Meet the Team

Principle Investigator

Dr. Jerry LaRue

Dr. LaRueB.A. in Chemistry at Willamette University

Ph.D. in Physical Chemistry at the University of California at Santa Barbara

Postdoctoral Studies at Stanford University / SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory

Curriculum Vitae

Chapman Faculty Profile

Google Scholar Profile

Digital Commons Profile

LinkedIn Profile

Postdoctoral Scholars

Bingjie Zhang

Ph.D. in Chemistry at Stony Brook University

About: Bingjie focuses on design, synthesis, characterization and application of transitional metal-based materials and carbon materials, including metals, transitional metal oxides, nitrides and graphite. She study the materials as catalysts, as well as electrodes in energy storage devices.

Chapman Students

Kevin Alvarado

Major: Chemistry

Devon Ball

Major: Physics

Minor: Chemistry, Math

About: I am a physics maor whose interest in chemistry led me to join the lab to investigate the reaction mechanism of carbon monoxide oxidation.

Abby Bechtel

Major: Physics

Conner Carnahan

Major: Philosophy, Physics, Math, Business Econ

About: One time I got to shoot a laser while working here. 😎 Also I do math, physics, and music or something.

Barbara Carpenter

Major: Chemistry

Chelsey Cortez


Riley Kendall

Major: Biochemistry and Molecular Biology

Minor: Computational Sciences

About: I am a senior Biochemistry major, Computational Neuroscience minor at Chapman University. I am investigating the reaction of Calmodulin and the HIV-1 MA protein peptide using fluorescence anisotropy. Specifically, I am analyzing the binding mechanisms of the individual protein domains.

Zubair Lakhia

Major: Biology

Minor: Data Analytics

About: I am a Biology major with an emphasis in molecular biology and a minor in data analytics at Chapman University. I am studying the interactions of CalModulin with the HIV matrix protein with the use of fluorescence anisotropy. I hope to eventually obtain an MBS and pursue a career in data science and biotechnology. Outside of school, I love to play sports, eat food and travel around the world.

Amy Lam

Major: Physics

Minor: Chemistry

Favorites: Doughnuts, Cool Ranch Doritos, Mushroom and lentil soup with a splash of dishwater

Research: My current project deals with selective chemistry via transition metals on gold nanoparticles. Gold nanoparticles exhibit strong plasmon resonances, oscillations in the electron bath. These oscillations generate high energy electrons that can be used to do excited state chemistry. Aside from working with the gold nanoparticles, I also help maintain the optics in the lab for Raman Spectroscopy and occasionally do some CAD stuff, such as designing sample holders and chamber supports.

Davis Mau

Major: Biochemistry

Bryn Merrill

Major: Chemistry

Minor: History

About: Castle and science enthusiast! Loves animals, reading, and nice people. Ready to take an electric field sledgehammer to some unsuspecting molecules.

Elif Narbay

Major: Biochemistry

Minor: Honors, Music Technology

About: Elif Narbay is an undergraduate student majoring in Biochemistry and Molecular biology and double minoring in the Honors program and Music Technology. Originally from Turkey, Elif was born and raised in Abu Dhabi, UAE. Living abroad for her whole life, Elif has grown up with over 200 different cultures and obtained fluency in 4 languages (Arabic, Turkish, Spanish and English). She hopes to pursue her passion for the sciences and research by completing a Master’s and Ph.D. in the future. Outside of academia, Elif enjoys playing basketball, experimenting with vegan flavors, singing and producing music, and also runs for Chapman’s Track and Field team.

Gabriella Nutt

Major: Physics

Kacie Sakamaki

Major: Biology

Ishaan Shah

Major: Chemistry

About: A Freshman chemistry major researching how photoexcitation can enhance the property of chemical selectivity of metal nanoparticles.

Tiffany Vallejo Olivera

Major: Chemistry

Jason Yoon

Major: Biology

About: I am a freshman biology major helping to create a vacuum chamber to test and study metal catalysts and what exactly happens during certain reactions. It’s pretty neat!

Gary Zeri

Major: Computer Science

About: Computer Science student interested in computational simulations. Current CatLab project involves designing and implementing pedagogical Computational Chemistry programs to illustrate how to perform such calculations as well as to demonstrate the underlying chemical principles of said simulations.

Non-Chapman Students

Meiry Chavez

Major: Physical Sciences

Angel Garcia

School: Santa Ana College

Major: Civil Engineering

High School Students

Joaquin Arroyo


Jonas Weissberg