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The group in June 2022 prior to the move up north. Missing: Jitendra, Matthew, Lucas, Sydney.

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 Fellow


Jitendrasingh Rajpurohit, Ph.D. – UCalgary

Experiences: PDF, University of Calgary, 2023-present

               PDF, Université Laval, 2022-2023

               PDF, Tel Aviv University, Israel, 2019-2022

Education: Ph.D., IIT Bombay, India, 2019

               M.Sc., Pondicherry University, India, 2012

               B.Sc., University of Mumbai, India, 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

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

               B.A., UT El Paso, 2020

Hometown: El Paso, TX

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

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

               B.A., Hunter College, 2019

Hometown: Queens, NY

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.


Arunavo Chakraborty – UCSB

Education: Ph.D. student, UCSB, 2018-present

               B.Sc., Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore, India, 2018

Hometown: Bangalore, India

Bio: Arunavo received his B.Sc from IISc, Bangalore, under the supervision of Prof. Naga Phani B Aetukuri. In his spare time, Arunavo likes eating hot and spicy food, catching up on anime and memes, playing World of Warships and going on road trips.

Shannon .jpg

Shannon Heinrich – UCSB

Education: Ph.D. student, UCSB, 2018-present

               B.S., California Polytechnic State University, 2018

Hometown: San Diego, CA

Bio: Shannon received her B.Sc. from Cal Poly SLO in 2018 where she worked under Dr. David Zigler. In her spare time, Shannon enjoys hiking, skiing, backpacking and eating Mexican food.


Maxwell Mattejat – UCSB

Education: Ph.D. student, UCSB, 2018-present

               B.S., UNC Wilmington, 2018

Hometown: Fulton, MD

Bio: Maxx received his B.Sc. from UNCW in 2018 working under the supervision of Dr. Jeremy Morgan. In his spare time, he enjoys surfing, hiking, cooking, photography and disc golf.

Undergraduate Students


Matthew Avalos – UCSB

Education: B.A., UCSB, 2018-present

Hometown: Anaheim, CA

Bio: Originally studying Biology, Matthew ended up switching to chemistry after finding a passion for organic chemistry. When not studying chemistry, Matthew enjoys producing Lofi and working out.


Lucas Pattantyus – UCalgary

Education: B.Sc., University of Calgary, 2019-present

Hometown: Calgary, AB

Bio: Moving from Ottawa to Calgary, Lucas chose to study Chemistry at the University of Calgary after discovering a passion for the science in high school. Lucas is a big soccer fan, supporting FC Bayern Munich and the Romanian National team, his country of birth.


Post-doctoral fellow:

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

Professor, UCAS (China).


Graduate students:

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

Research Chemist, Clariant Specialty Chemicals.

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

Manager of CEDI, MIT (USA).

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

Mazzanti Group, EPFL (Switzerland).

Chae Yeong Kim, M.S., 2022. Current position: In South


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

teacher in NJ (USA).

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

Postdoc in Berlinguette Group, UBC (Canada).

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

Postdoc in Concepcion Group, Brookhaven (USA).

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

Polly Arnold Group, UC Berkeley (USA).

Undergraduate students:

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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