training the next generation of leaders in science and society to help solve the problems of the 21st century
We are a diverse and inclusive group of scholars deeply interested designing new chemical reactions for synthetic chemistry. We understand that maximizing creativity in our research requires a strong commitment to work-life balance and we are committed to maintaining a safe environment where we can thrive as our authentic selves.
We seek to become leaders in our independent careers, wherever our interests take us. We will help each other to find opportunities and develop skills that position each of us to make an impact on the world around us. Learn more about our approach HERE.
Julian G. West, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor of Chemistry
CPRIT Scholar and Norman Hackerman-Welch Young Investigator
Julian (website) started at Rice University in summer 2019 after completing a postdoc at Caltech (Gray/Stoltz), Ph.D. at Princeton (Sorensen), and B.Sc.H. at UBC (Sammis). He was recognized on the Forbes 30 Under 30 Science list for his group's work at Rice. Outside of lab he likes to play (and listen to) music, run, and write.
Seeking Curious Scientists
Postdocs, graduate students, and undergraduates
Please contact us if you're interested in joining our lab!
See our dynamic and growing team below!
James Hooson, Ph.D.
James received his PhD from the University of Houston in 2021 (Prof. Scott Gilbertson); he then joined Prof. West group later that year. He is currently working on HAT of C(SP3) for azidation and chlorination. Outside the lab, he enjoys watching movies, cooking, and hanging out with his cats.
Martin Pauze, Ph.D.
Martin was born and raised in France, close to Lyon. He received an engineer degree in medicinal chemistry at Sigma Clermont and a Master degree of biochemistry at University Clermon Auvergne (France). In 2021 he finished his Ph.D. at the University of Basque Country (Spain) with Prof. Enrique Gomez-Bengoa and at the University of Stockholms (Sweden) with Prof. Belen Martin-Matute. He joined the lab in 2022 and is working on VB12 chemistry. Outside of the lab, Martin enjoys cooking, listening to music, playing video games, and stargazing.
Hai N. Tran, Ph.D.
Hai grew up in the central highlands of Vietnam. He graduated from Ho Chi Minh City University of Science in 2014 with a B.Sc. in Chemistry. In 2017, he began his graduate studies with Professor Levi M. Stanley at Iowa State University. There he developed enantioselective hydrofunctionalization and arylative substitution reactions using nickel catalysts. He received his Ph.D. in 2022 and then joined Professor West group. Outside of the lab, he likes playing Pokemon games, watching soccer and listening to music
Helen Jordan, B.S., B.A.
Helen received her undergraduate degree from the University of Richmond, VA in 2013. She performed research on a ruthenium catalyst for solar energy storage with Drs. Goldman and Dominey before obtaining her B.S. in chemistry and a B.A. in German studies. After graduation, she worked in Konstanz, Germany before returning to the U.S. to pursue her PhD. Helen began her studies at Rice University Fall ’18. When not in lab, Helen loves reading sci-fi/fantasy books, DnD, spending time with friends, and not talking in 3rd person.
Yen-Chu Lu, M.S.
Yen-Chu Lu was born in Yilan, Taiwan. He received his bachelor's degree from National Chung-Cheng University in 2015. He conducted undergraduate research with Professor Day-Shin Hsu focusing on the synthesis of natural product. He then worked on the carbohydrate synthesis under the supervision of Professor Kwok-Kong Tony Mong and obtained his master's degree from National Chiao-Tung University in 2017. In 2019, he starts to pursue his doctoral degree at Rice University. In his spare time, he enjoys working out, trying new foods and watching horror movies
Austin Moser, B.S.
Austin received his B.S. in biochemistry from San Diego State University in 2020. In the summer of 2017, he researched bioorthogonal molecular synthesis in a medicinal chemistry lab at Chalmers University of Technology in Gothenburg, Sweden. While at SDSU, he did research in natural product synthesis, working toward the total synthesis of Palmyramide A. Outside of lab, Austin enjoys playing the violin, WoW, and rewatching Avatar the Last Airbender/Legend of Korra.
Sarah Buzsaki, B.S.
Sarah earned her undergraduate degree from UC Berkeley in 2020. At Berkeley, she worked in Professor Daniel Nomura's lab, synthesizing and screening acyl fluorides and DUBTAC candidates. Sarah began her doctoral studies at Rice in the summer of 2020 as an early matriculate. Outside of the lab, she enjoys dancing ballet, powerlifting, and listening to podcasts.
Kangjie (Harry) Bian, M.S.
Harry earned his B.S. in chemistry in 2017 from Huaqiao University under the mentorship of Qiu-Ling Song and M.S. in 2020 from University of Science and Technology of China under the guidance of Xi-Sheng Wang investigating remote functionalization of inert C-H bonds. Outside of lab, he likes to watch movies, listen to dream-pop and shoe-gaze music, and read young adult novels. He can also make really good spaghetti!
Shi-Chieh Kao, M.S.
Shih-Chieh received his B. S. in biochemistry from Tamkang University in 2016 and performed undergraduate research with Professor Chung-Hung Hsieh. Following this, he pursued his M. S. from National Yang Ming Chiao Tung University in 2018 under the mentorship of Professors Ilhyong Ryu and Yen-ku Wu focusing on the photo-mediated radical chemistry and the flow chemistry. Outside of lab, he enjoys deejaying, powerlifting, watching Drama and Anime, and outdoor activities.
Brian Funk, B.S.
Brian was born and raised in the suburbs of Philadelphia. He earned his B.S. in Chemistry from the Pennsylvania State University in 2021. At Penn State, he synthesized molecular-rotor fluorophores used for in vivo imaging of protein aggregation under the mentorship of Drs. Xin Zhang and Charlie Wolstenholme. Outside of lab, Brian enjoys watching sports, hanging out with friends, weightlifting, and trying new restaurants.
Shijin Yu, B.S.
Shijin was born and raised in Tianjin, China. She received her B.S. in chemistry from Nankai University in 2020. In her senior year, she traveled to New Haven where she worked on zinc- mediated anionic cyclization of unstabilized ketone enolates with unactivated alkenes and copper-catalyzed allylation reaction with Professor Timothy Newhouse. Shijin began her doctoral studies at Rice University in 2020. Outside of the lab, Shijin enjoys swimming and listening to all kinds of music.
David, a fourth year chemistry undergraduate at Rice University, joined the West Lab in May 2021. He currently works with his mentor Harry on various alkene difunctionalization projects along with exploring the concept of radical translation and ligand transfer. Outside of lab, he enjoys playing piano, basketball, long-distance running, and going on roadtrips. His favorite shows are Better Call Saul, Stranger Things and Cowboy Bebop.
Xiaowei is a third-year undergraduate studying Chemistry here at Rice. She joined the West Lab in the Spring of 2022 and is working on arene halogenation and radical ligand transfer catalysis. Outside of lab, Xiaowei enjoys road cycling, EBM and DnB, melodrama, spending time with family, cookery, and trying new restaurants.
Radha Bam, Ph.D.
Radha received her Ph.D. degree in Organic Chemistry from the University of Nevada, Reno (Prof. Wesley Chalifoux) in spring 2019.
She joined the West lab after graduation. Currently she is working on catalysis.
Outside the lab, she likes drawing things and to explore nature.
Radha is currently a postdoctoral researcher at Texas A&M Univeristy
Venkatesh Kattamuri, Ph.D.
Venkatesh received his Ph.D from Texas Tech University in August 2014. From September 2014, he worked as Welch postdoctoral research associate in Prof. Kurti’s group until August 2019 working on amination reactions. From September 2019 onward, he joined Prof. West’s group to explore catalytic methods using earth abundant elements. In his spare time, he likes to spend time with his family and watching movies.
Venkatesh is currently a Research Scientist at Arcus Biosciences
Alex is a senior undergrad studying Chemistry here at Rice. He spent a year in the Tour lab designing and synthesizing molecular motors. More recently, he joined the West lab in 2020 and is working on B12 chemistry and catalysis. Outside of lab, Alex enjoys jazz, bouldering, backpacking and a nice cup of coffee
Alex is currently a Ph.D. Student in chemistry at The Scripps Research Institute - La Jolla
Lillie is now a Ph.D. student in Chemistry at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) after graduating with a B.S. in Chemistry from Rice University in the Spring of 2021. During her time in the West lab, she conducted a thorough literature investigation of cobalamin dependent methylation of activated aromatic heterocycles via a radical mechanism. Outside of the lab, she likes to paint, play video games, and hang out with her two corgis.
Drew Hood, Ph.D.
Drew received his PhD from Louisiana State University in 2019 (Prof. George G. Stanley), he then joined Prof. West group in 2020. He is currently working on catalysis using earth abundant metals. Outside the lab, he enjoys traveling, cooking and woodworking.
Drew is currently a research scientist at Entegris
Alexandra is a fourth year undergraduate studying chemistry at Rice University. She joined the West Lab in the Fall of 2020 and is working on the deuteration of alkenes via cooperative hydrogen atom transfer (cHAT). Outside of lab, she enjoys baking, watching movies, and going to coffee shops.
Alexandra is currently a Ph.D. student at Cornell University