Current Members

Postgraduate Scholars

Dr. Venkatesh Piradi

Post-Doctoral Fellow, University of Texas at Austin (2023-Present)
Former Post-Doctoral Scholar, The Hong Kong Polytechnic University, Hong Kong (2020-2022)
Ph.D. Chemistry, Hong Kong Baptist University, Hong Kong (2016-2019)
M.Sc. Organic Chemistry, Andhra University, India (2011)
B.Sc. Mathematics, Physics and Chemistry, Andhra University, India (2009)

Graduate Students

Ben Siu

Materials Science and Engineering, University of Texas at Austin (2018-present)

Ben is from Biloxi, Mississippi and did his undergraduate degree in Chemical Eng. at the University of South Alabama. He studied under Drs. Kevin West and James David for the synthesis and characterization of thermally stable ionic liquids for their thermodynamic properties. In 2018, Ben graduated and moved to Austin for his PhD, joining the Humphrey lab in Fall 2019. In the Humphrey lab, Ben is researching pyrazole-based organoarsine ligands and their resulting metal-organic frameworks. His hobbies include Wing Chun, reading philosophy, and baking.

Samuel Emslie

Chemistry, University of Texas at Austin (2020-present)

Sam grew up in London, England and went on to receive a first class Masters degree in Chemistry from the University of Sheffield in 2020. As part of his degree he studied for a year at UT Austin in 2018-19 and worked in the Humphrey lab on functionalizing phosphorous coordination materials with low valent platinum group metals. Following on from his Masters, Sam rejoined the Humphrey lab to pursue his doctorate degree and is currently working on the synthesis and functionalization of a class of antimony coordination materials. Outside of lab Sam likes to have his privacy respected.

Carolina Vigil Hernandez

Chemistry, University of Texas at Austin (2020-present)

Carolina is from Spain, and attended University College London for her undergraduate studies (M.Sc. Chemistry, 2020). She joined the Humphrey group in the Fall of 2020, and has since been working on synthesizing trimetallic nanoparticles and metal oxide supports for catalytic applications. She is very passionate about lab safety, enjoys dancing, and playing golf.

Carolyn Brady

Chemistry, University of Texas at Austin (2020-present)
NSF-NRT INFEWS Fellow, University of Texas at Austin (2021-present)

Carolyn joined the Humphrey lab in the fall of 2020 and does research on the nano side. She is also co-advised by Dr. Charlie Werth in Civil Engineering. In her undergraduate at UC Santa Cruz, she worked in a biogeochemistry lab, and two inorganic chemistry labs. In lab, she is interested in environmental remediation through gas-phase and liquid phase catalysis. Outside of lab she is interested in dungeons and dragons, yoga, and mushroom foraging.

Nicolas D’Annunzio

Chemistry, University of Texas at Austin (2021-present)

Nicolas D’Annunzio became a member of the Humphrey group in 2021 and joined the nano sub group. As a member of the Humphrey group, Nick is exploring the synthesis, characterization, and catalytic applications of multimetallic nanoparticles as well as researching unique structures in hopes of enhancing catalytic activity of his particles. Before enrolling at UT, Nick obtained his B.S in Chemistry at the University of Pittsburgh (2019) and worked as a Post Bachelor’s Research Associate at the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (2019-2021). Outside of the lab Nick enjoys watching films, staying active, and exploring the many restaurants Austin has to offer.

Joseph Willoughby

Chemistry, University of Texas at Austin (2021-present)

Joseph is a proud Marylander who previously worked with apples and peaches in a fruit research lab at the University of Maryland in College Park while studying both chemistry and criminal justice/criminology. He joined the Humphrey Group in the Fall of 2021 where he has been working on MOFs ever since, specifically asymmetric phosphine MOFs. Being the epitome of a geek and proud, Joseph loves history, board games, video games, books, Dungeons and Dragons, and is an avid sports enthusiast, all to the detriment of anyone willfully (or not) listening to him. His goal in life is to find the perfect chocolate milk.

Irfan Arif

Chemical Engineering, University of Texas at Austin (2022-present)

Irfan is from Kanpur in India. He has done his bachelors and masters in Chemical Engineering from IIT BHU Varanasi (2017) and IIT Bombay (2019), respectively. After his studies, he worked for Indian Oil R&D for 3 years before joining UT Austin as a graduate student. He joined the Humphrey Group in the fall of 2022 and is working on the synthesis of nanoparticles and mesoporous supports for methane activation reaction. Outside of the lab, he likes to explore the city of Austin, cook food and follow various sports.

Chentao Fang

Chemistry, University of Texas at Austin (2023-present)

Chentao is originally from Quzhou, Zhejiang and he received his B.S. in Material Chemistry from University of Science and Technology of China (USTC) in 2021. From 2021-2023, he served as a research assistant in USTC focusing using MOFs to catalyze CO2 conversion. Now, Chentao hopes to synthesize new ligands and MOFs with fancy structures and applications to help with the real world. Outside of research, he enjoys fishing so much.

Austin Engstrom

Chemistry, University of Texas at Austin (2023-present)

Austin grew up in Seattle and attended the University of Washington, Seattle, where he graduated with a BS in Chemistry in Spring 2023. While there, he was an undergraduate researcher in the Cossairt lab, where he researched InP magic-size clusters. Once at UT, he joined the Humphrey lab in Fall 2023, where he synthesizes metal alloy nanoparticles for catalysis. In his free time, he enjoys cooking, impulsively creating spreadsheets about random things, and writing a novel.

Undergraduate Students

Mauricio Agurcia

Expected, 2024

Mauricio Agurcia is a chemistry major from Houston, Texas. He joined the Humphrey Group in the summer of 2021 and has previously worked on synthesizing and studying phosphine coordination materials containing platinum and palladium complexes with Stephanie White. In the summer of 2022 he completed and REU and UC San Diego. He now works with Benjamin Patterson studying the intersection of MOF chemistry and DFT.

Courtney Rabara

Expected, 2024

Courtney Rabara is a chemistry major from Corpus Christi, Texas. She joined the Humphrey Group in the fall of 2021 and is currently working on synthesizing and studying nanoparticles with Carolyn Brady. After finishing her chemistry undergraduate degree at UT, she plans to attend graduate school to pursue a PhD in chemistry.

Will Kristo

Will Kristo is a chemistry major from Palatine, Illinois. He joined the Humphrey Group in the summer of 2022 and is currently working on synthesizing and studying nanoparticles with Nick D’Anunnzio. After finishing his chemistry undergraduate degree at UT, he plans to work in materials chemistry.

Ananya Gupta

Expected, 2024

Ananya is a materials chemistry major from Dallas, Texas who joined the Humphrey Group in the summer of 2023. Currently, she is working to synthesise and characterize a novel MOF designed by Ben, her mentor. After graduation, she plans to pursue a career as a physician.

Visiting Students

Finn Luedtke

Finn joined the Humphrey Group in November 2023. He graduated from the Technical University of Munich (TUM) with a degree in chemical engineering and is currently pursuing his subsequent master’s degree. His previous research interests were in the synthesis of heterogeneous catalysts and reaction kinetics. In the Humphrey Group, he works on the development of new Metal-Organic Frameworks for catalysis.