Department of Chemistry

Group Picture

Current Group Members


Dr. Carlos E. Crespo-Hernández



    Carlos Crespo

  • B.S., University of Puerto Rico, San Juan Campus, Puerto Rico, 1995
    Ph.D., University of Puerto Rico, San Juan Campus, Puerto Rico, 2002
    NIH Postdoctoral Fellow, The Ohio State University (2002-05)
    Research Associate of Chemistry, The Ohio State University (2005-06)
  • Associate Dean for Research, College of Arts and Sciences, CWRU (2021-present)
  • Associate Editor, Photochemistry and Photobiology (2021-present)
  • Professor of Chemistry, Physical Chemistry Division (2019-present)
  • 2018 Morton L. Mandel Award for Outstanding Chemistry Faculty, Case Western Reserve University (2018)
  • Nominated for the 2018 John S. Diekhoff Award for Distinguished Graduate Student Teaching, Case Western Reserve University
  • Associate Professor of Chemistry, Physical Chemistry Division (2014-2019)
  • Co-director of the Center for Chemical Dynamics (2008-2018)
  • 2015-2016 John S. Diekhoff Award for Distinguished Graduate Student Teaching, Case Western Reserve University (2016)
  • NSF Faculty CAREER Award (2013-2018)
  • Frank Hovorka Assistant Professor of Chemistry (2012-2014)
  • Assistant Professor of Chemistry, Physical Chemistry Division (2007-2014)
  • Member of the President’s Advisory Council on Minorities (2015-present)
  • Member of the NOA-AGEP Scholar Site Committee Member (2016-present)
  • Associated Faculty of the Minority Graduate Student Organization (MGSO) at Case Western Reserve University (2007-present)
  • Member of the Ohio Supercomputer Center, The Ohio State University and of the Mississippi Center for Supercomputer Research, Jackson State University (2007-present)
  • Member of the Advisory Board of the Support of Undergraduate Research & Creative Endeavors (2009-present)
  • Member of the Alpha Chi Sigma Chemistry Student Fraternity (2010-present)
  • Program Director and Coordinator of the ACS Project SEED Summer Research Program for High School Students (2010-present)
  • Cuarenta/Cuarenta Club Fellow, The Kaleidoscope Magazine (2011)
  • Committee Member of Grants and Awards for the American Society for Photobiology (2011-present)
  • Member of the American Chemical Society Canvassing Committee for the Ahmed Zewail Award in Ultrafast Science and Technology (2014-2015)
  • Chair of the American Chemical Society Canvassing Committee for the Ahmed Zewail Award in Ultrafast Science and Technology (2016-present)
  • Carl Storm Underrepresented Minority Fellowship to participate in the 2013 Gordon Research Conference on Photochemistry
  • Guest Editor for a high-profile Special Issue on "Experimental and Computational Photochemistry of Bioorganic Molecules" to be published in Molecules as part of its 20th Anniversary (2016)


  • Graduate Students     

    Chris Acquah
    Cameron Griffith
    Naishka E. Caldero Rodriguez
    Sean J. Hoehn
    Sarah E. Krul
    Erqian Mao
    Luis A. Ortiz-Rodríguez

    Undergraduate Students     

    Andrés González
    Collin Merrick
    Benjamin Klucznik
    Mia Formato
    Naida Abbass
    Michael Pogharian
    Adina Minkin
    Grace Sleyko

    High School Students     

    TBN

    Honorary Members     

    Maricruz Crespo
    Ariana Crespo
    Julián Crespo
    Coco Crespo

    Former Group Members     

    Visiting Professors
    Postdoctoral Scholars
    Graduate Students
    Undergraduate Students
    Visiting Students
    High School Students

    Crespo Group

    Funny...


    Part of the Crespo and Parker Group Members at Shaker Rokcs on December 20, 2019.


    The Inaugural Crespo Group Members enjoying summer in Cleveland in 2007.


    Graduate Students


    Chis Acquah


      Chris Acquah

    • Chris joined the group in December 2020.


    Naishka E. Caldero Rodríguez


      Naishka E. Caldero Rodriguez

    • Naishka joined the group in November 2017. She obtained a Bachelor of Science in Chemistry from the University of Puerto Rico–Río Piedras Campus. As an undergraduate student, she worked with the synthesis of ferrocenyl chalcone derivatives from 1,1–diacetylferrocene using different substituents at Dr. Ingrid Montes’s Organic Synthesis Research Laboratory. She has been recognized as an ACS Scholar and as a Research Initiative for Scientific Enhancement UPRRP Fellow. She also had the opportunity to be part of the ACS International Research Experience for Undergraduates. During this summer internship, she worked with Dr. Pier Luigi Gentili at the University of Perugia, Italy. The goal of her project was to develop chemical artificial intelligence systems, specifically to develop a pH-sensitive artificial gland. Her present research is based on the study of electronic relaxation pathways in nucleic acid derivatives. She loves to dance and exercise. She was recently selected for a Leadership Development Award, which supported her participation in the ACS Younger Chemists Committee Leadership Development Workshop 2020 in Atlanta, Georgia, and was awarded the 2020 Dumitru and Gheorghe D. Mateescu Student Citizenship Award. Naishka also participated in an NSF-funded international collaborative internship in Spring 2020 with Dr. Inés Corral at the Autonomous University of Madrid, Spain.
    • Watch this VIDEO if you want to learn more about what is Naishka up to in lab.


    Cameron Griffith


      Cameron Griffith

    • Cameron joined the group in December 2018. I received my Bachelors of Science in Chemistry from Indiana University Purdue University Fort Wayne (IPFW), Indiana. I performed undergraduate research for Dr. Linn focusing on the catalytic reactions of hydrogen using [(CoH3)2H3]5-. After graduation I spent two years working as a quality technician for Nestle Dreyer’s/Edy’s Ice Cream. Currently studying the photophysical and photochemical properties of polycyclic aromatic compounds to further understand the potential role they play in the environment.


    Sean J. Hoehn


      Sean J. Hoehn

    • Sean joined the group in November 2017. He obtained his Bachelor of Science in Chemistry, Physics, and Mathematics from Baldwin Wallace University of Berea, Ohio. His undergraduate research consisted of sub-cloning, purifying, and kinetically characterizing the human and zebrafish construct of the enzyme peptidyl arginine deiminase type II (PAD2) and its substrate specificity, in order to understand its implication in various neurodegenerative disorders for subsequent inhibitor design and evaluation in Dr. Diana Barko’s research laboratory. His current research is on the strategic functionalization of the biologically relevant pyrimidine chromophore and its regulation of accessing electronic relaxation pathways. Using transient absorption spectroscopy, a main staple in the Crespo Research group, he hopes to continue the search for plausible prebiotic molecular ancestors of canonical nucleobases. Understanding these protobiotic RNA candidates’ intrinsic photostability during the dynamic selection pressures during chemical evolution, is of paramount importance in the pursuit of understanding Abiogenesis, or the molecular origins of life. Prior to undergraduate school, he served 10 years in the United States Army initially as a combat medic and then earned the coveted Green Beret, where he continued his love for medicine as a special forces medic. He had numerous deployments in direct support of Operations Iraqi and Enduring Freedom. His interests include balancing his time with school and his wife and new daughter.
    • Watch this VIDEO if you want to learn more about what Sean is up to in lab.


    Sarah E. Krul


      Sarah E. Krul

    • Sarah joined the group in June 2019. He obtained her Bachelor of Science in Chemistry from Baldwin Wallace University of Berea, Ohio. She conducted undergraduate research under the mentorship of Dr. Diana Barko, focusing on the purification and kinetic characterization of the human and zebrafish construct of the enzyme peptidyl arginine deiminase type II (PAD2), which has been implicated in several neurodegenerative diseases. Her current research is on the ionization of guanosine monophosphate and the impact of atomic substitution on the electronic relaxation pathway of guanosine derivatives, using transient absorption spectroscopy. Outside of school, she enjoys volunteering with children with special needs.
    • Watch this VIDEO if you want to learn more about what Sarah is up to in lab.


    Erqian Mao


      Erqian Mao

    • Erqian joined the group in June 2021. He received his Bachelor of Science in chemistry from Wuhan University. Erqian undergraduate research was designing and synthesizing a thermally activated delayed fluorescent polymer. He always believed that revealing reaction mechanisms was one beautiful thing in chemistry research, so Erqian want to step into the area of photochemistry.


    Luis A. Ortiz-Rodríguez


      Luis A. Ortiz-Rodríguez

    • Luis joined the group in November 2017. He was born in San Juan, Puerto Rico and graduated from the University of Puerto Rico-Humacao Campus, where he worked with nanosecond transient spectroscopy under the supervision of Dr. Rolando Oyola-Martínez studying the photosensitized reactions of phenothiazine derivatives and their interaction with albumins. Luis is a scholar of the Northeast Ohio Alliance for Graduate Education and the Professoriate and was recipient of the 2019 Dumitru and George D. Mateescu Student Citizenship Award and the 2020 Graduate Teaching Award. During his spare time, Luis likes to workout, and spend time with his wife (Deliris) and his dog (Miranda).
    • Watch this VIDEO if you want to learn more about what Luis is up to in lab.


    Undergraduate Students


    Andrés González


      Andrés González

    • Andy joined the group in Spring 2019


    Collin Merrick


      Collin Merrick

    • Collin joined the group in Fall 2018


    Benjamin Klucznik


      Benjamin Klucznik

    • Ben joined the group in Fall 2019


    Mia Formato


      Mia Formato

    • Mia joined the group in Fall 2019


    • Nadia Abbass


        Nadia Abbass

      • Nadia joined the group in Fall 2019


      • Michael Pogharian


          Michael Pogharian

        • Mike joined the group in Spring 2020


        • Adina Minkin


            Adina Minkin

          • Adina joined the group in Spring 2020


          Grace Sleyko


            Grace Sleyko

          • Grace joined the group in Spring 2021


          High School Students


          To be named


            TBN

          • TBN joined the group in June 2021 as a ACS Project SEED Summer I Fellow.


          Honorary Members


          Maricruz Crespo


            Maricruz Crespo

          • Maricruz married Dr. Crespo in August 2006. As of May 2014, she is a Pediatric Gastroenterology Fellow at Case Medical Center Rainbow Babies & Children’s Hospital, Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine.


          Ariana Isabel Crespo


            Ariana Crespo

          • As of May 2019, Ariana is twelve years old. She loves playing outdoors with her dady and brother and learning new things.


          Julián Enrique Crespo


            Julian Crespo

          • As of May 2019, Julian is eight years old. He is an active young child who loves playing with his father and big sister. He also loves go playing video games with her mom.


          Coco Crespo


            Coco Crespo

          • As of May 2019, Coco is two years old. He is an active and loving puppy who loves playing with his family and destroying shoes.




          Former Group Members


          Visitin Professors
            Karl Feierabend
            • Karl Feierabend: Visiting Professo (07/2018-06/2019). Karl investigated the photoionization dynamics of Guanosine 5'-monophosphate.
            Postdoctoral Scholars
              Amy Sage
              • Amy Sage: Postdoctoral Scholar (02/2008-12/2008). Amy studied the steady-state photophysical properties of selected pharmaceutical compounds in aqueous environments.
              Christian Reichardt
              • Christian Reichardt: Postdoctoral Scholar (04/2008-02/2011). Christian investigated the ultrafast excited-state dynamics of nitro-policyclic aromatic compounds and nucleic acid analogues in solution.
              Olexandr Isayev
              • Olexandr (Alex) Isayev: Postdoctoral Scholar (04/2009-02/2012). Alex performed theoretical studies of structure-function analysis of E. cloacae nitroreductase as part of a collaborative program with the US Army ERDC, Environmental Laboratory, VIcksburg, MS.
              Graduate Students
                Glesmarie Ortiz-Zayas
              • Glemarie investigated the excited-state dynamics of thiobase derivatives. She graduated with a M.S. degree in Chemistry in May 2019.
                Matthew Brister
              • Matthew investigated the excited-state dynamics of DNA and RNA base derivatives and nitro-polycyclic aromatic compounds. He graduated with a Ph.D. degree in Chemistry in May 2018.
                Regina DiScipio
              • Regina investigated the excited-state dynamics of biologically-relevant pterin derivatives and of organometallic complexes for photovoltaic materials. She graduated with a Ph.D. degree in Chemistry in May 2018.
                Marvin Pollum
              • Marvin investigated the excited-state dynamics of sulfur-substituted DNA and RNA base analogues and their UVA-photosensitized reactions within skin cancer cells. He graduated with a Ph.D. degree in Chemistry in December 2016.
                Hikari Katadai
              • Hikari studied the steady-state and time-resolved photochemistry of folic acid as a graduate student. He graduated with a master degree in Chemistry in May 2016.
                Qing Wang
              • Qing studied the steady-state and time-resolved photochemistry of 9-nitroanthracene as a graduate student. She graduated with a master degree in Chemistry in May 2011.
                Cao Guo
              • Cao investigated the excited-state dynamics of DNA analogues as a graduate student. He graduated with a master degree in Chemistry in May 2011.
                Chengwei Wen
              • Chenwei investigated the excited-state dynamics of DNA analogues as a graduate student. He graduated with a master degree in Chemistry in May 2011.
                R. Aaron Vogt
              • Aaron investigated the excited-state dynamics and photochemistry of nitro-naphthalene derivatives and of (organophosphine)gold(I) polycyclic aromatic compounds as a graduate student. He graduated with a Ph.D. degree in Chemistry in December 2012.
                Huijuan Huang
              • Huijuan investigated the excited-state dynamics of Folic Acid and 6-carboxypterin as a graduate student. She graduated with a master degree in Chemistry in July 2013.
              Undergraduate Students
                Jeff Lyvers
              • Jeff worked with Leah on the pharmaceutical project as an undergraduate. He graduated with a degree in Chemistry in May of 2008.
                Do-Yong Kim
              • Kim investigated the photophysics of pharmaceutical compounds as an undergraduate. He graduated with a degree in Chemistry in May 2009.
                Brad Sutton
              • Brad investigated the photophysics of pharmaceutical compounds as an undergraduate. He graduated in May 2009 with a B.S. in Chemistry and B.A. in Economics.
                Saeed Rahman
              • Saeed investigated DNA binding interactions with certain nitro-explosives and their derivatives. He graduated with a degree in Chemistry in May 2010.
                Leah Dodson
              • Leah investigated the steady-state and time-resolved photochemistry of the pharmaceutical compound Salbutamol as an undergraduate. She graduated with a degree in Chemistry in May 2010.
                Veronica Laos
              • Veronica investigated the steady-state photochemistry of the folic acid and 6-carboxypterin as an undergraduate. She graduated with a degree in Chemistry and Music in December 2013.
                Akash Adhia
              • Akash investigated the photoconversion efficiency of DNA-based dye-sensitized solar cells. He graduated in December 2014.
                Hannah Jenkins
              • Hannah investigated the photooxidative damage to DNA nucleotides by 6-carboxypterin. She graduated in December 2015.
                Margaret Angus
              • Maggie investigated the photochemistry of nitro-policyclic aromatic compunds. She graduated in December 2015.
                John Landschulz
              • John investigated the photochemistry of thiobases.
                Kelsie Leary
              • Kelsie investigated the photooxidative damage to DNA nucleotides by 6-carboxypterin.
                Eric Jiang
              • Eric investigated the photophysics of the thiobases.
                Brennan Ashwood
              • Brenand investigated the photophysics and excited-state dynamics of nucleobase and thiobase derivatives and of cyclometalated Ir(III) complexes coordinated with perylenebisimide.
                Anna Goff
              • Anna investigated the photophysics of the thiobases.
                Kieran Farrell
              • Kieran investigated the photophysics and excited-state dynamics of folic acid and 6-selenoguanine.
                Howard (Bradley) Walker
              • Bradley investigated the photophysics of thiobases.
                Lidia Waidmann
              • Lidia investigated the excited state dynamics of thiobase derivatives.


              Visiting Students
                María Morel
                • María visited our group for three weeks in 2009. She was trained in the use, data collection, and data analysis of femtosecond transient absorption spectroscopy. María performed transient absorption experiments in nitro-polycyclic aromatic compounds as part of her Ph.D. work and of an ongoing collaboration with Dr. Arce from University of Puerto Rico, San Juan Campus.
                Joyann Marks
                • Joyann visited the our group during the summer of 2009 to perform research. She was undergraduate student at the Fisk University, Nashville, Tennessee. Joyann investigated the steady-state photochemistry of Salbutamol, which resulted in her becoming a co-author of a peer-reviewed publication in 2011. She also presented her summer research work in several conferences. Joyann joined the Ph.D. program at Virginia Tech University in 2010.
                Lara Martínez-Fernández
                • Lara joined the group on February 4, 2013 as a visiting graduate student from the Universidad Autónoma de Madrid, Madrid, Spain. She stayed with the group for two months.
                Luis A. Ortiz-Rodríguez
                • Luis joined the group on summer 2014 as a visiting summer-research undergraduate student from the University of Puerto Rico at Humacao. He was a fellow of the Case-Fisk Partnership/ACES 2014 Summer Undergraduate Research Program. He stayed with the group for two months.
                Serra Arslancan
                • Serra joined the group on May 1, 2016 as a visiting graduate student from the Universidad Autónoma de Madrid, Madrid, Spain. She stayed with the group for three months.
                Ana B. Fraga-Timiraos
                • Ana joined the group on September 12, 2016 as a visiting graduate student from the Universitat Politècnica de València, Valencia, Spain. She stayed with the group for three months.
                Enrique Arpa
                • Enrique joined the group on March 2018 as a visiting graduate student from the Universidad Autónoma de Madrid, Madrid, Spain. He stayed with the group for three months.
                Hich School Students
                  Courtney Johnson
                  • Courtney volunteered in the Crespo lab during her senior year (2008) at Revere High School in Bath, Ohio.
                  Matthew Beard
                  • Matthew worked in the Crespo lab as a fellow of the ACS SEED Summer Program in 2010.
                  Briana Sealey
                  • Briana worked in the Crespo lab as a fellow of the ACS SEED Summer Program in 2011 and 2012.
                  Omar Mahmoud
                  • Omar worked in the Crespo lab as a fellow of the ACS SEED Summer Program in 2012.
                  Raymond Santiago
                  • Raymond worked in the Crespo lab as a fellow of the ACS SEED Summer Program in 2013 and 2014.
                  Jessica Pham
                  • Jessica worked in the Crespo lab as a fellow of the ACS SEED Summer Program in 2014.
                  Erica Truong
                  • Erica worked in the Crespo lab as a fellow of the ACS SEED Summer Program in 2014 and 2015.
                  Frankie Santiago
                  • Frankie worked in the Crespo lab as a fellow of the ACS SEED Summer Program in 2015 and 2016.
                  Daisha Taylor
                  • Daisha worked in the Crespo lab as a fellow of the ACS SEED Summer Program in 2017 and 2018.
                  Dawn Luong
                  • Dawn worked in the Crespo lab as a fellow of the ACS SEED Summer Program in 2017 and 2018.
                  Monai Wilson
                  • Monai worked in the Crespo lab as a fellow of the ACS SEED Summer Program in 2018.
                  Rayele Malone
                  • Rayele worked in the Crespo lab as a fellow of the ACS SEED Summer Program in 2018 and 2019.