Osvaldo was born in Salamanca, GTO (Mexico) and raised in Sacramento, CA. He attended Sacramento City College and transferred to UCLA in 2006 to pursue a career in medicine. However, working as an undergraduate at the laboratories of Prof. Kendall N. Houk inspired him to change career path to organic chemistry. He graduated in 2009 with B.S. and M.S. degrees in chemistry from UCLA and moved back to northern California to enroll in graduate studies at UC Davis. He completed his Ph.D. in 2012 under the guidance of Prof. Dean J. Tantillo; his thesis was focused on the use of computational electronic structure methods to reveal mechanisms of catalytic processes. He then moved across the country to work with Prof. Marisa C. Kozlowski at the University of Pennsylvania where he used computational and experimental tools to study transition-metal catalyzed processes. In his free time, he likes to listen to 90s rap.     

-No amount of experimentation can ever prove me right; a single experiment can prove me wrong- Albert Einstein  

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Lei was born in Beijing, China, and graduated in 2009 with B.S in Chemistry at China Agricultural University. Driven by his strong interest in Synthetic Organic chemistry, he began with Ph.D. studies in Prof. Bin Fu's where he focused on Asymmetric Catalysis. From Oct. 2013 to Dec. 2014 Lei worked on Oxidative C-C Couplings in Prof. Marisa C. Kozlowski’s group at the University of Pennsylvania as a Visiting Scholar. After Ph.D. work, he started working as a Research Associate in Institute of Materia Medica, Chinese Academy of Medical Sciences & Peking Union Medical College with Prof. Xiandao Pan on the synthesis of antitumor agents. In Mar. 2017, he joined Dr. Gutierrez’s group as a Postdoctoral Associate working on experimental mechanistic studies and rational reaction design of iron-catalyzed cross-coupling reactions. In his free time, Lei enjoys watching soccer games and spending time with his family. 

-Your theory is crazy, but it's not crazy enough to be true - Niels Bohr

Selfie by Cassandra R. Youshaw

Cassy was born and raised in Howard County, Maryland. She graduated from St. Mary’s College of Maryland in 2019 with a B.S. degree in Chemistry and a minor in Mathematics. There she worked in Dr. Chase’s lab, focusing on the synthesis and characterization of the fluorescent dye, Aza-BODIPY. She joined the Gutierrez group in Fall of 2019, working on iron catalyzed cross-coupling reactions. In her free time, Cassy enjoys watching nerdy movies and spending time with her family.


“I was taught that the way of progress was neither swift or easy.” -Marie Curie

Selfie by Robert Martin 

Robert was born and raised in Silver Spring, Maryland. He attends the University of Maryland, College Park where he is earning his (triple) BS in Chemistry, Mathematics, and in Education. He has worked as a TA for Organic Chemistry lab for 2 years and is currently working on the student teaching required to complete his certification for education. He decided to pursue research in Dr. Gutierrez's lab after taking Advanced Organic Chemistry with Dr. Gutierrez, and is currently working on computational research in the group. In his free time, he enjoys playing Pokemon, listening to rap music, and spending time with his family.


"It was all a dream" - Notorious BIG

Selfie by Zhihui Song

Zhihui was born and raised in Shandong, China. She majored in material chemistry and obtained her B.S. at Nankai University in China. During her undergraduate education, she studied in Professor Yu Liu’s lab, working on supramolecular. Besides, she also worked in Professor K. N. Houk’s group as a visiting scholar. During this time, she concentrated on the computational study of the Diels-Alder reaction.  Zhihui joined in Professor Gutierrez’s group in 2017 at the University of Maryland. Her research focuses on the computational study of iron-catalyzed C-H activation processes.


Try not to become a man of success but rather try to become a man of value.

——A. Einstein

Selfie by Mingbin Yuan

Mingbin was born in Guangzhou, China. He obtained his B.Sc degree in 2017 from a joint program of Sun Yat-sen University and the Hong Kong Polytechnic University under the direction of Dr. Yung where he studied new energy related synthesis with rare earth metal complexes. He joined the Gutierrez group in Fall 2017 where he uses computational tools to elucidate the mechanism of iron-catalyzed cross-coupling reactions and radical organic transfromatons. In his free time, Mingbin enjoys running, reading and watching movies.


-There is nothing noble in being superior to your fellow men; true nobility is being superior to your former self. – Hemingway

Selfie by Ryan Dykstra

Ryan was born in Goshen, NY, and was raised in New Jersey. During his undergraduate education at Montclair State University, he joined Dr. Eshuis’s lab where he utilized computational tools to study atmospheric reaction mechanisms and catalytic molecular dynamics. He graduated in 2016 with his B.S. in chemistry. In 2017, he began summer research under Dr. Gutierrez where he used ab initio methods to elucidate Nickel- and Iron- catalyzed reaction mechanisms. In his spare time, Ryan enjoys playing soccer and fishing.


“The present is the only things that has no end.” ― Erwin Schrödinger


Madeline was born in the US and raised in New Jersey. She attended Villanova University where she earned her BS in 2013. She stayed at Villanova to earn her MS degree in 2015 under the direction of Dr. Robert Giuliano where she studied carbohydrate synthesis and graphite nanofiber functionalization. She then spent a year as a Visiting Scholar at the University of Pennsylvania working in Dr. Patrick Walsh’s lab where she studied palladium catalyzed CH functionalization reactions. In 2017, she joined the Gutierrez group where she uses computational and experimental methods to study the structural and electronic properties of diamine-bipyridine iron catalysts. In her free time, she enjoys spending time with her family and her dogs.


“Science, my lad, is made up of mistakes, but they are mistakes which it is useful to make, because they lead little by little to the truth.”Jules Verne, A Journey to the Center of the Earth


Wes was born in the United States and raised in Taiwan. He learned peptide synthesis in Dr. Richard P. Cheng’s group at National Taiwan University during his undergraduate studies. Wes moved back to the US and matriculated in the University of Maryland in 2014.  Wes’ primary project is focused on the development of artificial enzymes. He recently started working on using computational tools to elucidate the mechanism of iron-catalyzed cross coupling reactions. When not in lab, Wes enjoys playing sports, especially volleyball. Wes loves drinking Oolong milk tea from Kung Fu Tea.

- I can do this all day – Captain America

Selfie by Emma Walter (Since Spring 2020)

Emma grew up in Bethesda, MD. She comes from a STEM rich family and has always dreamed of conducting scientific research. She worked for two summers at the National Institute of Nursing Research (NINR) at the National Institutes of Health (NIH) conducting research on gastrointestinal permeability (in relation to irritable bowel syndrome) and validity of sweat patch biomarker testing. She’s very excited to explore chemistry-oriented research in the Gutierrez lab. In her free time, Emma loves to run (she’s currently training for her second marathon) and play trumpet (as a member of the Mighty Sound of Maryland marching band).


“All life is an experiment. The more experiments you make the better.” -Ralph Waldo Emerson

Selfie by Stephanie Vargas (Since Spring 2020)

Born and raised in Maryland, Stephanie is an undergraduate Biology major and Spanish minor. She is interested in pursuing a career in dentistry and began working as a dental assistant while in high school. In addition to dentistry, Stephanie has always been interested in her chemistry coursework as an undergraduate. Her interest in the world of computational organic chemistry research was sparked after taking Dr. Gutierrez’s class in the Fall of 2019. She looks forward to learning more and being apart of the Gutierrez lab. Before transferring to the University of Maryland, Stephanie attended Anne Arundel Community College where she worked as a summer research tech at the AACC Environmental Research Center. In her free time, Stephanie enjoys being outdoors, taking dance classes, and spending time with family. 

“Nothing in life is to be feared; it is only to be understood” - Marie Curie 

Selfie by David Polefrone (Since Fall 2019)

David was born in Charleston, SC, and grew up in Ellicott City, MD. He attended Marriotts Ridge High School, and is currently pursuing a dual degree in chemistry and economics. Though he came to UMD interested a career in health law and policy, he has since discovered a passion for chemical research, especially using computational tools. He is also a member of Team TOXIC ("Understanding Computational Toxicology") in the Gemstone Honors Program, in which he works on finding appropriate chemical representations for interpretable neural networks. Previously, David worked in the group of Dr. Efrain Rodriguez and interned with the Medical Affairs team at Roche Tissue Diagnostics. In his free time, he enjoys listening to electronic music and reading long-form journalism. 


"The world is all that is the case." - Ludwig Wittgenstein

Selfie by Brandon Williams (PGCC-UMD Summer 2019 Program Fellow)

 I moved to Maryland in May of 2018 from Philadelphia, Pa. I am an undergraduate majoring in chemistry and chemical engineering. I am presently a student at Anne Arundel Community and after fall of 2019 intend to finish a B.S at either UMD. I have always been interested in chemistry and medicine. I worked a good part of my childhood in a doctors office and I used to wonder how drug reps always seemed to market a new drug every week. I found the answer in organic chemistry. I started at Gutierrez research group doing computational work summer of 2019. We are using computer software to predict barriers involved in transition states of organic molecules. In my free time, I enjoy fishing, reading, and weight lifting. 


" Early to bed, early to rise, makes a man healthy, wealthy, and wise." -Unknown 

Selfie by Christopher Acha (Since Summer 2017; PPGCC-UMD Summer 2017 Program Fellow; 2019 McNair Summer Scholar )

Raised in Maryland, Chris Acha is an aspiring undergraduate pursuing a career in the field of neurosurgery. From a young age, Chris has had an unquenchable thirst for knowledge. In his spare time, Chris enjoys playing the cello and rehearsing and improving his computer programming skills. He is currently attending Prince George's Community College and is expecting to graduate with his Associate's degree in General Studies in Spring 2018. Previously he interned at the NIH and has worked with Dr. Gutierrez's lab since the Summer of 2017 in computational organic chemistry.

"Chemists do not usually stutter. It would be very awkward if they did, seeing that they have at times to get out such words as methylethylamylophenylium" - Sir William Crookes

Selfie by Michael Davis (Since Summer 2018)

Michael Davis was born and raised in College Park, MD. He attended Gonzaga College High School in Washington, D.C. and is currently pursuing a degree in Chemistry while considering adding a minor in Physics. His love for Chemistry began at an early age and for much of his life he knew he wanted to participate in scientific research. He is excited to have the opportunity to work in the lab and learn more about Computational Chemistry. Before joining Dr. Gutierrez’s group, Michael worked as a summer student in the Quality Insurance branch of the NIH. In his free time, Michael enjoys playing rugby and basketball, taking photos, and watching movies.


“Think left and think right and think low and think high. Oh, the things you can think up if only you try!”   - Dr. Seuss

Selfie by Victor Baumann (Since Summer 2018-Spring 2019)

Victor was born and raised in Maryland. He graduated from the Science & Tech magnet program at Eleanor Roosevelt High School in Greenbelt, during which he completed an independent research project in electrochemistry.  He is now working on a degree in Chemistry at UMD, helping out the Gutierrez Research Group, and all-around enjoying life. He has been interested in science for as long as he can remember, and is excited to start making his contribution to the world of chemistry. In his free time, he enjoys video games, theatre, webcomics, and hiking.


"We can't take any credit for our talents. It's how we use them that counts."   —Madeleine L'Engle

Selfie by Zachary Wilhelm (Since Spring 2020)

Zach was born and raised in Ellicott City, Maryland. His interest in organic chemistry began while taking Dr. Gutierrez’s lecture. He is seeking a career in medicine and when he isn’t conducting research he spends his time tutoring local elementary school students and volunteering at Franklin Square Hospital. Zach enjoys fishing, training mixed martial arts, and reading his Loudon Organic Chemistry textbook. 


“Who Dares Wins”- Sir David Stirling

Former Members: We thank you for being part of the group and best of luck!


Jun was born in Hunan, China. He obtained his B.Sc. degree at Dalian University in July 2009, then moved to Zhejiang University to start his Ph.D study. His research involved metal-catalyzed reactions based on aryl triazene under supervision of Prof. Hongjun Ren and on functional group directing C-H activation as well as the total synthesis of tryprostatin A, notoamide C and D under supervision with Prof. Bing-Feng Shi. In Novemeber 2014, he joined Colorado State University as a Postdoctoral Fellow to study metal-catalyzed diaminations with Prof. Yian Shi. In Jul 2016, he joined the Gutierrez group as a Postdoctoral Associate working in the rational design of iron supramolecular catalysts. In his free time, Jun likes spending time with his family.


-A journey of a thousand miles begins with single step – Laozi


Selfie by Michael "Ben" Geherty (Spring 2019-Fall 2019)

Ben was born and raised in Pennington, New Jersey. He developed an interest in science at a young age, which turned into a passion for chemistry during his time at the University of Maryland. He is seeking a career in pharmaceutical research and development to help others through science. In his free time, Ben enjoys running, swimming, video games, and learning about theoretical physics.

“Life is one big tug-of-war between mediocrity and trying to find your best self.” – David Goggins

Selfie by Onyemachi “Machi” Azubuko (PGCC-UMD Summer 2019 Program Fellow)

 I was born in Nigeria, but I was born and raised in Maryland. I am a junior at the University of Maryland, pursuing a bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering, with a minor in technology entrepreneurship. I worked as an EEG technician for 3 years while studying engineering at Prince George’s Community College, and ultimately received an associate’s degree in spring 2019. I subsequently joined Gutierrez Research Group in summer 2019. I joined the lab to experience research and explore possible secondary applications of fundamental computational chemistry. Goals: My ultimate goal is to complete a residency in neurology. Then I want to work in research and development with a focus on modeling and treating neurological and nervous system disorders. Hobbies: I love playing and watching basketball, working out, reading and collecting math books, literary fiction and film deconstruction, and browsing Reddit.


“You can't ever reach perfection, but you can believe in an asymptote toward which you are ceaselessly striving.”― Paul Kalanithi

Selfie by Linus Nemiroff (Spring 2018-Summer 2019)

Linus was born in Bangor, Maine, and raised in both Cave Junction, Oregon, and Montoursville, Pennsylvania. He is currently pursuing a degree in Physics but is considering switching to a double degree in Biochemistry and the Biological Sciences. Outside of Dr. Gutierrez’s group, Linus does policy work for state senator William Smith Jr., works at Washington Adventist Hospital, and recently made contributions towards the design and construction of a magnetic levitation track for the 2018 Science and Engineering Festival in Washington D.C. In his free time, he enjoys cheering on the Dodgers and Celtics as well as listening to Mos Def.


“Good news, everyone!” -Hubert J. Farnsworth

Selfie by Donovaun Bialose (Since Summer 2018-McNair Summer Scholar)

Donovaun is a Nigerian who was born in the US but raised in several countries abroad. Most of his aspirations lay in international medicine and working to improve healthcare for vulnerable communities in Sub Saharan Africa. As an aspiring physician, Donovaun seeks to cultivate a deeper understanding of chemical processes and how to integrate them in his future global aspirations. Currently, he is a fourth year student at the University of Maryland studying neurophysiology. In the Gutierrez group, he participates in investigating the mechanisms of iron-catalyzed C-C bond formation which is integral in drug synthesis, a passion that coincides closely with his future interests.When away from the lab, Donovaun enjoys voice acting, translation, boxing and reading.
“I like a man who grins when he fights.”  ― Winston Churchill

Selfie by Ashley Onwu (Summer 2018 PGCC-UMD research program Fellow)

Ashley is a Nigerian who was raised in Maryland. As an aspiring Dentist, Ashley strives to be a positive individual that encourages people to smile and always look forward. While completing her fourth semester of chemistry, Ashley found that she had an strong interest in chemistry. Chemistry allowed her to challenge her mind, think thoroughly, and be creative! The lessons that she has be taught in the classroom will be applied into the computational research of Dr. Gutierrez's. When away from the lab, Ashley enjoys making wigs, doing makeup, and watching youtube videos.


“The most courageous act is still to think for yourself. Aloud.”  ― Coco Chanel

Selfie by Surjo Bandyopadhyay (Since Fall 2016-Summer 2019)

Surjo was born in Lusby, MD, and started school at UMD in Fall of 2015, and will graduate in 2019.  He has aspired to be a neurosurgeon from a very young age, and realized his enjoyment of organic chemistry, specifically mechanisms and synthesis, after taking the related undergraduate courses.  Surjo began working in the Gutierrez Lab in Fall of 2016, first in computation, and then in synthesis.  During his free time, Surjo enjoys folding origami, yo-yoing, building metal models, and playing videogames.


"If I have seen further, it is by standing on the shoulders of giants" - Isaac Newton

Selfie by Simone Williams (Since Spring 2017 and McNair Summer Scholar 2018)

Simone was born in Philadelphia, PA, raised in New Castle, DE and is of Indo-Jamaican descent. She is currently an undergraduate studying Biological Sciences, specializing in Physiology and Neurobiology with a minor in Spanish Language, Business, and Cultures. She joined Dr. Gutierriez’s lab to gain exposure to research and satisfy her interests in organic chemistry. Besides working in the lab, Simone works at St. Agnes Hospital in Baltimore, MD as a Medical Scribe. She aspires to be an anesthesiologist and when not studying, she enjoys watching Netflix, hanging out with her friends and family and volunteering

Selfie by Alyssa Manio (Summer 2018 PGCC-UMD research program Fellow)

Alyssa was born and raised in the Philippines until she was 5 years old when her parents decided to move to America for the many opportunities it offers. She’s earned her High School Diploma in 2016, graduating as the Salutatorian of her class year. Two years later, Alyssa has also completed her Associates degree with honors with Prince George’s Community College. She is currently pursing a degree in Biology or Biochemistry as she transfers into a 4-year University this Fall 2018. To expand her knowledge in Chemistry, Alyssa has been fortunate enough to be able to intern in Dr. Gutierrez’s lab this summer. In her free time, Alyssa enjoys spending time with family and friends. She also loves to travel and watch Netflix and youtube. 


“It always seems impossible until it’s done.” - Nelson Mandela

Selfie by Ashley Henriquez (Summer 2017 PGCC-UMD research program Fellow)

Ashley's parents migrated to U.S.A during the Salvadorian Civil War. She is a Washington D.C. native and has resided in Prince George's County, MD since her preteen years. She is currently enrolled in Prince George's Community College and is expected to graduate with her Associates in Science Engineering by Summer 2018. She is looking to transfer to UMD for undergraduate studies in computer engineering. She is working in Dr. Guitierrez's lab as an intern for computational chemistry. She wants to learn more about chemistry while understanding the computational applications behind it. She enjoys going to bookstores with her daughter, leisure reading, and watching anime.

...human beings are not born once and for all on the day their mothers give birth to them, but that life obliges them over and over again to give birth to themselves….
- Gabriel Garcia Márquez

Selfie by Monica Cardenas (Summer 2016)

Monica was born and raised in Maryland and is of Colombian decent. She is currently an undergraduate studying Materials Science and Engineering with a minor Nuclear Engineering, and is set to graduate in May 2017. Previously, she worked at the Laboratory for Radiation and Polymer Science at UMD assisting with the fabrication of polymer electrolyte membranes for fuel cell applications and joined Dr. Gutierrez's group in order to expand her knowledge and research experience. In her free time, Monica enjoys watching Netflix, reading, and staying active. She enjoys many forms of exercise but distance running is by far her greatest passion. Monica has been a runner for almost 8 years and is currently preparing to run her third full marathon.


-The obsession with running is really an obsession with the potential for more and more life-George Sheehan 

Selfie by Yuliang "Aaron" Wu  (Fall 2017)

Yuliang was born in Beijing, China. He studied biotechnology in Trinity Western University in Canada for two years and transfered to University of Maryland in 2017. He loves chemistry because his father inspired him during his childhood. He believes that science is the answer to most things and enjoys revealing the hidden truth. Computational chemistry always makes him happy because it both creates and predicts new possibilities. In his free time, he plays guitar,doing sports, especially badminton, and cooking. 


"When you have eliminated the impossible, whatever remains, however improbable, must be the truth." -Sherlock Holmes

High School Students

Selfie by Pratik Lahiri (Summer 2016; Montgomery High School)

Pratik Lahiri was born in the US and grew up in Rockville, Maryland. He goes to Richard Montgomery High School and will graduate in 2017. He has had an interest in science since he was in middle school and will continue to study it in whichever college he chooses to attend. To get experience and understand what kind of work is done in chemistry, Pratik joined Professor Gutierrez’s lab after he was offered an intern position in 2016.

-I had spaghetti and it was very nice i enjoyed it- Victor Wanyama

Selfie by Deeya Garg (Summer 2017; Montgomery Blair High School)

Deeya Garg was born in New Jersey, MD and had resided in Potomac, MD for the past 12 years. She attends to Montogmery Blair High School Magnet Program and will graduate in 2017. She has aspired to enter the medical field from a young age and has enjoyed chemistry in particular. To pursue her interest in the field of chemistry, before she chooses her college, she has been accepted to intern with Professor Gutierrez'a lab for the summer of 2017. Deeya has a large passion for working out and sports in general for she is also a varsity pole vaulter, runner, dancer, and varsity tennis player.