Miguel Garcia-Garibay  received his B.S. degree from the University of Michoacan in Mexico and his Ph.D. from the University of British Columbia.  He was a postdoctoral Fellow at Columbia University before joining the faculty in the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry at UCLA where he was promoted to full professor.  He served as Vice Chair for Education and as chair of the Department and is the current Dean of Physical Sciences.  Garcia-Garibay achieved international reputation for work in solid-state organic chemistry, reaction mechanisms, and crystalline molecular machines.  Among other honors, he is a fellow of the American Association of the Advancement of Science and has been awarded the American Competitiveness and Innovation Fellowship, an NSF Creativity Award, the 2013 Inter-American Photochemical Society Award, the 2015 ACS Cope Scholar Award, and the 2016 UCLA Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Award.

Email: mgg@chem.ucla.edu


Marlius Castillo (Cram Teacher-Scholar) A native of Venezuela, Marlius received her bachelor’s degree in chemistry from the University of Carabobo, Valencia, Venezuela in 2008.  She then went on to Texas Christian University in Fort Worth, Texas to study and synthetize fluorescent dyes with Professor Sergei V. Dzyuba in the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry.  She received her Ph.D. in 2019 with a focus in organic chemistry and spectroscopy.  As a graduate student, Marlius was first author on two published research papers and co-author on four published papers. She was the recipient of a 2018-19 Science and Engineering Research Center (SERC) graduate research grant at TCU for her project titled “Ratiometric molecular rotors for determining phase-transitions of gels, waxes, and polymer films”. Marlius joined UCLA in August 2019 as a Cram Teacher-Scholar.  She conducts postdoctoral research in the laboratory of Professor Miguel Garcia-Garibay, studying synthesis and applications of fluorescent molecules, and she teaches Structures of Organic Molecules (14C).

Email: marlius@chem.ucla.edu.

Erik Leonhardt received his PhD from the University of Oregon in 2020 under Professor Ramesh Jasti.  In his spare time, he enjoys writing music and cooking

Email: eleonha1@gmail.com

Javier Fajardo Jr. was born and raised in sunny Southern California. Having enjoyed everything SoCal had to offer during his upbringing, he never left. In 2014, he received his B.S. in Chemistry and Physics from UC Riverside, where he performed undergraduate research in the laboratory of Prof. Vincent Lavallo. Javier then went on to pursue his interest in synthetic inorganic chemistry as an NSF Graduate Research Fellow at the Caltech working with Profs. Harry B. Gray and Jonas C. Peters. After earning his Ph.D. in 2020, Javier joined Prof. Miguel García-Garibay’s group at UCLA as a 2021 Chancellor’s Postdoctoral Fellow.

Outside of the lab, Javier enjoys exercising and exploring the city of Los Angeles for new coffee spots and eateries.

Email: jfajardo@chem.ucla.edu

Trevor Chang joined the MGG group in July 2016. Outside of chemistry, he enjoys cooking, listening to music, and playing sports.

Email: trevorchang@chem.ucla.edu

Edris Rivera joined the MGG lab in September 2016. In his spare time, he enjoys going to museums and pondering abstract concepts in art and cinema.

Email: edris1@ucla.edu

Marcus Jellen joined the lab in July 2016 and he is currently working on molecular rotors and metal-organic frameworks. Outside of chemistry, he enjoys reading, writing, and playing the violin.

Email: mjjellen@chem.ucla.edu

Vince Hipwell is a graduate student who has been working in the MGG group since August 2016. He is a fan of science, history, and jazz music.

Email: hipwell@chem.ucla.edu

Ieva Liepuoniute is a joint student between the MGG and the Houk research groups, and is interested in combining computational and experimental methods in materials research. Her current projects include exploring the energetics and rotational dynamics in molecular gears and dipolar rotors in metal-organic frameworks.

Email: ieva@chem.ucla.edu

Zhiyu Liu received his bachelor’s degree in chemistry from Wuhan University, China. Currently he focuses on dipolar rotors in metal-organic frameworks. Outside chemistry, he enjoys hiking and photography. 

Email: liuzhiyu@chem.ucla.edu

Roberto Chavez attended Santa Monica College where he joined STEM/SRI, a program to increase the number of underrepresented minorities in scientific fields. Through this program, he got the chance to do research at UCLA as a community college student under the mentorship of Dr. Miguel Garcia-Garibay. In the summer of 2019, he was awarded his bachelor’s degree in Chemistry from the University of California, Santa Barbara where he worked with Dr. Craig Hawker as an undergraduate researcher.  He came back to UCLA in fall 2019 and joined the MGG group once more to pursue his Ph.D. in Chemistry. His  hobbies include going to concerts, museums, and watching independent films.

Email: rcchavez@g.ucla.edu

Garett Ruesch joined the MGG lab in March 2021. He has a passion for teaching and discovery. In his spare time he enjoys going camping, reading, playing/creating board games and critiquing gourmet root beer.

Email: garett.ruesch@gmail.com

Alana Rose Meyer is an undergraduate student and joined MGG in January of 2020. Outside of chemistry, she enjoys soccer, listening to music, and exploring LA

Palak Jariwala is an undergraduate who joined the MGG lab in January 2020. Outside of chemistry, he enjoys video games, playing piano, and eating good LA food.  

Olivia Friedl is an undergraduate student and joined the MGG in September of 2020. As a licensed private pilot, Olivia enjoys all things aviation. She also likes to spend her free time running, cooking and hiking