Postdoctoral Fellows

Shang Jia, PhD

Shang obtained his BS in Chemistry at Peking University and earned his PhD degree at University of California, Berkeley, under the direction of Prof. Christopher Chang. When outside the lab, he spends his free time either exploring areas around the large city of LA, or at home playing with computer and networking stuff.

jiash416 [at] g [dot] ucla [dot] edu

Heidi van de Wouw, PhD

Dr. Heidi L. van de Wouw double majored in Chemistry and Environmental Studies and Planning at Sonoma State University. Continuing onto doctoral studies at Johns Hopkins University with Prof. Rebekka S. Klausen, Heidi developed an air-stable organoborane monomer enabling precise incorporation of polar functionality into styrenic polymers. In the Sletten Group Heidi is developing fluorous materials for new nanotherapeutic technologies. Heidi’s hobbies include film photography and gardening.

hvandewouw [at] g [dot] ucla [dot] edu

Fifth Year Graduate Students

Irene Lim

Irene graduated with her BA in Chemistry from Williams College in 2016. A born and raised Southern gal, she loves to read books about the chemistry of food and using the kitchen as a laboratory.

lim [dot] irene [dot] 16 [at] gmail [dot] com

Margeaux Miller

Margeaux graduated from Barnard College in New York City with a BA in Chemistry in 2016. Originally from Arizona, she enjoys yoga, reading, and eating chocolate.

margeaux [at] chem [dot] ucla [dot] edu

Fourth Year Graduate Students

Cesar Garcia

Cesar graduated from San Diego State with a BS in Chemistry. Originally from Mexico, Cesar loves rock climbing, video games, sports, and playing guitar with his mariachi band.

cegarturo95 [at] gmail [dot] com

Anthony Spearman

Anthony graduated from Southern Methodist University with a BA in Chemistry in 2018. Originally from the city of Chicago, Anthony enjoys listening to music, watching TV, and looking at clouds.

anthony [dot] l [dot] spearman [at] gmail [dot] com

Third Year Graduate Students

Erika Aguiluz Ramirez

Born in El Salvador and raised in southeast Los Angeles, Erika received her BA in chemistry from Macalester College in Saint Paul, Minnesota. In her free time she enjoys watching movies, hiking, and spending time with her five-year old niece.

eaguiluz [at] g [dot] ucla [dot] edu

Joseph Garcia

A life-long Californian, Joseph received his BS in chemistry at the University of California Irvine. In his free time, he enjoys making music, playing video games, going to shows, and exploring the L.A. area.

josephg1 [at] g [dot] ucla [dot] edu

Kelly Wong

Kelly earned her BA in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology from the University of California, Berkeley. Originally from the Bay Area, she enjoys baking tasty treats for the lab and playing jazz flute and trombone.

kellycwong [at] chem [dot] ucla [dot] edu

Second Year Graduate Students

Rita Aksenfeld

Rita graduated with a BS in Chemistry and Minor in Biology from Caltech in 2020. Outside of lab, she enjoys hiking, STEM outreach, and watching and reading science fiction.

aksenfeldrita [at] g [dot] ucla [dot] edu

Angela Bui

(Joint student w/ Spokoyny group)

Angela graduated from Cal State Long Beach with a BS in biochemistry and a BA in Chemistry in 2020. During her free time she loves to explore the outdoors and spend time with her four cats.

buiangela98 [at] g [dot] ucla [dot] edu

Caitlyn Fick

Caitlyn graduated from Scripps College with a BA in chemistry and a minor in English in 2019. Before starting her PhD, she worked at LANL as a post-bac in Los Alamos, NM. She hails from Hood River, OR where she loves to hike, run, and be outside with her friends and family.

caitlyn [dot] fick [at] chem [dot] ucla [dot] edu

Kaitlin Hartung

Kaitlin earned her BS in Biological Sciences, with a concentration in molecular and cellular biology, from Cal Poly San Luis Obispo. Outside of lab, she enjoys drinking coffee, hiking, and visiting her parents (and their many cats) in her hometown of Tulelake, California.

kaitlinhartung [at] chem [dot] ucla [dot] edu

Quintashia Wilson

Quintashia graduated with a BA in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology from Boston University in 2020. In her spare time she enjoys biking, running and creating delicious vegetarian meals.

qwilson [at] g [dot] ucla [dot] edu

Jessica Zeng

Born and raised in Ohio, Jessica obtained her BS in biochemistry in 2019. Outside of the lab, she enjoys hiking and collecting insects.

jgzeng [at] chem [dot] ucla [dot] edu

First Year Graduate Students

Eric Lin

Eric graduated from Stanford University with a BS in Chemistry with Biology concentration. In his free time, he enjoys exploring new restaurants, eating sweets, going to the gym, and making music.

Rotation Students

Belle Coffey

Jennyfer Galvez-Reyes

Prairie Hammer

Prairie graduated from Tufts University in 2020, with a BS in biochemistry and a BA in Spanish. She is originally from Berkeley, and enjoys cooking elaborate vegetarian meals, running, and reading murder mysteries.

Helen Lin

Helen graduated from Hamilton College with a BA in Chemistry in 2019. Before starting her PhD, she worked for the Xavier Lab at Massachusetts General Hospital as a research associate. Originally from Lubbock, Texas, she enjoys playing outdoor sports, visiting breweries and meeting dogs.

Emily Mobley

Emily earned a BS in Biochemistry with a minor in Nutrition in 2019, and MS in Polymers and Coatings Science in 2020, both from Cal Poly SLO. She also worked as a lab technician (2019-2020) and principal analyst (2020-2021) at Environmental Analytical Service, Inc. in SLO before starting at UCLA. She is originally from Napa, and in her free time she likes to take her dogs on outdoor adventures, surf, and rock climb.

Casey Morrison

Casey graduated from Pomona College in 2021 with a BA in chemistry. At Pomona, he did research in the O’Leary group synthesizing small molecules and characterizing the strength and orientation of hydrogen bonds using NMR. In his free time, Casey enjoys running outdoors and going to the beach.

Ethan Ng

Lillie Plaza

Vicki Rubio

Originally from Central California, Vicki started her BS in Chemistry at Merced Community College and went on to complete her degree at the University of California, Santa Barbara. Apart from lab, she enjoys writing letters, collecting lowbrow art, and spending time with her siblings.

Katie Zhu

Katie graduated from the University of Toronto in 2021 with a BS in Chemistry. Outside of the lab, she enjoys swimming, hiking and learning how make different types of coffee.

Undergraduate Researchers

Kyle Bui

Kyle is a 4th year Chemistry major working with Cesar Garcia. Native to Orange County, CA, Kyle enjoys playing soccer, going to the beach, watching movies, and taking photography outside of the lab.

Xavier Herrera

Xavier is a 2nd year Human Biology and Society major working with Kelly Wong. Coming from Denver, CO, Xavier is passionate about cooking and baking, running outdoors, and listening to music.

Alan Tran

Alan is a 4th year Chemical Engineering major/Accounting minor working with Joseph Garcia. Coming from Anaheim, CA, Alan loves weightlifting, skating, and volunteering for MoneyThink and VITA in his free time.

Daniel Turner

Daniel is a 4th year Biochemistry major working with Anthony Spearman. Originally from San Diego, Daniel enjoys running, playing piano, and listening to music outside of lab.


Ga Young (Gina) Lee, PhD – graduate student, now at Vertex Pharmaceuticals

Anna Kataki-Anastasakou, PhD – graduate student, now at ZS Associates

Monica Pengshung, PhD – graduate student, now postdoctoral fellow at Oregon Health & Sciences University

Rachael Day, PhD – graduate student, now professor at Drury University

Dan Estabrook, PhD – graduate student, now postdoctoral fellow at Eli Lilly

Joe Jaye, PhD – graduate student, now postdoctoral fellow at University of Minnesota

Gisella Austine – undergraduate researcher

Maly Cosco, PhD – graduate student, now postdoctoral fellow at Stanford

John Chapman – undergraduate researcher, now PhD student at Caltech

Olivia Leland – undergraduate researcher, now PhD student at Brandeis University

Junho Kwon – undergraduate researcher, now MD/MPH student at University of Texas

Carolyn Wu – undergraduate researcher, now PhD student at UCLA

Jonathan Axtell, PhD – postdoctoral fellow, now at Dow

Selena Hernandez – undergraduate researcher, now PhD student at University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign

Wei Cao, PhD – postdoctoral fellow, now at Northwestern University

Rachel Ehrlich – undergraduate researcher, now PhD student at UC San Diego

Jay Gietzelt – undergraduate researcher, now at Leiden University

Ryan McLaughlin – undergraduate researcher, now postbaccalaureate at NIH