I live in Webster, TX, just south of Houston, and I currently work as a scientist and engineer for a major corporation in the petrochemical industry that you have definitely heard of. I'm originally from California, and I grew up in the Bay Area near San Francisco. I've always had a love for science and technology, and I grew up while the personal computer came of age. I started programming when I was 10 at an after school program run by Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, and today I picked it back up as a hobby. I even have a couple apps on the App Store - check out However, my educational interests have always involved the physical sciences, and I'm fortunate enough that my current career is aligned with my interests.
I earned my undergraduate degree in Chemical Engineering from Caltech in Pasadena, CA, graduating in 2002. During that time I discovered what I actually enjoyed most about that field was the chemistry part, and for three and a half years I worked as an undergraduate researcher in the Chemistry department under Prof. Harry Gray. My undergraduate thesis was titled "Solar Energy Solar Systems" since we were working with complexes derived from [Ru(bpy)3]2+ and [Mo(CN)8]4- that are capable of reducing water to hydrogen upon photo excitation. Solar energy through chemistry - very exciting stuff, and the field continues to evolve today!
After Caltech I earned my Ph.D. in Chemistry from the University of California, Berkeley, graduating in 2007. I had the privilege of being advised by Prof. Ken Raymond, and my thesis is titled Guest Binding, Redox and Molecular Transport Properties of Supramolecular Coordination Assemblies. It's about self-assembled tetrahedral M4L6 water soluble complexes that have a lipophilic cavity inside the tetrahedron that can bind mono-cationic guest molecules. (A tetrahedron is like a pyramid but with a triangular base instead of square). These clusters could host organometallic catalysts, or act as catalysts themselves. Since they are chiral (despite being assembled from achiral components) they influenced the stereochemical preference of the products whose formation they catalyzed. Enantioselectivity, which is the preference for one mirror image over another, is very important for anything to do with biomedical applications since our body is made of chiral molecules, and different mirror images of a drug can have very different effects. My work focused on how things got into the host, how they could be used as molecular shuttles or phase transfer agents, and whether electroactive guests which could be released on demand simply by applying a couple volts where the guest was needed. One of the neat things that came out of that work was a host-guest assembly with a "dangling arm" protruding from the inside of the tetrahedron. I also got to solve the crystal structure of a plutonium complex sequestered by a chelation therapy drug along the way. What a great experience it was doing research in chemistry - the field has come a long way in the past 100 years!
Today, I work in industry, and I have developed expertise in entirely different areas. I'll add more info about my work experience in the next few days.