Department of Chemistry

Group Picture

Current Group Members

Primary Mentor     

Carlos E. Crespo-Hernández

Postdoctoral Scholars     

Sourav Kanti Seth

Graduate Students     

Chris Acquah
Karitza Díaz González
Nitza V. Falcón-Cruz
Rubej Khan
Tazrin Islam Tonny

Undergraduate Students     

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

High School Students     

Dharma Hutson

Honorary Members     

Maricruz Crespo
Ariana Crespo
Julián Crespo
Coco Crespo
Tobi Crespo

Former Group Members     

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


Primary Mentor


Carlos E. Crespo-Hernández

Dr. Crespo joined the group in July 2007.


Postdoctoral Scholars


Sourav Kanti Seth

Dr. Seth joined the group in January 2022.


Graduate Students


Chis Acquah

Chris joined the group in December 2020.


Karitza Díaz González

  • Karitza joined the Crespo group in December 2022. She was born in San Juan, Puerto Rico, and graduated from the University of Puerto Rico-Río Piedras Campus, where she obtained a bachelor’s degree in chemistry. During this period, she worked with Dr. Liz M. Díaz Vázquez. This research group focus in Environmental Analytical Chemistry, studying the development of methodologies for the detection and mitigation of emerging contaminants as well as the sustainable development of nanomaterials. Currently, at Crespo’s Lab she is developing and investigating thionated DNA/RNA nucleobase derivatives as prospective photosensitizer agents. During her spare time, she likes to do CrossFit and listen to music.


  • Nitza V. Falcón-Cruz

  • Nitza joined the group in December 2023. She was born in Humacao, Puerto Rico. Graduated from the University of Puerto Rico-Humacao Campus with a bachelor’s degree in Industrial Chemistry. There she worked with Dr. Rolando Oyola-Martínez as part of NSF-PREM program for 4 years. The laboratory aimed to synthesize and characterize nanoparticles to study their interactions with biomolecules for potential use in biomedical applications. As part of PREM, she also enjoyed participating in outreach activities to public schools in Puerto Rico and mentoring high school students in a materials science summer camp. She participated in the LRSM REU program from the University of Pennsylvania in the summer of 2021 where she worked with Dr. Ivan Dmochowski. In the summer of 2022, she participated in the MRSEC REU at the University of Minnesota working with Dr. Timothy Lodge. At the Crespo Group, she is working on the synthesis of thionated organic compounds for PDT and phototheranostic applications.


  • Rubej Khan

    • Rubej joined the Crespo group in December 2022. He did his Bachelor’s in Chemistry from the University of Mumbai, India. As an undergraduate student he received an opportunity for internship at the Institute of Chemical Technology, ICT Mumbai under the guidance of Dr. Anand Burange, where he worked on Catalytic application of heterogenous catalyst (HoCrO4 & K2Ce(PO4)2) for efficiently carrying out the Knoevenagel condensation reactions. Advancing his career in chemistry, he pursued a Master degree from Savitribai Phule Pune University, India, where he received scholarships from the NCL-National Chemical Laboratory & Lupin Pharmaceutical Industry based on his academic performance. Later, he was recruited as a Research Associate in the Discovery Chemistry Branch at Syngene International Limited, where he gained organic synthesis and analytical techniques knowledge. Currently, at the Crespo Lab, he is synthesizing thionated organic compounds for prospective therapeutic applications and studying their photophysical and photochemical properties using transient absorption spectroscopy and quantum-chemical calculations.


    Tazrin Islam Tonny

    • Tazrin joined the group in December 2023.


    Undergraduate Students


    Onel O. Esteves

    • Onel is doing his Bachelor of Science in Chemistry at the University of Puerto Rico Mayagüez Campus and has joined the group virtually since Spring 2020.


    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


          Dharma Hutson


            TBN

          • Dharma joined the group in June 2022 as a high scholl student from Lake Ridge Academy in North Ridgeville, Ohio.


          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.


          Tobi Crespo


            Tobi Crespo

          • As of May 2022, Tobi is two years old. He is an active and loving puppy who loves playing with his family and destroying things.






          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.


          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
                Erqian Mao
              • Erqian investigated the ground and electronic excited states of polycyclic aromatic sulfur heterocycles. He graduated with a master degree in Chemistry in May 2023.
                Cameron A. Griffith
              • Cameron investigated the excited-state dynamics and photochemistry of polycyclic aromatic sulfur heterocycles. He graduated with a Ph.D. degree in Chemistry in July 2023.
                Luis A. Ortiz-Rodríguez
              • Luis investigated the excited-state dynamics and photodynamic therapy application of thiobase derivatives and thionated organic compounds. He graduated with a Ph.D. degree in Chemistry in May 2022.
                Sean J. Hoehn
              • Sean investigated the excited-state dynamics of pyrimidine derivatives. He graduated with a Ph.D. degree in Chemistry in May 2022.
                Sarah E. Krul
              • Sarah investigated the excited-state dynamics of purine derivatives. She graduated with a Ph.D. degree in Chemistry in May 2022.
                Naishka E. Caldero Rodríguez
              • Naishka investigated the excited-state dynamics of purine derivatives. She graduated with a Ph.D. degree in Chemistry in May 2022.
                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.