Group Members

Omar Farha, PhD

Associate Professor

International Institute for Nanotechnology
Department of Chemistry, Northwestern University
2145 Sheridan Road, Evanston, IL 60208
Email: o-farha@northwestern.edu | omarkfarha@gmail.com
Cell: 310-968-0731    Office: 847-467-4934

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Timur Islamoglu, PhD

Research Associate

Timur Islamoglu is a research associate in the Farha group at Northwestern University where he was a post-doctoral researcher previously (2016–2017). He works on the design and synthesis of MOFs as heterogeneous catalysts. He also puts efforts toward understanding the underlying MOF growth process. He received his B.S. in Chemistry (2008) and Mathematics (2009, double major) from Dumlupinar University and his M.Sc. (2013) and Ph.D. (2016) in Chemistry from Virginia Commonwealth University.

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Neil Schweitzer, PhD

Research Assistant Professor, REACT Operations Director

Neil is a Research Assistant Professor in Chemical and Biological Engineering. He obtained his B.S. in chemical engineering from the University of Toledo in 2004, then went on to receive his Ph.D. in chemical engineering from the University of Michigan in 2010. He was co-advised by Levi Thompson and Suljo Linic. Next, Neil spent two years as a post-doc at Argonne National Lab working with Jeff Miller and Chris Marshall. He started as the REACT (formerly CleanCat) lab manager in January of 2013.

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Xuan Zhang, PhD

Research Associate

Xuan is a Research Associate in the Farha Group. He received his B.S. degree from Nankai University, then went on to obtain his Ph.D. from Texas A&M University under the supervision of Prof. Kim R. Dunbar. He joined Prof. Omar K. Farha and Prof. Joseph T. Hupp’s groups at Northwestern University as a Postdoctoral Fellow in 2016. His research interest is related to the synthesis and functionalization of porous materials for targeted catalytic applications.

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Nick Huryk, MA

Program Assistant

Nick joined the Farha Group in September 2018, taking on the responsibilities of the Program Assistant role. Born in Seoul and raised in Michigan, he received his B.A. in Political Science (2013) from the University of Notre Dame and his M.A. in International Development Studies (2017) from Hankuk University of Foreign Studies.
Email  |  Phone: 847-467-7468

Postdoctoral Researchers

Unjila Afrin, PhD

Visiting Postdoctoral Researcher

Unjila Afrin was born in Dhaka, Bangladesh. She received her BS and MSc in Chemistry from University of Dhaka. She earned her second MSc and PhD in Chemistry from Tohoku University, Japan under the supervision of Prof. Masahiro Yamashita where she held Japanese Government (MEXT) Fellowship. She joined Prof. Omar K. Farha’s group at Northwestern University as a visiting scholar in December, 2019. Currently her research interest is on the design and synthesis of MOFs as heterogeneous catalysts.

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Zhijie Chen, PhD

Postdoctoral Researcher

Zhijie Chen was born and raised in Fuzhou, China. He received his B.S. (2012) degree from Shanghai Jiao Tong University (SJTU) in China under the supervision of Prof. Yong Cui, and Ph.D. (2018) from King Abdullah University of Science and Technology (KAUST) under the supervision of Prof. Mohamed Eddaoudi. He joined Prof. Omar Farha’s group at Northwestern University as a postdoctoral researcher in 2018. His current research interest is related to the reticular synthesis of functional porous materials, as well as their structure-property relationships.

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Dahee Jung, PhD

Postdoctoral Researcher

Dahee was born and raised in Seoul, South Korea. She received her B.S. and M.S. in Chemistry from Sookmyung Women’s University. Dahee obtained her Ph.D. from University of California, Los Angeles in 2019 under the supervision of Prof. Alexander M. Spokoyny. She joined Prof. Omar Farha’s group at Northwestern University as a postdoctoral researcher in 2019. Her research is focused on the design of reactive processable porous polymers (RPPP) for degradation of chemical warfare agents.

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Jian Liu, PhD

Postdoctoral Researcher

Jian Liu, from Beijing China, received his Ph.D. degree in Material Chemistry from Binghamton University – State University of New York under the supervision of Professor Wayne E. Jones, Jr. in Dec. 2015. Currently, he is working as a joint postdoctoral fellow with both Professor Hupp and Professor Farha in the Department of Chemistry at Northwestern University. His research interest expands from photocatalysis using TiO2 fibrous materials to design and application of MOF-supported materials for electrocatalysis and heterogeneous catalysis reactions.

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Kent Kirlikovali, PhD

International Institute for Nanotechnology Postdoctoral Fellow

Kent was born and raised in Southern California. He received a B.S. in Chemistry from USC in 2014, where he worked in the lab of Prof. Mark Thompson. Kent obtained his Ph.D. from UCLA in 2019 under the supervision of Prof. Alex Spokoyny. He joined Prof. Omar Farha’s group in 2019 as an IIN Postdoctoral Fellow, and his research is focused on developing MOF-based luminescent sensors for the detection of chemical warfare agents.

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Seung-Joon Lee, PhD

Postdoctoral Researcher

Seung-Joon Lee was born in Seoul, Korea. He received his B.S. (2013) in Chemical Engineering from Yonsei University in Korea, and Ph.D. (2018) in Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering from same university under the supervision of Prof. Youn-Sang Bae. He joined Prof. Omar K. Farha’s group at Northwestern University as a visiting researcher in 2019. His research interest is related to the use of MOFs for gas storage and separation.

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Md. Rasel Mian, PhD

Postdoctoral Researcher

Rasel received his B.S. in Chemistry from the University of Dhaka and his M.S. (2015) and Ph.D. (2018) in Chemistry from Tohoku University under the supervision of Prof. Masahiro Yamashita. He joined Professor Omar K. Farha’s group at Northwestern University as a visiting postdoctoral researcher in 2018. His main areas of research interest are the design and synthesis of multifunctional materials, as well as the electronic state of low dimensional materials.

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Xingjie Wang, PhD

Postdoctoral Researcher

Xingjie was born in Hainan, China. He received his B.S. (2015) and Ph.D. (2019) degree from South China University of Technology (SCUT) under the supervision of Prof. Zhong Li. He joined Prof. Omar Farha’s group at Northwestern University as a postdoctoral researcher in 2020. His current research interest is related to synthesis of isostructural porous materials for heterogeneous catalytic applications, as well as relationships exploration between the structure and properties.

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Kaikai Ma, PhD

Postdoctoral Researcher

Kaikai was born and raised in Shandong, China. After his Ph.D. study at Hong Kong Polytechnic University, he joined Prof. Omar Farha’s group in 2020 as a postdoctoral researcher in the Department of Chemistry at Northwestern University. His research is focused on design and synthesis of MOF-based functional fibrous materials for human and environment protection application.

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Graduate Students

Ran Cao

Visiting Graduate Student

Ran Cao was born in Henan, China. She received her B.S. (2015) degree from Zhengzhou University. She currently a Ph.D. candidate at University of Chinese Academy of Sciences under the supervision of Prof. Qijun Sun. She joined Prof. Omar K. Farha’s group at Northwestern University as a one year visiting scholar in November 2019. Her research interests focus on the synthesis and application of MOF materials.

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Yongwei Chen

Visiting Graduate Student

Yongwei Chen was born in Shandong, China. He received his B.S. (2013) degree from Qufu Normal University. He currently is a Ph.D. candidate at South China University of Technology under the supervision of Prof. Qibin Xia and Prof. Zhong Li in chemical engineering. He joined Prof. Omar K. Farha’s group at Northwestern University as a two-year visiting scholar in September 2018. His research interest focuses on MOF materials for gas storage, separations and catalysis.

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Yijun Liao

Graduate Student

Yijun Liao was born in Sichuan, China. She received her B.S. from Hope College (2014) under the supervision of Prof. Graham Peaslee. She joined Prof. Joseph T. Hupp and Prof. Omar K. Farha’s groups at Northwestern University in 2015. Her research interest is related to porous materials for gas storage, separations, and catalysis.

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Xinyao Liu

Visiting Graduate Student

Xinyao Liu was born in Beijing, China. He received his B.S. (2015) degree from Jilin University. He currently is a Ph.D. candidate at State Key Laboratory of Inorganic Synthesis & Preparative Chemistry Jilin University under the supervision of Prof. Yunling Liu. He joined Prof. Omar K. Farha’s group at Northwestern University as a visiting scholar in November 2019. His current research interests include synthesis and application of metal-organic frameworks.

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Lee Robison

Graduate Student

Lee grew up in Montana and earned their B.S. in chemistry from Fort Lewis College in Durango, CO (2015). They joined Professor Farha’s Group at Northwestern University as a graduate student focused on enzyme immobilization, synthesizing novel biocompatible MOFs and in-situ formation of metal organic frameworks.

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Yijing Chen

Graduate Student

Yijing Chen was born in Beijing, China. She received her B.S. (2016) from Tianjin University in China. She joined Prof. Joseph T. Hupp and Prof. Omar K. Farha’s groups at Northwestern University in 2016. Her research interest is using metal-organic framework for enzyme encapsulation and drug delivery.

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Riki Drout

Graduate Student

Riki earned a B.S. in Chemistry from Case Western Reserve University in 2016. While at CWRU, she studied the polymerization of silyl ketenes under Prof. Emily Pentzer and also completed two summer internships with Procter & Gamble. Riki joined the Farha group in November 2016 and currently uses porous crystalline materials for water remediation. She is also dedicated to improving undergraduate chemistry education.

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Timothy Goetjen

Graduate Student

Timothy (Tim) Goetjen grew up in New Jersey and did his undergraduate studies at Rutgers University – New Brunswick, where he double majored in Chemistry (B.A.) and Computer Science (B.A.) graduating in 2017. He conducted undergraduate research on catalysts for electrochemical carbon dioxide reduction under the supervision of Prof. G. Charles Dismukes. He joined Prof. Omar K. Farha and Prof. Joseph T. Hupp’s groups at Northwestern University as a jointly advised graduate student in Fall 2017. His research interests include energy conversion and storage as well as investigating structure-property relationships in MOF and MOF-supported heterogeneous catalysts.

Selected Publication: Metal–Organic Framework Supported Single Site Chromium(III) Catalyst for Ethylene Oligomerization at Low Pressure and Temperature

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Xinyi Gong

Graduate Student

Xinyi Gong was born in Shandong, China. She received her B.S. degree (2017) from Peking University in China under the supervision of Prof. Yuguo Ma. She became a joint student with Prof. Omar Farha and Prof. Nathan Gianneschi in Northwestern University in 2017. Her research interest is related to synthesis of metal organic frameworks and TEM characterization.

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Sylvia Hanna

Graduate Student

Sylvia Hanna grew up in South Jersey and received her B.S. in Chemistry with a concentration in Interdisciplinary Materials Science from Rowan University. She conducted undergraduate research in Prof. Timothy D. Vaden’s laboratory studying the thermodynamics and kinetics of proteins unfolding in ionic liquids. Sylvia joined Prof. Omar Farha’s laboratory at Northwestern University as a graduate student in Fall 2017. Her research focuses on designing novel uranium-based MOFs and understanding the fundamental chemical and structural properties which make them different from traditional transition metal/lanthanide based MOFs. 

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Kenton Hicks

Graduate Student

Kenton Hicks was born in Chicago, Illinois. He received his B.A. (2017) in Biochemistry and French from Wabash College in Crawfordsville, Indiana. He then came to Northwestern to pursue his chemistry PhD, where he joined Professor Omar Farha’s group and Professor Justin Notestein’s group (2017). His research interest is related to MOFs and Catalysis.

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Rodrigo Maldonado

Graduate Student

Rodrigo Maldonado was born in New Haven, Connecticut and grew up in Brownsville, Texas. He received his B.S. in Chemistry (2017) from Rice University where he studied the detection of amyloid-β using ruthenium (II) complexes under Dr. Ángel Martí. He joined Dr. Joseph T. Hupp’s and Dr. Omar K. Farha’s groups in 2017 and will be studying chemical separation using MOFs.

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Megan Wasson

Graduate Student

Megan Wasson was born in Pittsburgh, PA. She received her B.S. degree in 2017 from Duquesne University and performed research under Prof. Tomislav Pintauer. She joined Prof. Omar K. Farha’s Group at Northwestern University as a graduate student in Fall 2017. Her research interests are related to the design and synthesis of metal organic frameworks. 

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Yufang Wu

Visiting Graduate Student

Yufang Wu was born in Guangzhou, China. She received her B.S. degree from South China University of Technology in 2015. She currently is a Ph.D. candidate at South China University of Technology under the supervision of Prof. Zhong Li in Chemical Engineering. She joined Prof. Omar K. Farha’s group at Northwestern University as a two-year visiting scholar in January 2020. Her research interest focuses on the design and synthesis of MOFs for gas separation and catalysis.

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Karam Idrees

Graduate Student

Karam Idrees grew up in Lancaster, Pennsylvania and received his B.S. in chemistry and minor in mathematics from Millersville University (2018). At MU, he worked under the supervision of Dr. Edward Rajaseelan to study the transfer hydrogenation of saturated molecules using iridium and rhodium complexes. He joined Prof. Omar Farha’s group at Northwestern University in 2018. His research interests include synthesis, characterization, and application of metal-organic frameworks catalysts.

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Julia Knapp

Graduate Student

Julia Knapp grew up in Maryland and received her B.S. (2018) in chemistry and mathematics from Randolph-Macon College. At R-MC, she studied the activation of small molecules by water-soluble iridium and rhodium complexes under Dr. Serge Schreiner. She joined Prof. Omar Farha’s group at Northwestern University in November 2018; her research interest is in exploring the properties of actinides through incorporation into metal-organic frameworks.

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Florencia Son

Graduate Student

Florencia was born in Buenos Aires, Argentina and grew up in Northern Virginia. She received a B.S. in chemistry with a minor in mathematics from Georgetown University (May 2018). During her time at Georgetown, she worked with Dr. YuYe Tong on the synthesis of silver nanoclusters. Florencia joined Professor Omar Farha’s group in November 2018. She is interested in the design and application of metal-organic frameworks.

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Zoha Syed

Graduate Student

Zoha Syed graduated from the University of Washington, Seattle in June 2017 with a B.S. in Chemistry and a B.A. in Biochemistry. While at UW, she did her undergraduate research with Prof. Karen I. Goldberg. Her work focused on developing C-H functionalization reactions with novel pincer-ligated iridium catalysts, as part of the Center for Enabling New Technologies through Catalysis (CENTC). After graduating, Zoha was a postbaccalaureate researcher in the Catalysis Science Program at Argonne National Laboratory, where she studied single-site supported organometallic complexes on metal oxides as heterogeneous catalysts. She then began her PhD in Chemistry (September 2018), co-advised by Prof. Omar K. Farha (Northwestern University) and Dr. Massimiliano Delferro (Argonne National Laboratory). Her research interests include surface organometallic chemistry and applications of MOFs in catalysis.

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Lifeng Yang

Visiting Graduate Student

Lifeng Yang was born in Hangzhou, China. He received his B.S. degree from Zhejiang University of Technology. He currently is a Ph.D. candidate at Zhejiang University under the supervision of Prof. Huabin Xing. He joined Prof. Omar K. Farha’s group at Northwestern University as a one year visiting scholar in November 2019. His research is focused on the design of porous materials for separation.

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Fanrui Sha

Graduate Student

Fanrui grew up in Dalian, China. She received her B.S. in chemistry from Harvey Mudd College in 2019 and was a visiting student in chemistry and materials science at St. Edmund Hall, Oxford University in Spring 2018. At HMC, she did her undergraduate research with Prof. Adam Johnson on asymmetric hydroamination catalysis with titanium and tantalum complexes. She joined Prof. Omar Farha’s group at Northwestern in Fall of 2019, and her research focuses on enzyme@MOF.

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Jingyi Sui

Graduate Student

Jingyi Sui grew up in Beijing, China and received her B.A. in Chemistry (2017) from Smith College in Massachusetts. She joined Prof. Joseph T. Hupp and Prof. Omar K. Farha’s groups at Northwestern University in 2019. Her research interest is polyoxometalate (POM) at metal organic frameworks.

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Visiting Scholars

Undergraduate Researchers

Alyssa Olszewski

Undergraduate Researcher

Alyssa Olszewski grew up in Kankakee, IL and is a third-year chemistry major at Northwestern University. She joins the Farha Group this summer to research the synthesis and stabilization of a bismuth MOF to be used as a CT contrast agent that is less toxic and more effective than the standard iodine-based agents currently being used.

Ian Dillingham

Undergraduate Researcher

Ian Dillingham is from Montclair, New Jersey and is a third year in the Chemistry Major at Northwestern University. He joined the Farha group this fall, and is working with Louis Redfern to research the formation of nanoparticles using MOFs for catalytic purposes.