Graduate Students


Rahul Koottanil Haridasan, Class of 2019

E-mail: rahulkoottanilha@chem.ufl.edu

Office: SIS 401

Office Phone: +1 (352) 294 3338

B.S./M.S. – IISER Kolkata (India)

Biography – During his B.S./M.S., Rahul worked in the Organometallic and Catalysis group of Dr.Mandal and carried out M.S. thesis on the topic, ‘Chemoselective reduction of imines to amines by a novel Cobalt(II)-complex using PMHS’. During the period, he also worked on ‘Catalytic reduction of Nitriles and Primary amides to amines via hydrosilylation using Iron and Manganese complexes respectively’. His work was primarily centered on the study of redox-active ligand supported earth-abundant first-row transition metal complexes and their utility as sustainable catalysts.


Peijie Hu, Class of 2019

E-mail: peijiehu@chem.ufl.edu

Office: SIS 401

Office Phone: +1 (352) 294 3338

B.S. – Nanjing University (China)

Biography – Peijie Hu comes from Wuhan, China. He received his B.S. from Nanjing University under the guidance of Professor. Zhong Jin. His thesis work involved the design of novel full inorganic solar cells and synthesis of several thin-film semiconductors including Bi2S3, NiOx and WOx. After he coming to UF in 2019, his interests are focused on heterogenous catalysts and the application of surface organometallic chemistry (SOMC) to investigate the active sites of heterogenous catalysts. Currently, he is working on the synthesis of early transition metal complexes for incorporation to various ceramic surfaces.


Nicole Giorgi, Class of 2019

E-mail: nicolegiorgi@chem.ufl.edu

Office: SIS 413

Office Phone: +1 (352) 294 3338

B.S. – Florida Gulf Coast University (United States)

Biography – Nicole Giorgi was born in Buenos Aires, Argentina. She received a B.S. in Biochemistry from Florida Gulf Coast University in the Spring of 2019. During her undergraduate career, she worked under the guidance of Dr. Gregory McManus designing flexible carboxylic acid ligands for the synthesis of breathable Metal-Organic Frameworks (MOFs). These MOFs had a specific application for methane capture. In her spare time, she enjoys thrift shopping and hanging out with her cats Daisy and Kiwi.


Reece Johnson, Class of 2019

E-mail: reecejohnson@chem.ufl.edu

Office: SIS 413

Office Phone: +1 (352) 294 3338

B.A. – Florida Gulf Coast University (United States)

Biography – Reece was born in Hialeah, Florida. He received his B.A. at Florida Gulf Coast University and conducted undergraduate research under the guidance of Dr. Daniel Paull. His research included the organic synthesis of resveratrol analogues and Sonogashira catalyst development via NHC ionic liquid ligands tethered to a solid support. Other than chemistry, he enjoys playing the ukulele and collecting records.


Alexander Stant, Class of 2020

E-mail: astant@chem.ufl.edu

Office: SIS 420

Office Phone: +1 (352) 294 3338

B.A. – Louisiana State University (United States)

Biography – Born and raised in South Louisiana, Alexander obtained his B.S. in Chemistry from Louisiana State University in 2020 under the guidance of Dr. Matthew Chambers. Alexander’s undergraduate research in homogeneous catalysis included exploring the effect of germanium on rhodium-catalyzed hydroformylation and the synthesis of polyketones using a palladium(II) bidentate phosphine ligand catalyst system. He is now interested in utilizing surface organometallic chemistry to improve the efficiency and viability of chemical industrial processes. On the weekends, he enjoys football, nature walks and attending Mass at St. Augustine’s. 


Alex Bottorff, Class of 2020

E-mail: wbottorff@ufl.edu

Office: SIS 401

Office Phone: +1 (352) 294 3338

B.A. – New College of Florida (United States)

Biography – Alex was raised in Missouri and finished high school in Venice, Florida. He stayed close to home and obtained a B.A. in Chemistry at New College of Florida in Sarasota. He also took part in Dr. Thomas Albrecht-Schmitt’s research at FSU throughout all four years of his undergraduate studies. During that time, he studied the lanthanide series of elements, and shadowed graduate students studying the actinide series of elements. Alex’s thesis work was on the fluorescence and quantum yield of Eu(II)-doped Sr(II) borate systems and the specific system design during the project emitted at a 93% yield. In my downtime, he enjoys board games, racquetball, fine art, and church activities. 


Kattayani Sarkar, Class of 2021

E-mail: k.sarkar@ufl.edu

Office: SIS 413

Office Phone: Pending

B.S./M.S. – Calcutta University/Pondicherry University

Biography – Kattayani was born in Kolkata, a city in the Eastern Zone of India. She obtained her bachelor’s degree from Calcutta University and master’s degree from Pondicherry University. Her Master’s thesis research included the synthesis of NHC ligands and the corresponding Ag and Ni complexes while investigating their chemical applications. Besides Chemistry, she enjoys travelling and swimming.


James Pugh, Class of 2021

E-mail: james.pugh@ufl.edu

Office: SIS 420

Office Phone: Pending

B.S. – The Citadel

Biography –  James was raised in Fort Mill South Carolina. He earned a B.S. in chemistry and a minor in fine arts from The Citadel in 2019. While at The Citadel, James worked under Dr. Rebecca Hunter conducting research on immobilizing acetolactate decarboxylase to eliminate diacetyl formation in beer. After graduation, he entered the industrial sector and worked as quality control chemist at Harrell industries, inc. In his free time, James enjoys hiking, rock climbing, and taking care of plants.


Interested in joining the group?

The Searles Group is always seeking new members who are hardworking and enthusiastic about pushing the frontiers of science.

Prospective graduate students should apply directly through the UF Chemistry Graduate Program.

Postdocs with external funding who are interested in joining the group should contact Keith directly.