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The group on campus (summer 2024).

Members: Team

Gabriel Ménard

Principal Investigator

Gab joined the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry at UCSB in 2015 as an Assistant Professor. In 2021, he was promoted to Associate Professor with tenure and, in the summer of 2022, he moved back to Canada to join the University of Calgary.

Born and raised in Eastern Ontario, Canada, near the nation's capital, Gab first completed his B.Sc. in Chemistry at the University of Ottawa in 2006. He then moved to the west coast of Canada to undertake his M.Sc. at the University of British Columbia in Vancouver working on early metal dinitrogen activation in Prof. Mike Fryzuk's group (2008). Gab then pursued another one of his passions, studying climate change and its impacts by completing a Master's in Environmental Studies (M.E.S.) at York University in Toronto (2010). In 2009, he joined Prof. Doug Stephan's group at the University of Toronto to undertake his Ph.D. studies working on small molecule activation – in particular greenhouse gases – using P/Al-based frustrated Lewis pairs, and finishing up in 2013. Finally, Gab went to the U.S. to pursue his post-doctoral studies in Prof. Ted Betley's group at Harvard University. Here, he gained experience working on first-row transition metal clusters investigating metal-metal communication, high-valent Ni clusters, and small molecule activation.

See Gab's CV here.

Postdoctoral Fellows

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Mahendra Awasthi, Ph.D. – UCalgary

Experiences: PDF, University of Calgary, 2024-present

               PDF, IIT Bombay, 2022-2024

Education: Ph.D., IIT Indore, 2022

               M.Sc., Lucknow University, 2016

               B.Sc., Lucknow University, 2014

Bio: Mahendra received his Ph.D. from IIT Indore, India, under the supervision of Prof. Sanjay Kumar Singh.  He enjoys playing cricket and reading books and unwinds by playing the guitar and listening to music and spending the remaining time in the lab.


Jitendrasingh Rajpurohit, Ph.D. – UCalgary

Experiences: PDF, University of Calgary, 2023-present

               PDF, Université Laval, 2022-2023

               PDF, Tel Aviv University, 2019-2022

Education: Ph.D., IIT Bombay, 2019

               M.Sc., Pondicherry University, 2012

               B.Sc., University of Mumbai, 2010

Bio: Jitendra received his Ph.D. from IIT Bombay, India, under the supervision of Prof. Maheswaran S. In his spare time, he enjoys watching and playing cricket, and spending time with his lovely daughter.

Graduate Students


Gustavo Alcántara – UCSB and UCalgary

Education: Ph.D. student, UCSB, 2020-present

               B.A., UT El Paso, 2020

Hometown: El Paso, Texas

Bio: Gustavo was born in El Paso, TX and earned his BA degree in Biochemistry from The University of Texas at El Paso in 2020. There, he worked under the guidance of Professor Skye Fortier on making a terminal uranium nitride and making a dysprosium single-molecule magnet. In fall 2020, Gustavo moved to Santa Barbara to become a mediocre surfer and to pursue a PhD in chemistry in the Ménard group.


Hila Benhaim – UCSB and UCalgary

Education: Ph.D. student, UCSB, 2019-present

               B.A., Hunter College, 2019

Hometown: Queens, New York

Bio: Hila escaped the hustle of New York where she received her BA in Chemistry, working under the supervision of Dr. Spiro Alexandratos. In her spare time, she enjoys concerts, traveling, and going to the movies.


Oluwatemitope Familoni – UCalgary

Education: Ph.D. student, UCalgary, 2022-present

               M.Sc., Beijing Institute of Technology, 2017

Hometown: Ekiti State, Nigeria

Bio: Temi joined the group recently. He is someone that chases his curiosity, if not doing science he is interested in other topics like finance and psychology. He enjoys sauntering, playing sports, and having family time outside the lab.


Ruvini Kirihettiliyanage – UCalgary

Education: M.Sc. student, UCalgary, 2023-present

               B.Sc., UCalgary, 2023

Hometown: Colombo, Sri Lanka

Bio: Ruvini received her B.Sc. in Chemistry from the University of Calgary in 2023 and worked under the supervision of Prof. Jen Love. In her free time, Ruvini is usually out exploring the Rockies or has her nose burried in a fantasy book.


Maxwell Lohoar – UCalgary

Education: M.Sc. student, UCalgary, 2023-present

               B.Sc. (Honours), Dalhousie University, 2023

Hometown: Rothesay, New Brunswick

Bio: Maxwell received his B.Sc. in Chemistry from Dalhousie University in 2023 under the supervision of Prof. Saurabh Chitnis. In his spare time, Maxwell enjoys getting outside, playing guitar, and playing sports.


Sania B. Mostaghimi – UCalgary

Education: M.Sc. student, UCalgary, 2023-present

               B.Sc., University of Tabriz, 2022

Hometown: Tabriz, Iran

Bio: Sania received her B.Sc. from the University of Tabriz under the supervision of Prof. Mahmoud Zarei. In her spare time, Sania enjoys hiking, eating sushi, reading social sciences books, and watching anime.

Undergraduate Students


Claire Cannon – ICE student – Western University

Education: B.Sc., Western University, 2021-present

Hometown: Grand Rapids, Michigan

Bio: Claire joined the lab in the summer of 2024 as an Inorganic Chemistry Exchange (ICE) student. In her spare time, Claire enjoys spending time outside, reading, and playing chess.


Sabrina Hussain – UCalgary

Education: B.Sc., UCalgary, 2021-present

Hometown: Calgary, AB

Bio: Sabrina joined the lab in the summer of 2023. When not in the lab or studying for her courses, you'll most likely find Sabrina baking, spending time in nature, or reading.

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Helen Leslie – ICE student – University of Victoria

Education: B.Sc., UVic, 2020-present

Hometown: Victoria, BC

Bio: Helen joined the lab in summer of 2024 as an Inorganic Chemistry Exchange (ICE) student. In her free time, Helen enjoys exploring the outdoors, watching tv, or increasing her collection of mythology books.

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Nhu Tran – UCalgary

Education: B.Sc., UCalgary, 2020-present

Hometown: Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam

Bio: Nhu joined the lab in the summer of 2024. Nhu enjoys cooking, baking, reading detective and horror books.


Post-doctoral fellows:

Dr. Jiaxiang Chu, 2016-2018. Current position: Assistant

Professor, UCAS (China).

Dr. Benjamin Rennie, 2023-2024.

Graduate students:

Dr. Timothy Carroll, Ph.D., 2020. Current position:

Research Chemist, Clariant Specialty Chemicals.

Dr. Arunavo Chakraborty, Ph.D., 2024. Current position:

Postdoc in Boettcher Group, UC Berkeley.

Dr. Shannon Heinrich, Ph.D., 2023. Current position:

Senior Electrolyte Scientist, Cuberg.

Dr. Camden Hunt, Ph.D., 2019. Current position: Program

Manager of CEDI, MIT.

Dr. Samuel Jacob, Ph.D., 2021. Current position: Postdoc in

Crudden Group, Nagoya U (Japan).

Dr. Megan Keener, Ph.D., 2020. Current position: Postdoc in

Polly Arnold Group, UC Berkeley.

Chae Yeong Kim, M.S., 2022. Current position: PhD student

       at UCSB.

Chris Kirby, M.S., 2018. Current position: High-school

teacher in NJ.

Dr. Maxwell Mattejat, Ph.D., 2023. Current position:

US Environmental Protection Agency.

Dr. Madeline Peterson, Ph.D., 2021. Current position:

Senior Scientist, Donaldson.

Dr. Zongheng Wang, Ph.D., 2022. Current position:

Postdoc in Concepcion Group, Brookhaven.

Dr. Anthony Wong, Ph.D., 2021. Current position: Postdoc in

Polly Arnold Group, UC Berkeley.

Undergraduate students:

Alexandra Hankins, 2023

Nathan Leonard, 2023

Matthew Avalos, 2021-2023

Lucas Pattantyus, 2023

Daniel Pan, 2020-2022

Afton Gustafson, 2019-2021

Rachel Garwick, 2017-2020

Gillian Kutrosky, 2018-2020

Delenn Ganyo, 2019-2020

Paige Dixon, 2020​​

Chenyue Yang, 2020
Jonas Kaare-Rasmussen, 2019

Rachel Huang, 2019

Solène Perot, 2019

Kevin Guevara, 2018

Clarissa Magallanes, 2018

Cassidy Anderson, 2017-2018

Ruoshui (Louis) Li, 2017-2018

Amaani Desai, 2017

Ali Mahdi, 2017

Yasmine Soliman, 2017

Natalie Kashanchi, 2016-2017

Clayton Silva, 2016-2017

Nicole Delgado, 2015-2016

Spencer Baker, 2015

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