current members

Postdoctoral Researchers

Pradipta Das

Pradipta obtained her PhD in Chemistry from University of Arizona in 2018 under the supervision of Prof. Jon T. Njardarson. Her research was focused on the development of novel anionic cascades to synthesize various nitrogen containing heterocycles. She completed her B.Sc (Hons.) in Chemistry from Presidency College, University of Calcutta and M.Sc in Chemistry from Indian Institute of Technology, Guwahati. Outside lab, she enjoys reading science fiction and political books, hiking and sleeping for long hours.


Bassil El-Zaatari

Bassil received his PhD in chemical engineering at the University of Delaware in 2018 under the supervision of Prof. Christopher Kloxin. His research focused on the development of novel materials using copper(I) catalyzed azide-alkyne (CuAAC) photopolymerizations for applications in dental materials and ion conductive membranes. He completed his B.S. in chemical engineering and B.A. in chemistry from North Carolina State University. Outside of lab, Bassil enjoys running, learning languages, and exploring new places.




Jacob Ishibashi

Jacob obtained his PhD in Chemistry from Boston College in 2017, having moved from the University of Oregon with his adviser, Prof. Shih-Yuan Liu. His research focused on the synthesis and optoelectronic characterization of boron- nitrogen-containing acene analogues. He completed his undergraduate studies in Chemistry and Economics also at Boston College. Jacob currently studies photopolymerization and vitrimers as a member of the Kalow lab. He grew up in Honolulu, where he enjoyed outdoor pursuits such as hiking and outrigger canoe paddling. These days, he might be found playing Ultimate disc in his spare time.


Graduate Students

Fifth years

David Barsoum

David graduated in 2014 with his BS in Biochemistry from Florida State University. At FSU he worked under Dr. Lei Zhu where his work focused on methodology development and mechanistic investigation of the Cu-catalyzed synthesis of 5-iodo-1,2,3-triazoles, as well as the development of fluorescent zinc sensors. Outside of lab David lives by his life motto: keep it real.




Xiaodi Wang

Xiaodi obtained her BA in Chemistry from Carleton College in 2015. During her time at Carleton, she studied the mechanism of enantioselective organocatalysis with Prof. Alberg and Prof. Hofmeister. Currently, Xiaodi is working on photoactivatable hydrogels. When not in lab, she enjoys going to concerts, plays and museums. 


Fourth years


Joe Accardo

Joe graduated from Florida State University (FSU) in 2016 where he obtained his BS in Biochemistry. While at FSU, he conducted research with Dr. Lei Zhu, investigating the photophysical properties of tunable fluorophores. His research interests involve using light to control the properties of organic molecules and materials. Joe enjoys climbing, hammocking, and having passionate conversations about life and science with close friends.


EliotEliot Woods

Eliot graduated from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in 2016 with a Bachelor of Science in Chemistry. His undergraduate research with Dr. Peter Dinolfo focused on investigating proton coupled electron transfer in phenol dimers through Marcus analysis of their mixed-valence properties. Eliot started research in the Kalow lab July 2016. His current research focuses on living photopolymerization of π-conjugated polymers. When not in lab, he enjoys knitting, cooking, and discussing post-structuralist political theory.


Third years

Christopher Eckdahl

Chris graduated from Oberlin College in 2017 with a BA in Chemistry and Materials Physics.  At Oberlin, he worked with Dr. Manish Mehta to model the packing behaviors of hard tetrahedra.  He is interested in using light to control the synthesis and properties of organic materials. Chris enjoys reading science fiction, cooking in cast iron, and playing his trumpet.



Boyeong Kang

Boyeong graduated from Gwangju Institute of Science and Technology in 2016 with an MS in chemistry. At GIST, she conducted research with Prof. Jiwon Seo, investigating the development of an artificial light-harvesting system using peptoids and porphyrins. When not in the lab, she enjoys hanging out with her friends, playing squash, and baking.



Second Years

Alexandra Berl

Alexandra graduated from UC Berkeley in 2018 with a BS in Chemistry and a BA in Slavic Languages and Literatures. At Berkeley, she conducted research under Dr. Felix R. Fischer on the bottom-up synthesis and functionalization of graphitic nanomaterials. Her current research focuses on the synthesis and properties of π-conjugated block copolymers. Outside lab, she spends her time swimming, vying for the affection of cats, and indulging her affinity for puns.


Emily McClure

Emily graduated with her BA in Chemistry from Grinnell College in 2018. During her time at Grinnell, she worked with Prof. Steve Sieck optimizing the microwave synthesis of novel chalcone compounds. Currently, she is interested in utilizing light in the development of hydrogels and porous polymers. When not in the lab, she enjoys hiking, reading, and attending comedy shows.


First Years

Ian Pierce

Ian graduated from Pennsylvania State University in 2019 with a BS in Chemistry. While at PSU, he conducted research in the lab of Dr. Harry Allcock that explored new synthetic pathways involving fluorinated phosphazene compounds. He is currently interested in studying dynamically cross-linked systems for sustainable materials. Outside of lab, Ian enjoys hiking, cooking, reading, and watching movies.



Vivian Zhang

Vivian is an MSTP student in the Kalow lab.  She completed her B.S. in biomedical engineering at Columbia University where she did research with Colin Nuckolls studying structure-function properties of group 14 molecular wires.  When she’s not in lab, she enjoys cooking, doing yoga, and getting to know the Chicago arts scene.


Undergraduate Students

Carrie Ou

Carrie is currently an undergraduate at Northwestern pursuing a Bachelor’s in Chemistry and a minor in Asian American Studies. She’s interested in learning about the use of light in controlling reactivity and synthesis of organic compounds and polymers. Outside of lab, she enjoys drawing, playing ultimate frisbee, watching stand-up comedy, and cooking.


Group mascot



Donatello is a tortoise. He likes kale, escarole, and especially carrots. In his free time (ie all the time) he enjoys digging, sitting on top of his log, falling off of his log, and sleeping.



The Kalow lab is currently recruiting students and postdocs interested in working in the interdisciplinary, dynamic environment of a new lab. Want to join? More info here!






former members