Current Members

About Abby | Current Members | Former Members

Graduate Students | Postdoctoral Fellows | Undergraduate Students


Graduate Student

Fifth Years

Patrick Lutz

Fifth Year Graduate
Patrick hails from the Land Shaped Like a Hand. After growing up in southeast Michigan, he moved to the west part of the state to attend Hope College, and he graduated in May 2012 with a B.S. in chemistry. At Hope, he worked in the Johnson lab, studying the mechanism of Rh-catalyzed carbon–carbon σ-bond activation, and learned everything he knows about Swedish lawn games. Outside of lab, Patrick enjoys reading, watching British T.V. shows, playing guitar (badly), drinking bubble tea, and wondering why everyone around these parts insists on referring to pop as “soda.”

Derek Ahneman

Fifth Year Graduate
Derek was born and raised in Stamford, Connecticut. He graduated with a B.S. in Chemistry from the University of Delaware, where he performed mechanistic studies of the silyl-Heck reaction under the guidance of Dr. Donald Watson. Outside the lab, he enjoys watching both kinds of football, reading about economics, and spending time with his wonderful wife, Tracie.

Fourth Years

Matt Nielsen

Fourth Year Graduate
Matt claims to be from San Jose, California, but he also has spent considerable time on the east coast. He graduated in 2013 with a degree in chemistry from Brigham Young University where he synthesized glycolipid immunostimulants for Dr. Paul Savage. Matt enjoys spending time with his wife, Michele and their daughter, Madeleine. They enjoy cooking Thai cuisine, reading juvenile fiction, and hitting the beach as much as possible.

Third Years

Jesus Estrada

Third Year Graduate
Jesus grew up in New York City where he graduated with a B.S. and a M.S. in Chemistry from the City University of New York. He worked on the synthesis and characterization of triazolyl-4-aminoquinolines as potential dual-target antiplasmodial compounds under the supervision of Dr. Roberto Sanchez-Delgado. Outside the lab, he enjoys watching TV, playing video games, beating people in board games, and visiting family and friends back in New York.

Benjamin Shields

Third Year Graduate
Ben Shields was born and raised in Asheville, North Carolina. In 2014, he graduated from the University of North Carolina Asheville with degrees in chemistry and applied mathematics. As an undergraduate, Ben conducted research in the group of Dr. Herman Holt, preparing heterocyclic analogues of microtubule interfering agents.

Second Years

Eric Webb

Second Year Graduate

Eric was born and raised in Kalamazoo, Michigan.  He graduated from Hope College with a B.S. in chemistry.  While there, he worked in the lab of Dr. Jason Gilmore synthesizing photochromic photooxidants and studying their electrochemical properties.  He is an avid hockey fan having played through college and growing up watching the Detroit Red Wings.  In his off time, Eric is a road cyclist and enjoys solving logic puzzles.

Mia Borden

Second Year Graduate
Mia grew up in Sudbury, Massachusetts. She attended Carleton College (BA, Chemistry 2013), where she worked in Steve Drew’s group synthesizing and characterizing platinum-based materials for the detection of benzene gas. After college, Mia moved to Seattle and conducted research on cellular aging in the lab of Dan Gottschling. Outside of lab, Mia enjoys playing ultimate frisbee, cheering for Boston-based sports teams, and visiting her family.

First Years

Junyi Liu

First Year Graduate
Junyi was born and raised in China. She moved to Georgia to attend Emory University and received her B.S. in Chemistry in 2016. She worked towards the total synthesis of natural product Mytoidine under the mentorship of Prof. Simon Blakey as an undergraduate. When not doing research, she takes interest in Celtic music, orcas, and Near Eastern archaeology.

Jesus I. Martinez Alvarado

First Year Graduate
Jesus was born in Mexico City and raised in Durham, North Carolina. He graduated from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, where he conducted research in the lab of Dr. Jeffrey Johnson. While there, Jesus explored the use of an iminophosphorane organocatalyst for reductive coupling reactions. Outside of lab, Jesus enjoys spending time with his family and dog.

Postdoctoral Fellows

Christoph Heinz

Postdoctoral Fellow
Christoph hails from Germany.  He received his Ph.D. from ETH Zurich, working with Prof. Nicolai Cramer.

Laura Ackerman

Postdoctoral Fellow
Laura was born in Honolulu, Hawaii, and grew up both in Berkeley, California and the island of Oahu. She received her BA from Claremont McKenna College in 2009, dual majoring in chemistry and religious studies, and studying abroad in Tokyo, Japan and Brighton, England. At Claremont she conducted research under the guidance of Professor Andrew W. Zanella and Professor Anna G. Wenzel, and later worked at the University of Hawaii at Manoa, learning from Professor David A. Vicic. In 2015 Laura obtained her PhD from the University of Rochester, studying multimetallic catalyzed cross coupling reactions with Professor Daniel J. Weix. Away from the lab Laura can be found laughing with friends and family, playing water polo or soccer, watching old episodes of the West Wing, finding the perfect cup of coffee, or most recently, learning how to play ultimate frisbee from her awesome labmates.

Brian Woods

Postdoctoral Fellow
Brian arrives at Princeton from the Twin Cities, via the Pacific Northwest. He grew up in Bellingham, WA and was introduced to organic chemistry by Prof. Skip Wade while attending Whitman College in Walla Walla, WA. In the summers between years at Whitman, Brian cut his teeth in research under the guidance of Prof. James Vyvyan at Western Washington University in Bellingham. He went on to obtain his PhD at the University of Minnesota in the Hoye lab, researching the hexadehydro-Diels–Alder reaction, a method for generating o-benzyne through [4+2] cyclization of alkyne precursors. Outside of chemistry, Brian enjoys reading, sports, movies, being outdoors, and spending time with friends and family.

Undergraduate Students

Blake Feldman

 was born in Truckee, California, but grew up in the mountainous desert region of Reno, Nevada. He is currently a senior at Princeton University where he works for Butler/Wilson dining services and sings classically in the Glee club. His chemistry interests include organic synthesis, metallophotoredox, and nickel catalysis. Blake enjoys mountain biking and cooking in his free time.

Amanuella Mengiste

Mani was born and raised in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.  She is a rising junior in the Chemical and Biological Engineering department at Princeton. In her free time, she likes getting involved with the international community at Princeton. She also enjoys reading, traveling, photography, watching soccer, visiting art museums, and constantly keeping up with the numerous fandoms that she is part of.

Jake Essman

Jake was born and raised in New York City. He is a sophomore and is in the PU Chemical Society.  He enjoys listening to music, reading total syntheses, and binge-watching Netflix.

Visiting Students

Ricky Williams

Visiting High School Student
Ricky is from the Lawrenceville School.

Orestes Riera

Visiting Undergraduate
Orestes is from Florida International University.

Erin Stache

Visiting Graduate
Erin was born and raised in Wisconsin. She graduated in 2008 from the University of Wisconsin-Green Bay with a B. S. in Chemistry. She completed a M. S. in Chemistry at Colorado State University under the advisement of Prof. Eric Ferreira where she worked on transient directing group strategies for C–H bond activation. She is currently a graduate student in the lab of Tomislav Rovis at Columbia University under the co-advisement of Abby Doyle at Princeton. Outside of lab she enjoys running, reading, cooking, movies and watching sports.

Return to top of page