Elles Group News

woman reaching into experiment with glasses on

June 2024

May 2024

  • We are pleased to welcome Bren Karki to the group as a summer REU student. Bren is an undergraduate from Maryville University in St. Louis, Missouri, and will be working to generate tunable picosecond laser pulses for stimulated resonance Raman spectroscopy. 
  • Katie and Chase are recognized for their accomplishments with departmental scholarships at the annual KU Chemistry awards ceremony. Congrats! 

April 2024

  • The group is awarded a new NSF grant, Broadband Two-Photon Absorption Spectroscopy for in situ Measurement and Characterization of Heterogeneous Samples. This three-year project will allow us to further extend the capabilities of broadband two-photon absorption spectroscopy (BB-2PA) with an eye toward applications in two-photon imaging and microscopy.
  • Katie White is awarded an NSF Graduate Research Fellowship. We are very proud of Katie for this remarkable accomplishment!

January 2024

  • We are thrilled to welcome Dr. Emmaline Lorenzo to the group as a postdoctoral research scholar. Dr. Lorenzo recently completed her Ph.D. in the Wasielewski Group at Northwestern. She will be working on the excited-state resonance Raman spectroscopy project to probe dynamics in higher-lying excited states. 

September 2023

August 2023

  • PJ successfully defends his Ph.D. dissertation "Development and Application of a Single-Shot Broadband Approach for Measuring Two-Photon Absorption Spectra". PJ will begin a postdoc very soon. Congratulations, PJ!
  • PJ's and David's paper Broadband two-photon absorption spectroscopy with stimulated Raman scattering as an internal standard is accepted for publication in the journal Analytical Chemistry.  
  • A second paper related to our collaboration with Prof. Yujie Sun and his group at the University of Cincinnatti is accepted for publication in the journal Biosensors and Bioelectronics.
  • Former undergrad Emmaline Lorenzo defends her PhD dissertation in the Wasielewski Group at Northwestern. Congrats, Dr. Lorenzo!

May 2023

  • A paper highlighting our nascent collaboration with Prof. Yujie Sun and his group at the University of Cincinnatti is accepted for publication in the journal ACS Catalysis
  • PJ is awarded the Glen & Karen Cox Scholarship, Katie earns a Cornelius McCollum Fellowship, and undergrad Chase Courbot gets a scholarship at the annual KU Chemistry Awards Banquet. Way to go!

February 2023

  • Sophomore Chase Courbot joins the group for undergraduate research. Welcome, Chase!

November 2022

August 2022

  • Undergraduate student Anna Jasko joins the group. Anna will be working with PJ to develop two-photon absorption spectroscopy and two-photon fluorescence capabilities in our lab. Welcome, Anna!
  • Chris returns from a two-year rotation as a Program Director in the Chemistry Division of the National Science Foundation.
  • Kristen's paper on the resonance Raman spectroscopy of a photoswitch is published in J. Phys. Chem. A
  • Kristen successfully defends her Ph.D. dissertation, "Probing Ultrafast Dynamics of Higher-Lying Excited-States of Molecular Switches with Femtosecond Stimulated Raman Spectroscopy". She is moving on right away to teach chemistry as tenure-track teaching faculty at Western Michigan University starting in the fall. Congratulations, Kristen, and good luck!

June 2022

May 2022

  • Visiting student Jamie Somers from Dublin City University joins the group for summer research. He joins us through the Craig Lunte Memorial Exchange Program between KU and DCU.
  • The article Synthesis of Cycloheptatriene-Containing Azetidine Lactones involving our collaboration with the Boskovic group at KU is published in the Journal of Organic Chemistry (a new journal for our group!) 
  • Kristen wins the Takeru and Aya Higuchi Graduate Scholarship in Physical Chemistry. She is also named a Burger Summer Scholar for 2022. Great work, Kristen!
  • PJ wins the Cornelius McCollum Scholarship. Nice work, PJ!
  • Jessica and Rob earn departmental awards. They are both graduating this semester with degrees in Chemistry and will be off to graduate school in the fall. Congratulations, and good luck!

April 2022

November 2021

October 2021

  • Jessica Bair presents a poster on her research at the 12th Annual Conference for Undergraduate Women in Physical Science (WoPhyS) in Lincolne, Nebraska. 
  • Ian gives a poster about his reserach on two-photon absorption spectroscopy for the annual Biomedical Science Symposium at KU.

June 2021

  • Kristen presents a poster on her research for the International Conference on Time-Resolved Vibrational Spectroscopy (TRVS).
  • Both Kristen and PJ give talks on their work for the International Symposium on Molecular Spectroscopy (ISMS). The event was available for viewers "online everywhere", making them truly international presentations!
  • Ian McBride is awarded an NIH-funded Chemical Biology Training Grant.

May 2021

  • Julia Goeks (Ripon College) joins the group as a summer REU student. She will work on a project using Raman spectroscopy. Welcome aboard, Julia! 
  • Kristen Burns is awarded the Kristina May Paquette Scholarship. Way to go Kristen!
  • Jess Bair wins the Adrienne Hiscox Mitchell Scholarship. Congrats, Jess!

March 2021

  • Dan Johnson complestes his oral exam. Good job, Dan!

November 2020

  • First-year graduate students Ian McBride and Daniel Noe will be joining the group. Welcome aboard, Daniel and Ian!

October 2020

  • PJ Srivastava completes his oral exam. Nice work, PJ!

September 2020

  • Former REU student Tyler Tommey (summer 2011) recently completed his Ph.D. in polymer science at the University of Akron. Congrats, Tyler!

August 2020

July 2020

June 2020

May 2020

January 2020

December 2019

  • Matt Barclay successfully defends his Ph.D. dissertation, "Experimental and Theoretical Study of Resonance Raman Spectroscopy in Ground and Excited Electronic States". Matt will start a postdoc position with Dr. Ryan Pensack in the Nanoscale Materials and Device Group at Boise State University in January. Congratulations on the great work at KU, and good luck in Boise!
  • Dan, PJ, and Chris travel to the Advanced Photon Source with Wade Henke and James Blakemore from the Blakemore Group (KU) for 5 days of around-the-clock experiments to study Mn(CO)3 complexes using time-resolved x-ray absorption spectroscopy (TR-XAS). We are working in collaboration with the AMO Physics group at ANL, where former grad student Chris Otolski is now a postdoc.
  • Matt's benchmarking paper "A benchmark study of ground-state Raman spectra in conjugated molecules" is accepted for publication in JCTC.

October 2019

  • Undergraduate student Jess Bair joins the group to begin a new research project. Welcome, Jess!
  • Our new high-repetition rate ultrafast laser arrives! This instrument will support new experiments funded by our recently awarded NSF grant on two-photon absorption spectroscopy.
  • Former member Amanda Houk welcomes her new baby into the world. Congratulations Amanda, Levi, and baby Houk!

September 2019

August 2019

July 2019

June 2019

  • David Stierwalt presents at talk about his research at the International Symposium in Molecular Spectroscopy (ISMS) at Urbana-Champaign, Illinois. 

May 2019

April 2019

  • Kristen Burns successfully completes her comprehensive oral exam! Nice work, Kristen!
  • Chris Otolski accepts a postdoc position in the AMO Physics Group at Argonne National Lab. He will head to ANL after defending his dissertation later this spring.

February 2019

  • Physics Colloquium, 2-18-19 is a video of the Physics Colloquium that Chris gave in February. 

January 2019

  • Chris Otolski presents two posters on his work at the Winter Meeting of the Inter-American Photochemical Society in Sarasota, Florida. 

December 2018

October 2018

September 2018

August 2018

  • Congratulations to Dr. Tim Quincy for successfully defending his Ph.D. dissertation on "Direct and Indirect Probing of Dynamics on Higher-Lying Excited States of Photoactive Molecules". He will be off soon to start a teaching postdoc position at St. Ambrose University in Davenport, Iowa. Nice work, Tim! And good luck! 
  • Former undergrad Nick Jackson starts a new teaching position in chemistry at Olathe South High School. Good luck, Nick!

July 2018

June 2018

May 2018

  • Whitney and Emmaline graduate with B.S. degrees in Chemistry. We are all looking forward to hearing about the great work you will do in graduate school!
  • Emmaline suiccesfully defends her honors thesis, and will graduate with Departmental Honors! Great work!
  • Emmaline is awarded a prestigious NSF Graduate Research Fellowship for graduate school. Congratulations, Emmaline!

April 2018

  • The group was awarded beam time for time-resolved x-ray absorption spectroscopy (TR-XAS) measurements at the Advanced Photon Source at Argonne National Lab. We will examine a series of manganese coordination compounds as part of our ongoing collaboration with the Blakemore Group
  • Whitney accepts an offer to attend graduate school at the University of Iowa. Good luck, Whitney!
  • Emmaline accepts an offer to attend graduate school at Northwestern University. Good luck, Emmaline!

February 2018

  • The Elles and Blakemore Group groups are jointly awarded a grant from the Hall Research Fund (KU) for a collaborative research project. 

December 2017

  • New graduate students Dan Johnson and Prasenjit (PJ) Srivastava officially join the group! Welcome aboard, Dan and PJ!

November 2017

October 2017

  • Tim, Matt, and Chris O. present talks, Emmaline, Whitney, David, and Nick present posters at the ACS Mid-West Regional Meeting, where Chris co-organized a symposium on "Spectroscopy Applied to Structure, Dynamics, and Imaging".

September 2017

August 2017

July 2017

  • Whitney presents a poster on her summer research at the KU Summer Undergraduate Research Poster Session.

June 2017

  • Tim, Chris O., Matt, and Chris present research talks at the 72nd International Symposium on Molecular Spectroscopy (ISMS) in Urbana, Illinois, where Chris co-organized a mini-symposium on "Dynamics on Multiple Potential Energy Surfaces".
  • Incoming graduate student Dan Johnson joins the group for the summer.

May 2017

  • Chris Otolski, Matt Barclay, and Emmaline Lorenzo all take home awards from the departmental spring honors banquet for their outstanding work. Great job!

April 2017

March 2017

  • Chris Otolski presents a poster on his research at the symposium on Imaging and Controlling Ultrafast Dynamics of Atoms, Molecules, and Nanostructures in Manhattan, KS.
  • Congratulations to Chris Otolski for successfully passing his comprehensive oral exam!
  • Emmaline is one of four KU students nominated for the prestigious Goldwater Scholarship (KU Nominates 4 juniors for Goldwater Scholarships)
  • Emmaline was selected for the summer research exchange program at Dublin City University, Ireland. 
  • Former REU student Darien Morrow earns an Honorable Mention from the NSF Graduate Research Fellowship Program. Nice work, Darien!

January 2017

  • Tim presented a poster on his research at the Pacific Conference on Spectroscopy and Dynamics in Asilomar, California.

December 2016

  • New graduate students David Stierwalt and Kristen Burns join the group. Welcome!
  • Emmaline earns another Undergraduate Research Award (UGRA). The award will support her research on two-photon activated molecules during the Spring 2017 semester. Great job, Emmaline!

November 2016

  • Chris is named a finalist for the student-nominated H.O.P.E (Honor for the Outstanding Progressive Educator) Teaching Award. 

October 2016

September 2016

  • Chris Otolski presents a poster on his research at the EPSCoR meeting in Lincoln, Nebraska.

July 2016

  • Our paper with Tullio Scopigno's group (Univ. of Rome) on the transient Raman spectroscopy of methylphenylthiophene was accepted for publication in J. Phys. Chem. Letters.

June 2016

  • It's a boy!!! Jorge welcomes baby Isaac into the world! 
  • The High School Teacher Development Workshop, Seeing the Unseen in the Physical Sciences, welcomes 25 teachers from across Kansas. This was the second workshop organized with our help under the Kansas-Nebraska EPSCoR grant. 

May 2016

  • Incoming graduate student David Stierwalt joins the lab for summer research. Welcome to KU, David!
  • Visiting faculty member Jordan Mantha joins us for summer research on SERS spectroscopy of photochromic switches.

April 2016

  • Chris was honored to receive the J. Michael Young Academic Advisor Award, a student-nominated award from the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences.
  • Emmaline won two awards for her poster presentation at the annual KU Undergraduate Research Symposium. Not only did she win one of the Outstanding Presentation Awards, she also earned a second place award in the Sigma Xi Undergraduate Research Competition that was judged simultaneously. Great job, Emmaline! 
  • Visiting student Sadegh Mahvidi arrived at KU. He will be working in our lab to examine the excited-state properties of several photochromic compounds that he has synthesized. Sadegh is on sabbatical from his home institution in Iran, and comes to us directly from Japan, where he just completed a 6 month stay in the lab of Prof. Yokoyama

March 2016

February 2016

  • Emmaline won an Undergraduate Research Award (UGRA) to support her project "The Methodology of Two-Photon Excitation and Its Application to Photoactivated Compounds". Way to go, Emmaline

January 2016

  • Jorge Perez joins the group. He is an undergraduate in the UKanTeach program who will work to develop a lesson plan that incorporates spectroscopy into the High School chemistry curriculum. Welcome aboard, Jorge!

December 2015

  • Chris Otolski and Matt Barclay gave talks, Tim Quincy and Emmaline Lorenzo presented posters about their research at the annual Kansas Physical Chemistry Symposium. 

November 2015

  • Chris Otolski gave a talk, Matt and Emmaline presented posters at the Wakarusa Valley ACS Student Research Symposium. Emmaline won an award for best undergraduate poster presentation! 

October 2015

  • Amanda Houk successfully defends her Ph.D. dissertation: "Nonlinear Excitation of Photoactivated Molecules: Two-Photon Absorption Spectroscopy, Dynamics, and Quantum Yields." No time to celebrate, though, she heads off right away to start her postdoctoral research at Savannah River National Laboratory in South Carolina. Congratulations on all of your great accomplishments, Amanda, and good luck!!!

September 2015

  • Chris Otolski presents a poster about his research at the Kansas-Nebraska NSF EPSCoR Meeting in Lincoln, Nebraska.

August 2015

  • Ryan's summer REU experience at KU is highlighted by the Kansas EPSCoR Program! 

July 2015

  • Ryan and Emmaline present posters about their summer research at the Annual KU Summer Undergraduate Research Poster Session. Nice work this summer!

June 2015

May 2015

  • Jung Moon Suh, a KU undergraduate, joins our research team for the summer. Jung Moon will work on teaching modules under our NSF Career Award.
  • We welcome our newest member, Ryan Hamelin, a summer REU student from Fitchburg State University in Massachusetts. Current undergrad Emmaline Lorenzo will also be participating in the summer REU program this year.
  • Amanda wins the Helen and Paul Gilles Award, our highest departmental award for graduate research in physical chemistry. Nice job!
  • Brooks and Emmaline both win the inaugural Frank Newby Award in Physical Science, a top honor for chemistry undergraduates early in their career. Great work!

April 2015

  • Former REU Summer Research student Darien Morrow will attend graduate school at the University of Wisconsin this fall. Good luck, Darien!
  • Amanda presented a poster at the KU Graduate Research Competition.

March 2015

  • Tim passed his Oral Comprehensive Exam. Way to go, Tim!

January 2015

  • Amanda presented a poster on her research at the Pacific Conference on Spectroscopy and Dynamics in Asilomar, California. 
  • Undergraduates Emmaline Lorenzo, Brooks Hidaka, Nick Jackson, and Victoria Gunderson join the group. Welcome!

November 2014

  • Amanda's paper on the two-photon absorption spectroscopy and dynamics of trans-stilbene has been accepted for publication in J. Phys. Chem. B.

October 2014

  • Cassie's paper on the cycloreversion dynamics of a photochromic diarylethylene switch using the two-color pump-repump-probe technique has been accepted for publication in J. Phys. Chem. A.

September 2014

  • John and Thomas entered a poster in the Wakarusa Valley ACS Student Research Symposium in Atchison. Thomas was there to present, and won the award for best poster presentation. Nice work! 

August 2014

  • We are part of a consortium of research groups in Kansas and Nebraska that has been awarded a $6M EPSCoR grant from the NSF! The project, "Imaging and Controlling Ultrafast Dynamics of Atoms, Molecules, and Nanostructures" includes researchers from KU, KSU, and the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. 

July 2014

June 2014

  • Cassie moves to UNC to start a postdoc position with Gerald Meyer. Good luck in Chapel Hill, Cassie!
  • Welcome to Matthew Barclay, an incoming graduate student from Creighton University who will be working with us this summer.

May 2014

  • Welcome to Darien Morrow, a summer REU student from Missouri Western State University who will be working with us this summer.
  • A second paper from the collaboration with Tullio Scopigno (U. Rome) has been accepted for publication in J. Phys. Chem. B.
  • Cassie successfully defended her Ph.D. thesis: "Controlling the cycloreversion reaction of a diarylthene derivative using sequential two-photon excitation." She was awarded the distinction of Honors Pass. Excellent work, Cassie!
  • Undergraduate research student Graham Oltjen has landed a job as a field engineer with Halliburton. He will begin work after graduating with a B.S. in Chemistry this spring.
  • Amanda and Cassie are recognized for their "outstanding" work at the annual Chemistry Department Awards Reception. Way to go!

April 2014

  • Former REU Summer Research student Samantha Allen will attend graduate school at the University of Colorado this fall. Good luck, Samantha!

January 2014

  • Cassie presents her work at the Pacific Conference on Spectroscopy and Dynamics in Asilomar, CA. The title of her talk is "Using sequential two-photon excitation to controll the cycloreversion reaction of a diarylethene derivative via the higher excited states."
  • Undergraduate research students Graham Oltjen and Thomas Hurley join the group. Graham will study triplet quenching of photoinitiators in solution via laser flash photolysis, and Thomas will develop a module for teaching fundamental absorption spectrometry to high school students.

October 2013

  •  Igor's paper on the ultrafast intersystem crossing kinetics of a photosensitizer for cationic polymerization was accepted for publication in Photochemistry and Photobiology.

August 2013

July 2013

  • Cassie and Jenna presented posters at the Gordon Research Conference on Photochemistry at Stonehill College in Easton, MA.

May 2013

  • Welcome to Samantha Allen, a summer REU student from Agnes Scott College who will be working with us all summer!
  • Cassie was awarded the Paul and Helen Gilles Award in Physical Chemistry. Congrats, Cassie!

April 2013

  • Former group member Tyler Tommey (REU, summer 2011) will begin graduate school this fall in the Polymer Science program at the University of Akron. Best wishes, Tyler!

March 2013

  • Congratulations to Jenna Wasylenko for passing her oral comprehensive exam!

January 2013

  • Dr. Igor Zheldakov accepted a position with Spectra Group Limited in Toledo, Ohio. Spectra Group specializes in developing novel photochemical systems for various applications. Igor will continue to work with the Elles Group through a new collaboration with Spectra.
  • Amanda presented a poster at the Inter-American Photochemical Society meeting in Sarasota, Florida.

December 2012

  • Congratulations to Amanda Houk for passing her oral comprehensive exam!
  • Welcome to our newest group members, Tim Quincy and Riley Ross!

November 2012

  • The Elles Group has been awarded a grant from the ACS Petroleum Research Fund to study the Ultrafast Dynamics of Organic and Molecular Electronics Components.  Check out the full story: http://www.chem.ku.edu/news/elles

October 2012

August 2012

  • Chris was awarded a five year, $650,000 CAREER award from the National Science Foundation for his proposal "Controlling non-adiabatic reaction dynamics in solution: A window on the fundamental details of photochemical reactions."
  • Elles group alum, Joseph Varberg, will start graduate school at the Indiana University School of Medicine BioMedical Gateway Program. Best wishes, Joe!

July 2012

  • Cassie presented a poster at the Gordon Research Conference on Electronic Spectroscopy and Dynamics
  • Igor Zheldakov presented a poster at the Gordon Research Conference on Atomic and Molecular Interaction

June 2012

  • Chris has been awarded a Visiting Faculty position at the University of Rome (La Sapienza). He will spend 3 months this summer working with Tullio Scopigno to study the structural dynamics of molecular switches using Femtosecond Stimulated Raman Spectroscopy (FSRS).

May 2012

  • Cassie Ward was awarded the Kenneth L. and Gertrude Irene Marsi Scholarship for superior academic performance by an advanced graduate student.
  • Will Cleek was awarded the Bricker Scholarship for outstanding performance by a chemistry major.
    • Congratulations to Cassie and Will!

December 2011

November 2011

October 2011

September 2011

  • The whole group traveled to Denver, CO to attend the National ACS meeting from August 27-September 1, 2011. Chris gave a talk in the Excited State Dynamics Symposium. Igor and Cassie both presented posters.

May 2011

  • Cassie Ward was awarded the Kenneth L. and Gertrude Irene Marsi Scholarship for superior academic performance by an advanced graduate student.
  • Jenna Wasylenko was awarded the Adrienne Hiscox Mitchell Scholarship given to an outstanding female graduate student.
    • Congratulations Cassie and Jenna!