Past Members

Post Docs


Jie Gao

Jie focuses on various battery related research, including inorganic/organic electrode materials, electrolytes, etc. His current projects include development of transition metal oxides as anodes for lithium batteries, electrolytes optimization for lithium sulfur batteries, and organic polymer cathodes (like PDMcT etc.) for lithium batteries and supercapacitors. Besides research, he is interested in Chinese traditional culture and art like brush painting, handwriting, etc.


Ronaldo Adriano Timm

Ronaldo is from Brazil, where he obtained his PhD in Inorganic Chemistry at the University of São Paulo working with nanocomposites and sensors development. After that, he dedicated five years to a nanotech startup company that helped to create. At Abruña’s lab his work is focused on the study of adsorption of probe molecules on graphene and graphene oxide using Raman and spectroelectrochemistry in order to understand the reactivity of these materials and the interaction with other species. In his free time, he likes to listen music and read, mostly about emerging technologies, economy and politics.


Gabriel G. Rodríguez-Calero

Gabriel G. Rodríguez-Calero is currently a post-doctoral associate in the Department of Chemistry and Chemical Biology. In addition, he is pursuing his entrepreneurial interests by incubating a start-up company, ecolectro, exploring the commercialization of a revolutionary fuel cell membrane technology that could dramatically reduce costs thus enabling adoption of fuel cells and related clean energy systems. He received his PhD in Chemistry from the Department of Chemistry and Chemical Biology at Cornell University. His PhD research in Prof. Héctor D. Abruña’s group focused on the investigation of novel materials for electrochemical energy generation and storage. Outside of work, Gabriel enjoys reading, jogging, going on walks and learning new skills.


James McKone

James completed his graduate studies at the California Institute of Technology in the Spring of 2013, working with Harry Gray and Nate Lewis in the field of solar fuels.His research in the Abruña and DiSalvo groups focuses on integrating flow battery chemistry with solar light absorbers. In his free time, James loves reading, binge-watching Netflix, playing music, and taking on random personal and household projects.

Graduate Students

Carlos Cabrera

Ana Guadalupe

Robert Mariani

Michael Albarelli

Helen Hurrell

Silvia López

David Acevedo

Jimmy John

G. M. Bommarito

Brad Pendley

Claudia Arana

Richard Bretz

Donna Taylor

Howell S. Yee

James E. Hudson

Jorge Tirado

Shaowei Chen

Lisa Buller

Diego Díaz

Sean Smith

Samantha Glazier

Jonas Goldsmith

Jennifer Hampton

Emerilis Casado

Samuel Flores

Yasu Kiya

David Volpe

Jamie Cohen

Burak Ülgüt

Jing Jin

Daniel Blasini

Suddhasattwa Nad

Jay Henderson

Yi Liu

Michele Tague

David Finkelstein

Michael Lowe

Eric Rus

Stephen Burkhardt

Sean Conte

Cen Tan


Nicole Ritzert

Nikki has many interests in the Abruña group. Her main project is using scanning probe techniques, namely scanning electrochemical microscopy (SECM) and scanning tunneling microscopy (STM), to investigate charge transfer and molecular transport properties of single layer graphene electrodes. She collaborates with the Brock (Applied Engineering and Physics) group at the Cornell High Energy Synchrotron Source (CHESS) on in situ surface x ray diffraction measurements of catalyst materials. She also collaborate with the Baird (Chemistry and Chemical Biology) and Ober (Chemical Engineering) groups in developing a biosensor for the avian flu. She enjoys working in the machine shop and making small equipment parts.


Yingchao Yu

My research focuses on the use and development of advanced scanning transmission electron microscopy (STEM) techniques, especially in-situ methods, for energy applications. Specifically, the intent is to understand materials properties and reaction mechanisms of fuel cell catalysts and novel battery electrode materials, with the intent of enhancing the performance of practical devices.


Jimmy John

Jimmy’s research is on the analytical studies of electrocatalysts and anion-exchange membrane for application in alkaline fuel cells. Research Interests: Electrocatalysis, fuel cells, small organic molecule oxidation.



Gabriel G. Rodríguez-Calero

Gabriel’s research focuses on the characterization of materials for electrochemical energy storage applications. Specifically, he investigates the electrochemical reactions of conducting polymers, elucidating their reaction mechanisms, studying charge transfer kinetics and developing methodologies to incorporate them in functional devices. On his spare time, he plays intramural sports, enjoys watching profesional sports, and doing outreach activities.


Kenneth Hernandez

Kenny works on a systematic study of different families of Organic Molecules (OM) as cathode materials for energy storage applications. The study consist of two steps: computational screening/designing of new OM and electrochemical characterization. He uses computational chemistry to predict the formal potentials and identify the most promising candidates before the synthesis and characterization (using electrochemical techniques) of the selected molecules. As a personal detail Kenny enjoys dancing latin music specially salsa.


Katie Silberstein

Katie conducts operando X-ray absorption spectroscopy and X-ray diffraction studies to analyze molecules, materials, and systems relevant to lithium-ion batteries. She hopes to elucidate the molecular mechanisms that lead to bulk charge storage within novel materials. Outside of lab, Katie plays trumpet in the Ithaca Concert Band.


Tam Truong

Tam is a joint student between the Coates and Abruna research groups, and her projects incorporate the expertise of both groups. She synthesizes redox active polymers for electrochemical energy storage and characterize their chemical and electrochemical properties.



Abby Van Wassen

Abby’s work deals mainly with the study of electrocatalysis with respect to fuel cells. In particular, she studies cathode materials using combinatorial and electrochemical techniques, mainly rotating disk electrode voltammetry (RDE), for characterization and analysis, and a sputtering chamber to grow the combinatorial films of interest. When she’s not doing chemistry, she likes to cook, read, and knit.


Ryo Wakabayashi

Ryo currently works on both fuel cell and battery related projects, with a healthy mix of synthetic and analytical work. He believes that “play ball” is the most amazing two-word phrase in English, and loves reading about sports statistics, politics, and other nerdy topics in his spare time.


Rebecca Potash

Rebecca focuses on utilizing a variety of known electroactive materials for electrical energy storage (EES) in new and exciting platforms. She currently focuses on redox flow batteries (RFB’s), an EES device in which the cathode and anode are redox active solutions, the catholye and anolyte respectively. She also studies modified electrodes for pseudocapacitors. When not in the lab she enjoys windsurfing and hiking in the summer, skiing in the winter and glassblowing all year round.

Undergraduate Students


Roxana Amirahmadi

I am a senior undergraduate studying chemistry and chemical biology in the College of Arts and Sciences, and I am working on a project aimed to develop a biosensor that electrochemically detects avian flu antibodies. Using QCM frequency analysis and electrochemical detection of hydrogen peroxide produced by antibodies bound to specialized polymer brushes, we can detect trace amounts of antibody in any solution, and by extension in the blood serum of an affected patient. We hope that this platform for antibody detection can be translated into the development of a portable battery-powered microfluidic device that can detect and diagnose avian flu infection in patients living in remote and socioeconomically marginalized parts of the world where laboratories or hospitals are out of reach. I am particularly interested in the medical applications of electrochemistry because I am pre-med and hope to practice and research developmental or reproductive endocrinology as a future doctor. Beyond my research and studies, my passions lie in playing recreational badminton and reading, debating, and writing about political and social issues.


Peter Csernica

Peter’s research focuses on the synthesis and characterization of electrocatalyst materials for fuel cell applications. Outside of the lab, he is a member of Anything Goes Musical Theater Troupe, and enjoys watching and playing sports.

Geraldine Marin-Zamora

Geraldine Marin-Zamora

Geraldine worked this summer on the analytical study of electrocatalysts and alkaline anion-exchange membranes for their application in fuel cells. Fluent in Franglish and Spanish, she likes to swim and go latin dancing.


Visiting Researchers

website photo

Li Xiao

Li Xiao is a visiting scholar in Cornell University. She is an associate professor in Wuhan University, China. She completed her graduate studies at Wuhan University, working with Prof. Lin Zhuang and Prof. Juntao Lu in the field of catalysts for fuel cells and water electrolysis. Her research in the Prof. Abruna group focuses on the new material for energy storage and conversion. In her spare time, Li enjoys reading, good music, decoration and swimming.

BUScienceMugShotBurak Ülgüt

Dr. Ülgüt works on electrochemical impedance spectroscopy and it’s applications to energy systems. In particular he works on the details of the measurement and the analysis to acquire information about the electrochemical kinetics of the active material. In his free time, he enjoys cooking and hiking.

2016-05-04 13.39.01-1Rubén Rizo

Rubén’s research focuses on the design of Pt-Sn efficient catalyst for ethanol oxidation reaction and on the study of the complex electrochemical mechanism for this reaction by using differential electrochemical mass spectrometry (DEMS) and in-situ electrochemical FTIR spectroscopy. In his free time, he enjoys playing soccer and having a beer with friends.

Matsumoto201603272 Futoshi Matsumoto

Matsu’s (Futoshi Matsumoto) research focuses on synthesis and characterization of electrocatalysts for Polymer Electrolyte Membrane Fuel Cell (PEMFC). In his free time, he enjoys watching movies and waking around with his family.