Lab Members

Prof. AJ Boydston


NIH Postdoctoral Fellow Caltech (2008-2010)
Advisor: Robert H. Grubbs

Ph.D. University of Texas at Austin (2007)
Advisors: Christopher W. Bielawski and C. Grant Willson

B.S. and M.S. University of Oregon (2001, 2002)
Advisor: Michael M. Haley

Dr. Boydston began studying chemistry as an undergraduate at the University of Oregon under the guidance of Professor Michael M. Haley. His research focused on the synthesis and study of dehydrobenzoannulenes. After completing BS and MS degrees, he began doctoral research at the University of Texas at Austin. In 2005, Dr. Boydston joined the group of Professor Christopher W. Bielawski and was co-advised by Professor C. Grant Willson. Dr. Boydston completed his thesis research focused on the synthesis and applications of annulated bis(imidazolium) chromophores in 2007. After graduating, he moved to Pasadena, California to take an NIH postdoctoral position at the California Institute of Technology. There, he worked under the mentorship of Professor Robert H. Grubbs to develop new catalysts and methods for the synthesis and characterization of functionalized cyclic polymers. He returned to the Pacific Northwest as an Assistant Professor of Chemistry at the University of Washington in the summer of 2010. In summer 2018, he moved to the University of Wisconsin as the Yamamoto Family Professor of Chemistry. His research group currently focuses on developments in the areas of electro-organic synthesis, polymer synthesis, mechanochemical transduction, triggered depolymerization, polymers for therapeutic applications, and additive manufacturing (3D printing). His research and teaching efforts have been recognized through the NSF CAREER Award, Army Research Office Young Investigator Award, Cottrell Scholar Award, Camille Dreyfus Teacher-Scholar Award, and University of Washington Distinguished Teaching Award.

Dr. Chang-Uk Lee
Research Scientist

  • Ph.D., Louisiana State University, 2013
  • M.S., University of Tennessee, 2006
  • B.S., Pusan National University, 2004

Chang-Uk is originally from Pusan, South Korea where he graduated with honors with a B.S. degree in Polymer Science and Engineering. He then completed M.S. and Ph.D. degrees focusing on a combination of materials science and synthesis of advanced polymer structures. During his doctoral studies under the guidance of Prof. Donghui Zhang, he worked on synthesizing a new class of peptidomimetic materials (polypeptoids, structural mimics of polypeptides), cyclic block copolypeptoids, and studying their self-assembly in solution and macroscopic properties. He then took an appointment as a postdoctoral scholar at the University of Kentucky Center for Applied Energy Research (UK CAER). In April of 2014, Chang-Uk made the move to Seattle to join the Boydston group as a postdoctoral fellow and begin studying polymer mechanochemistry.

Dr. Jianxun Cui
Postdoctoral Scholar

  • Ph.D., North Carolina State University, 2017
  • M.S., Harbin Institute of Technology, 2013
  • B.S., Harbin Institute of Technology, 2011

Jianxun is from Henan, China. He obtained his B.S. and M.S. degrees in materials science from Harbin Institute of Technology. During his B.S. and M.S. study, he worked on the hydrothermal synthesis of nanomaterials, which was used to catalyze the degradation of water contaminants. After that, he came to the United States to pursue his Ph.D. degree. He obtained his Ph.D. degree in mechanical engineering (under Dr. Yong Zhu) from North Carolina State University. His Ph.D. dissertation was on shape changing structures actuated by heat shrinkable polymers. After Ph.D., Jianxun worked shortly with Dr. Lining Yao (Carnegie Mellon University) on shape morphing pasta. In September 2018, Jianxun joined the Boydston group to work on the 3D printing of responsive polymers. Outside of lab, Jianxun enjoys playing badminton and watching movies.

Dr. Hang Shen
Postdoctoral Scholar

  • Ph.D., Chongqing University, 2016
  • B.S., Jiangxi Science and Technology Normal University , 2011

Hang was born in Jingzhou, China. After obtaining his B.S. in Pharmaceutical Engineering at Jiangxi Science and Technology Normal University in 2011, he went to Chongqing University to pursue his Ph.D. studies in Prof. Yan Xiong’s group, working on employing umpolung strategy to achieve cyanation. After receiving his Ph.D. in 2016, he spent a few months to work as a research associate in the same group, then he came to United States to explore new reactivity of hexadehydro-Diels–Alder (HDDA) benzyne in Prof. Thomas Hoye’s group at the University of Minnesota before joining the Boydston group in December of 2018. In his spare time, he enjoys running, watching movie and having ice cream.

Dr. Xuejin Yang
Postdoctoral Scholar

  • Ph.D., the Chinese University of Hong Kong, 2017
  • B.S., Lanzhou University, 2013

Xuejin is from Xinjiang, China. She received her B.S. in chemistry from Lanzhou University in 2013, where she performed undergraduate research under the guidance of Prof. Chunan Fan. She obtained her PhD in 2017 from the Chinese University of Hong Kong, under the supervision of Prof. Qian Miao. Her Ph.D. study mainly focused on Heptagon embedded polycyclic arenes and macrocycles. Then she joined Prof. Yan Xia ‘s group (Stanford University) working on antiaromatic polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons containing cyclobutadienoids. In March 2019, she joined Boydston group (UW-Madison) as a research associate.

Dr. Evan Sherbrook
Postdoctoral Scholar

  • Ph.D., University of Wisconsin-Madison, 2019
  • B.S., University of Vermont, 2013

Evan is originally from Kirby, Vermont. After completing his B.S. in chemistry at the University of Vermont in 2013, he moved to the University of Wisconsin-Madison to pursue his Ph.D under the guidance of Prof. Tehshik Yoon. His doctoral work focused on the development of stereoselelective photocycloaddition reactions enabled by Lewis and Brønsted acid catalysis. He joined the Boydston group at UW-Madison in September 2019 as a postdoctoral fellow. Outside the lab, Evan also enjoys disc golf, beer brewing, and hanging out with his cats.

Brock Lynde
Graduate Student

  • B.S., Pacific Lutheran University, 2016

Brock is originally from Yakima, WA.  He received a BS in Chemistry from Pacific Lutheran University in 2016. For his undergraduate research with Dr. Neal Yakelis focused on the effects that ring strain have on the rates of the retro-hetero-Diels-Alder reaction. He joined the Boydston group in December of 2017 at the University of Washington. In 2018 he moved with the Boydston group to the University of Wisconsin-Madison to continue his PhD.

Cody Schilling
Graduate Student

  • B.S., Nebraska Wesleyan University, 2017

Cody is originally from Lincoln, Nebraska and received his BS in Chemistry from Nebraska Wesleyan University in 2017. There he worked under the direction of Dr. Nathanael Fackler on the synthesis and characterization of Schiff base ligands and formazan dye ligands for use in spin-crossover complexes. Cody joined the Boydston group in November of 2018. Outside of work, he enjoys golfing, soccer, and tending to his variety of gardening projects.

Rachel Tritt
Graduate Student

  • B.S., Lafayette College, 2018

Rachel is originally from Kansas City, MO. She received her B.S. in chemistry from Lafayette College in Easton, PA in 2018 where she conducted research in the lab of Dr. Daniel Griffith. Her senior honors thesis focused on reactions of tropone iron tricarbonyl and its analogs to serve as synthetic precursors to polycyclic heterocycles. After graduating, she worked as a summer intern in the discovery chemistry division of Eli Lilly in Indianapolis, IN. She joined the Boydston group in November, 2018. Outside of lab, she enjoys reading fiction and classic literature, knitting (poorly), and being outside regardless of the weather.

Sean Gitter
Graduate Student

  • B.S., Hope College, 2018

Sean is from Shelby Twp. MI. He received his BS in chemistry and chemical engineering from Hope College in 2018, where he studied under the guidance of Prof. Jason Gillmore. His undergraduate research was focused on the synthesis and characterization of BF2-coordinated azo dyes for incorporation in photomechanical polymers. He joined the Boydston group in November 2018. Outside of the lab Sean enjoys playing pub trivia, golfing, fishing, and hanging out with friends.

Vinnie Rigoglioso
Graduate Student

  • B.S., Cornell University, 2018

Vinnie hails from Wayne, New Jersey where the rest of his family (Vanessa, Domenic, Mom, Dad, and Wally) resides. In May 2018, he obtained his B.S. in Chemical Engineering from Cornell University. While at Cornell, his research involved the study and synthesis of oligothioetheramides under Professor Chris Alabi. Vinnie then started his life at the University of Wisconsin-Madison in August 2018 and soon after joined the Boydston lab in November 2018. Vinnie’s research interests include physical organic chemistry, reaction kinetics, and polymers chemistry. Vinnie has a vast multitude of interests, among them chess, Frisbee, volleyball, and other board games and sports.

Ernie Alvino
Graduate Student

  • B.S., United States Air Force Academy, 2019

Ernie is originally from Mullica Hill, NJ. He received his B.S. in chemistry from the United States Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs, CO and commissioned as a Second Lieutenant in the Air Force in 2019. There, he worked with Dr. Abby Jennings on the synthesis and characterization of POSS-perfluorocyclopentene (PFCP) polymers. He joined the Boydston group in August of 2019. Outside of the lab, he enjoys working out, watching sports, being outside, and listening to music.

Kyle Chin
Graduate Student

  • B.S., Oregon State University, 2019

Kyle is from Portland, OR and received his B.S in chemical engineering from Oregon State University in 2019. He conducted undergraduate research with Dr. Gall at Portland State University determining primary emissions, ozone reactivity, and byproduct emissions from building insulation materials. He also completed a co-op at 3D Systems in their materials R&D group. He joined the Boydston group in November of 2019. Outside of work, he likes any sport or outdoor activity, playing board games, and hanging out with friends.

Olivia Bae
Graduate Student

  • B.S., Sogang University
  • M.S., Sogang University

Olivia received her B.S. in chemistry and M.S. in physical chemistry from Sogang University, Seoul, Korea. There, she worked with Prof. Bong June Sung on theoretical modeling of cancer cell cycle and molecular dynamic simulation of ring polymer films. She arrived in Madison this August and is enjoying life here. Outside the lab, she loves to read and write. She wants to be a writer someday.

Meg Tetzloff
Graduate Student

  • B.S., Michigan Technological University, 2019

Meg is originally from Greenville, Wisconsin. She earned a B.S. in Chemical Engineering at Michigan Tech in 2019. One of her undergraduate research projects with Professor Patricia Heiden involved using radical crosslinking to improve interfacial adhesion between waste polymers and asphalt for better asphalt durability. Meg joined the Boydston group in November 2019. When not in the lab, she can be spotted jamming on piano or ukulele, getting too excited about board games, or starting a snowball fight.

Danny Lee
Post-baccalaureate Researcher

  • B.S., University of Wisconsin-Madison, 2019

Danny is from Sun Prairie, Wisconsin and recently received his Bachelor’s degree in Chemistry with a certificate in Computer Sciences from UW-Madison. For the past 2 years he conducted research with the McMahon group synthesizing and studying organic molecules of astrochemical interest. When not doing chemistry, Danny enjoys landscape and night sky photography, camping, cooking, board games, and reading.

Grant Ovsepyan
Undergraduate Student

  • B.S. (expected 2022), University of Wisconsin-Madison.

As a freshman in his early career, Grant had joined AIChE and became a Department liaison representative. Currently is working on the mechanical maintenance and assembly of the filament extrusion printer. Outside of the lab Grant enjoys playing classical guitar, working with ceramics in studio. He is a soccer player, who has learnt how to surf and scuba dive before he has mastered his swimming freestyle stroke.

Jacob Darien
Undergraduate Student

  • B.S. (expected 2022), University of Wisconsin-Madison.

Prior to joining the Boydston Lab, Jacob worked in two other chemistry research groups on campus. Currently, Jacob is working on the 3D printing of high-performance polymers. Outside of the lab, Jacob entertains himself by playing and writing music for electric and acoustic guitar and piano, in addition to playing various board and card games.

Sofya Akhetova
Undergraduate Student

  • B.S. (expected 2023), University of Wisconsin-Madison.

Sofya is only a starting Freshman in Undergrad for Chemical Engineering at UW Madison. She is also planning to get a certificate in Entrepreneurship and Japanese. Sofya moved to Utah from Russia in 2012, and now enjoys her time in Wisconsin. Sofya enjoys drawing and fencing in her spare time. Sofya hasn’t done anything impressive (editor’s note: the editor and the rest of the Boydston Group strongly disagrees with this) so she can’t put much, however, she had met a loving alpaca once who loves to cuddle.

Group Mascot


Living in Yakima, Washington, Penny enjoys long walks on her farm and nuzzling the Lynde-Westling families. When Penny was younger, she loved being in her pen and hated having to leave it, giving her the namesake. Always photogenic and sassy, Penny sends her positive energy to the Group in the form of wholesome pictures and videos.

Hyun-seok Chang
High School Intern

Hyun-seok is a high school senior from Madison West High School. There, he is a member of the rocketry team and worked on projects that sought ways to dampen rocket vibrations with liquids and measure the concentration of aerosols in the atmosphere during rocket flight. Currently he is working in the Boydston lab to learn as much as he can about the chemistry of 3D printing. Outside of the lab, Hyun-seok enjoys computer programming, soccer, board games and long walks.

Alumni (bios and subsequent destinations available at

  • Dr. Daniel Seidenkranz
  • Dr. Johanna Schwartz
  • Karen Wulf