Dartmouth by studying bacterial signaling in the laboratory of George O’Toole. At Caltech, he will research how the microbes that colonize the roots of food crops compete and collaborate with one another to form communities that govern plant health and yield. His aim is to learn how to manipulate the composition of these microbial communities in order to confer resistance to disease or drought upon the crops.

Faculty Sponsor: Dianne K. Newman

Haohua Huo

Haohua Huo

2017 Resnick Postdoctoral Scholar

Haohua obtained his BSc degree in chemistry from Xiamen University, China and completed his PhD at Philipps-Universität Marburg, Germany, in 2016. At Marburg, under the supervision of Prof. Eric Meggers, he became interested in using green and sustainable energy to promote chemical reactions, while researching visible-light-activated asymmetric catalysis. At Caltech, he works with Prof. Gregory C. Fu on developing new sustainable reactions for synthesis that use earth-abundant nickel rather than precious metals as catalysts. He aims to develop a new approach for efficient and economical synthesis of pharmaceutical molecules.

Faculty Sponsor: Gregory C. Fu

Andrew J. Martinolich

Andrew J. Martinolich

2018 Resnick Postdoctoral Scholar

Andy obtained his PhD in chemistry in 2017 at Colorado State University under the advisement of Professor James Neilson, where he investigated low temperature solid state reaction pathways that influence the formation of materials with interesting physical and electronic properties. Andy is currently working with Professor Kim See in the department of chemistry to develop new materials that will promote next-generation battery technologies beyond lithium. Specifically, he's interested in the design and preparation of solid state divalent ion conductors, which would enable solid-state magnesium ion batteries. Outside of the lab he's passionate about trail running and exploring in the mountains, and hopes to contribute to the sustainable energy infrastructure required to preserve such natural resources for future generations.

Faculty Sponsor: Kimberly A. See

Carlos Read

Carlos G. Read

2016 Resnick Postdoctoral Scholar

Carlos was born in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic. He obtained his undergraduate degrees in chemistry and physics from Utah State University in 2011. For his graduate studies, he moved to Penn State where he obtained his PhD in chemistry in 2016 under the supervision of Prof. Raymond E. Schaak. At Penn State, he worked on the synthesis and characterization of heterostructured nanoparticles with an emphasis on catalytic and photocatalytic applications. At Caltech, his research focuses on developing new heterogeneous electrocatalysts for energy-relevant reactions, such as carbon dioxide reduction, hydrogen evolution, and oxygen evolution, which are promising routes for the production of renewable chemicals and fuels.

Faculty Sponsor: Nathan S. Lewis

Matthew Welborn

Matthew Welborn

2017 Resnick Postdoctoral Scholar

Matt received his BS in chemistry at the University of Texas at Austin. There, he got started in sustainability research, working with Prof. Graeme Henkelman on catalysts for hydrogen fuel cells. His PhD work at MIT with Prof. Troy Van Voorhis concerned new theoretical methods for simulating solar materials. Now at Caltech, Matt is working with Prof. Thomas F. Miller III to model the conversion of atmospheric nitrogen into ammonia, a key process in natural fertilization of plants and a limiting factor in crop yields. His research seeks to develop the theoretical tools needed to understand the catalytic action of nitrogenase, the enzyme that performs this reaction at a molecular level.

Faculty Sponsor: Thomas F. Miller

Xiaomei Zeng

Xiaomei Zeng

2017 Resnick Postdoctoral Scholar

Xiaomei obtained her PhD in materials science & engineering from Nanyang Technological University (NTU), Singapore, where she developed a strong interest in the development of materials for sustainable energy applications and green chemistry. Her research at NTU focused on the development of inorganic ceramic materials, specifically shape memory ceramics as smart functional materials for energy damping applications. At Caltech, Xiaomei will work with Professor Katherine Faber to design new electrolytes for solid state lithium ion batteries. She aims to enhance the mechanical reliability and electrochemical performance of these batteries through exploration of suitable composite agents.

Faculty Sponsor: Katherine T. Faber

Alessandro Zocca

Alessandro Zocca

2018 Resnick Affiliate Postdoctoral Scholar

Alessandro’s research focuses on developing new mathematical models that describe the intrinsic uncertainty affecting energy networks, capturing the complicated spatio-temporal correlations of renewable energy generation and the interplay of this randomness with physical network constraints. His end goal is to assess the maximum renewable energy penetration that can be sustained while maintaining a target level of reliability and to design distributed control policies for new technologies (e.g. energy storage devices, smart buildings and appliances, and electric vehicles) that could effectively mitigate the volatile nature of renewable power generation. Alessandro studied applied mathematics in Padova (BS 2010), Cambridge (MS 2011) and Eindhoven University of Technology (PhD 2015). After a first postdoc at CWI in Amsterdam, he joined Caltech as a postdoctoral researcher with a NWO Rubicon personal grant to work with professors Adam Wierman and Steven Low. An outdoor enthusiast, he is an avid climber and hiker.

Faculty Collaborators: Adam Wierman and Steven H. Low