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Principal Investigator


Dr. Stefan Bernhard

Stefan Bernhard started his chemistry career as a laboratory technician with Chocolat Tobler, which was followed by a degree in chemical engineering from the Ingenieurschule Burgdorf. Further endeavours, under Prof. Peter Belser at the Université de Fribourg, were rewarded with a diploma and a PhD in chemistry. These primarily synthetic studies were complemented by a laser spectroscopy project at Los Alamos National Laboratory with Dr Jon Schoonover and time in the Abruña group at Cornell University focused on electrochemistry. Stefan Bernhard’s first faculty appointment at Princeton University explored luminescent metal complexes for optoelectronic and solar conversion applications. He moved to Carnegie Mellon University in July 2009 where he was promoted to the rank of Professor in 2014.

Graduate Students

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Stephen DiLuzio, 5th year

Stephen is a chemistry PhD student from Kennett Square, Pennsylvania. He obtained his Bachelor of Science from Temple University and worked in the laboratory of Dr. Stephanie Wunder. In Dr. Bernhard’s lab, he focuses on the development of high-throughput and automated protocols to investigate the photophysical properties and photochemical activity of heteroleptic Ir(III) photocatalysts. His free time is spent giving his dog, Bear, all the love and attention in the world as he is the best boy. He also enjoys running, rock climbing, and watching movies. 


Eric Lopato, 4th year

Eric Lopato is a local Pittsburgher, currently in his 4th year of graduate study. He graduated with a BS in Chemistry (minors in Environmental Studies and International Relations) from St. John's University in New York City in 2014. Since then, he has been working in the Bernhard lab utilizing colorimetric chemosensitive detection of hydrogen to study, in high-throughput, photocatalytic hydrogen evolution reactions. Outside the lab, he is an avid cyclist and baker. 

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Mitchell Baumer, 1st year

Mitchell is a first year chemistry graduate student from Denver, Colorado. He received a BS in chemistry from the University of Alabama, and has since worked in various industrial laboratory settings. Mitchell's research focuses on photocatalyzed metal reduction. Outside of the lab, he enjoys backpacking, fishing, snowboarding, video games, and playing drums. 

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Savannah Talledo, 1st year

Savannah is a chemistry graduate student from Columbia, South Carolina. She got her BS in Chemistry and BA in Theatre from Wofford College. Her current research project involves using high throughput methods to study and optimize photocatalytic hydrogen production via alcohol oxidation and water reduction using organic dyes as photosensitizers. When she is not in the lab she enjoys spending time acting and directing plays or playing tennis. 

Undergraduate Students

Andrew Kubaney, Senior

Andrew is a chemistry and computer science undergraduate student from Erie, Pennsylvania. His current research focuses on high-throughput monitoring of polymerizations. In his free time, he enjoys hiking and playing board games.


Melvin Ofosu-Koranteng, Junior

Melvin is a Chemical Engineering undergraduate student from New Jersey. Alongside engineering, he studies sustainability, robotics, and chemistry.  His research project is a flow reactor that carries out a light induced reaction and uses high throughput methods to study how gold nanoparticles can be tuned for various features. Melvin also enjoys reading novels and watching sci-fi movies, along with outdoor activities like skateboarding.


Sawyer Palsen, Junior

Sawyer is a chemistry undergraduate student from Saint Louis, Missouri. He currently works with Mitchell Baumer on the Photocatalytic Zinc Reduction to improve yields and reversibility. Outside of the lab he is a musician and cook who enjoys history and biography books.


Rafael Guzman, Sophomore

Rafael is a 2nd year chemistry undergraduate student from New York City. He currently assists in the synthesis and photo physical analysis of heteroleptic rhodium metal centered complexes. He enjoys spending his free time playing handball and playing with his pets when he's back home. 


Payton Downey, Sophomore

Payton is an undergraduate student from Charlotte, North Carolina. They are currently pursuing a BS in chemistry with a minor in physics. Their project involves the synthesis of chiral, organic dyes and measuring their chiroptical properties with circularly polarized luminescence. When they are not in lab, they like to spend their time knitting and crocheting or hiking. 


Keegan Pietrak, Sophomore

Keegan Pietrak is an undergraduate student pursuing chemical engineering from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, with the hopes of applying his education to renewable energy. His current research project involves studying photocatalytic hydrogen production via sugar oxidation. When he is not in the lab or studying he likes to rock climb, play tennis, cook, hike, and explore new places.

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