The Fullerton Group

Susan Fullerton is an Associate Professor ofSusan Fullerton Chemical and Petroleum Engineering and Vice Chair for Graduate Education at the University of Pittsburgh.  After completing her PhD at Penn State in Chemical Engineering in 2009, she joined the Department of Electrical Engineering at the University of Notre Dame as a Research Assistant Professor. At Notre Dame, she extended her PhD work on polymer electrolytes to include applications in nanoelectronics based on 2D crystals.  She joined Pitt in the fall of 2015 and leads the Nanoionics and Electronics Lab. 

Fullerton’s awards include an Alfred P. Sloan Research Fellowship in Chemistry (2020), an NSF CAREER award (2018), AAAS Marion Milligan Mason Award for Women in Chemical Sciences (2018), the James Pommersheim Award for Excellence in Teaching from her department (2018), and an ORAU Ralph E. Powe Jr. Faculty Award (2016). Susan, her husband, Patrick Shirey, and their daughters enjoy the many family friendly activities that Pittsburgh has to offer!  (Kennywood, Idlewild, Phipps Conservatory, Carnegie Science Center, the Pittsburgh zoo, the Carnegie Museum, Pittsburgh Civic Light Opera, and great food options!)


Additional affiliations:  The Pittsburgh Quantum Institute (PQI), the Center for 2D Materials at CMU

Current Group Members

Shubham Awate joined the group in 2018 as a first-year Ph.D. student. He earned his bachelors degree in Chemical Engineering from Institute of Chemical Technology, Mumbai (India) in 2018. His research focuses on the nanoelectronic devices which use 2D materials for low power electronics. Outside the lab, he enjoys photography, pencil sketching, and theatrical acting.



Huiran (Henry) Wang joined the group at Fall 2019 as a graduate student  in Chemical Engineering. He earned his bachelor’s degree from Penn State University in Spring 2019. His research focuses on the development of the monolayer electrolyte and establishing structure-property relationships.  Outside of the lab, he loves to work out, play basketball, and read for fun.


Brendan Mostek is an undergraduate in Chemical Engineering at the University of Pittsburgh.  He joined the lab in spring of 2020 and has been working primarily on using COMSOL modeling to couple ion and electron-hole transport in 2D field-effect transistors. Brendan earned a Summer Undergraduate Research Internship from the Swanson School of Engineering to continue his work during summer 2021. Outside the lab, you can find him exploring the city, making puzzles, and playing Spikeball in Schenley park. 


Nader Sawtarie joined the Fullerton lab in Fall 2020 as a first year Ph.D. student at the University of Pittsburgh. He earned his B.Sc. in Chemical Engineering from Bucknell University, and his M.S. in Chemical Engineering from University of Toledo in 2016. He worked for Pilkington North America in R&D as a lab manager. Nader’s current research involves using ions for charge modulation in 2D metals to explore their unique and novel properties. Outside of lab, he enjoys reading, running, playing piano, skiing and golfing. Nader is also an avid Pittsburgh sports fan.


Andrew Ashmar is an undergraduate student studying Chemical Engineering at the University of Pittsburgh. He joined the lab in Fall 2021 after completing three co-op rotations in the polymer industry. His work in the Fullerton lab focuses on the development and characterization of alginate-based bioplastics in collaboration with Dr. Eric Beckman. Outside of the lab, you can usually find him exploring different Pittsburgh coffee shops or spoiling his two cats.


Priscilla Prem joined the Fullerton Lab in the Fall of 2021 as a PhD student in Chemical Engineering. Prior to attending Pitt, Priscilla earned her B.S. in Biochemistry from Old Dominion University (2017) and her M.S. in Chemistry from the University of Colorado Denver (2021). Priscilla also served as a nuclear laboratory technician in the U.S. Navy from 2011 to 2014. In the lab, her research focus is the development of electric-field sensitive polymer electrolytes for integration into reconfigurable electronics. During her free time, Priscilla enjoys playing video games and visiting major cities across the United States.


Dnyanesh Sarawate joined the group in 2021 as a first-year Ph.D. student. He earned his bachelors degree in Chemical Engineering from the Institute of Chemical Technology, Mumbai (India) in 2020. His research focuses on field-controlled ion-locked polymorphic electronics for hardware security. Outside of the lab, he loves to play badminton, do yoga, meditation, and theatrical acting.


Jenna Rogish is an undergraduate student studying Chemical Engineering at the University of Pittsburgh.  She joined the Fullerton lab in Spring 2022 and is doing research focused on the characterization of alginate-based plastics.  Outside of the lab, she enjoys camping, hanging out with friends and family, and spending time with her two dogs.

Anna Workosky is an undergraduate Chemical Engineering student at the University of Pittsburgh. She joined the lab in Summer 2022, and her research focuses on alginate-based films. Anna has completed three co-op rotations with Sherwin-Williams, and outside of the lab,  she loves to travel and play the piano.

Marlene M. Méndez-Méndez is a senior Electrical Engineering student with a minor in Material Science and Engineering at the University of Puerto Rico, Mayagüez Campus. She joined the Fullerton lab in the summer of 2022 as part of an NSF REU in Chemical Engineering at Pitt.  Marlene is making electrical measurements to characterize the time constants associated with charging and discharging electric double layers in solid polymer electrolytes.  In her free time, she enjoys cooking, reading, traveling, and going to the beach



Former Group Members

Ke Xu was a visiting research assistant professor at Pitt from 2015 – 2021 and is now an Assistant Professor of Microsystems Engineering and the Rochester Institute of Technology. He earned his Ph.D. in Electrical Engineering from University of Illinois at Chicago.  In graduate school he worked on electrochemical and optical detection of ions using graphene- and DNA aptamer-based biosensors. His current research interests include 2D nanoelectronic devices and ion doping for low voltage electronic devices. In his spare time, Ke enjoys traveling, sports, and hanging out with family and friends.



Kayla Kendricks is an undergraduate student majoring in chemical engineering at the University of Pittsburgh. Kayla worked on a project involving sodium alginate during summer 2021. Outside of the lab, she enjoys swimming, playing water polo, and watching NBA. 


Jierui (Jerry) Liang(PhD, Pitt, 2020)  earned his B.Sc in Chemistry in 2012 from Hong Kong Polytechnic University, and then earned a MS in Chemical Engineering from Rutgers University in 2015. His PhD research involved nanoelectronic devices that use transition metal dichalcogenides and other 2D materials.  Jerry is currently a postdoc at U.of Maryland.  Outside the lab, he loves winter sports, history, traveling and playing guitar.

Jerry Liang


Zhongmou Chao (PhD, Pitt, 2020)  earned his bachelors degree from NanjingTech University, master degree in Chemical Engineering at Columbia University in 2015, and PhD at Pitt in 2020. His dissertation work focused on the development of polymer electrolytes for reconfigurable electronic devices.  Specifically, Zhongmou used conductive AFM to study the formation and dissolution of metallic filaments through a polymer electrolyte for application in neuromorphic computing.  Zhongmou is currently a postdoctoral scholar in Prof. Susan Daniel’s group in Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering at Cornell University. He likes almost all kinds of sports and he claims to be a die-hard fan of Real Madrid and Oklahoma City Thunder.


Jon Bingaman joined the group at Spring 2020 as an undergraduate researcher and worked on new types of easy-to-recycle plastics.  He graduated with his B.S. in Chemical Engineering in December 2020 and during Fall 2021 he started his PhD in Chemical Engineering at the University of California Santa Barbara. In his free time, Jon enjoys singing, playing music, and spending time with his dogs.

Micah (Eli) Bostian earned his MS in Chemical Engineering at University of Pittsburgh in Summer 2020 co-advised by Fullerton and McKone.  He worked on ionomers for inducing strain in two-dimensional materials, and electrochemistry in ion-gated FETs.



Samantha Bunke graduated from Pitt in Chemical Engineering in the Fall of 2019 and is working on her PhD at Stanford in Chemical Engineering. During her time in the Fullerton lab, Sam worked on novel plastics that are easy to recycle. In her free time, Sam plays the piano, guitar, or ukulele to relax and loves to explore new places. SB_pic for bio

Abigale Gray graduated Pitt in Chemical Engineering in the Fall of 2019 and now works for DuPont. During her time in the Fullerton lab, she worked on the development of reconfigureable films via the formation and dissolution of metal filaments in a polymer electrolyte.  She enjoys hiking and cooking in her free time.


Aaron Woeppel worked in the Fullerton group from Fall 2017 – Summer 2019 and is now studying for his PhD in Chemical Engineering at Purdue. While in the Fullerton lab, his project focused on modeling ion transport through an ionomer as a means to explore fundamental properties of 2-D crystals. Aaron’s work led to co-authorship on multiple papers.  His hobbies include golfing during the summer months and weightlifting.

Aaron Woeppel

Noah Sakmar worked on new ways to make food containers easier to recycle during Spring 2019. Outside of the lab he enjoys watching ice hockey and listening to a wide range of music.20190118_153313

Alvin Fersner is a senior Chemical Engineering student at the University of South Carolina.  As an NSF-REU summer researcher at Pitt, Alvin worked on “making unrecyclable products recyclable.”  Outside of the lab, Alvin enjoys basketball, listening to music, soccer, singing and meeting people from different backgrounds.”



Jeirus Jose is a senior physics undergraduate at San Francisco State University who completed an NSF-REU summer research experience in the Fullerton lab.  He is working on a project in collaboration with Prof Jenny Laaser in Chemistry at Pitt.  The Fullerton and Laaser labs are teaming up to study the properties of a new type of ionic liquid, with the goal of imparting new device characteristics in field-effect transistors made from two-dimensional crystals.  When not in the lab, Jeirus enjoys cooking, exploring Pittsburgh, and sports.

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Brian Radka graduated from the Department of Chemical Engineering at Pitt in December 2017 and is now a PhD student at the University of Colorado, Boulder. As an undergraduate researcher at Pitt, he completed research on pneumatic conveying and gas permeability through polymer films. His work in the Fullerton lab involved using conductive AFM to study the formation and dissolution of metallic filaments through a polymer electrolyte.  His work has led to one co-authored paper in the journal, Small. In his free time Brian enjoys snowboarding, hiking, and spending time with friends and family.  


Matei Jordache worked in the Fullerton group during spring and summer of 2017 as a junior in Chemical Engineering at Pitt.  He is currently an engineer at Oxford Instruments Asylum Research, Inc. His research in the Fullerton lab focused on 2-D materials and was supported by an NSF REU.  In his spare time, he enjoys tinkering/fixing, amateur electronics, board games, and cycling.

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Celina Celmo worked in the Fullerton group during summer 2017 as a junior in Chemical Engineering at Pitt and graduated in December 2018.  She worked on an outreach activity to teach the basics of polymer crystallization kinetics to high school students. Outside of the classroom, Celina enjoys hiking, running, and watching Pittsburgh sports.

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Erich Kinder (PhD, Notre Dame, 2017) completed his PhD in Electrical Engineering in the Fullerton group in June 2017.  He currently works for Texas Instruments in Dallas, TX.  Erich developed new methods to electrostatically gate two-dimensional materials for low power nanoelectronics.  He graduated in 2012 from Bowling Green State University with a masters degree in Physics where his research led to the development of several novel semiconductor matrix encapsulated nanocrystal array devices.  In his personal life, Erich enjoys cooking, attending sporting events, reading and spending time with friends and family.

Erich Kinder

Ziwei Guo (MS, Pitt, 2017) completed his MS degree at Pitt in Chemical Engineering during April 2017. His work used ionic liquids to electrostatically gate polymer semiconductors and 2D materials.  He completed his bachelor degree in Applied Chemistry in 2015 from Central South University, Changsha, China.   In his spare time, he likes sports, music and drawing.


Hao Lu (PhD Notre Dame, 2016) completed her PhD in Electrical Engineering in September 2016.  She was co-advised by Prof. Alan Seabaugh and Prof. Susan Fullerton.  Her dissertation work focused on the development and architecture of Li-ion graphene flash memory, and modeling of steep-slope devices. Hao earned her bachelor’s degree in microelectronics from Peking University in 2011. Hao enjoys yoga, cooking, and traveling in her free time, and she is currently employed at Facebook. Hao Lu

Rachel Buck was an REU student working in the lab during the summer of 2016.  Rachel will graduate in Spring 2018 from the University of Minnesota Duluth with a bachelor’s degree in Chemical Engineering. Her research during her REU focused on characterizing the physical properties of polymer electrolyte films for the development of reconfigurable devices.  When she is not busy in the classroom Rachel is a thrower on her university’s varsity Track and Field team.  She also enjoys playing volleyball and ultimate frisbee, reading, and going out with friends. IMG_3540

Blaec Toncini completed undergraduate research in the Fullerton lab during the spring and summer of 2016.  He graduated with his B.S. in Chemical Engineering during August 2016.  During his NSF REU, Blaec worked on identifying cleaning methods for field-effect transistors based on 2D crystals. In his spare time, Blaec enjoys spending time with friends and family as well as watching Pittsburgh sports teams.


Sandhya Vasudevan (MS, Notre Dame, 2016) is currently a PhD student in Electrical Engineering at the University of Notre Dame. She completed her Masters of Science degree in Electrical Engineering with the Fullerton group during May 2016, and her research focused on nanoparticle-filled solid polymer electrolytes for Li-ion batteries. She earned her B.Tech in Electronics and Communications Engineering in 2010 from Cochin University of Science and Technology (CUSAT), Kerala, India. During her undergraduate years, Sandhya worked on a data acquisition project in the Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO). After receiving her bachelors degree in engineering she worked as a senior systems engineer in Infosys until 2013. Besides academics, Sandhya is a Carnatic music scholar and enjoys reading and traveling.

Sandhya Vasudevan

Ashley Fuller graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Chemistry from Saint Mary’s College and a Bachelor’s in Chemical Engineering from Notre Dame in 2017. As an NDnano Undergraduate Fellowship Recipient for the Summer of 2015, she investigated solid polymer electrolytes using differential scanning calorimetry (DSC) to characterize the properties of different compositions of electrolytes. In her free time outside of lab, Ashley enjoys reading, watching movies, and spending time with family and friends.

Ashley Fuller
Ashley Fuller

Eddie Hunckler worked in the Fullerton lab at Notre Dame during the summer of 2015 as an REU student focused on nanoionic memory.  Eddie used a CO2 cleaning method to remove residual photoresist from a graphene channel, and optimized the treatment conditions without damaging the underlying graphene.  Eddie will graduate from Notre Dame in Electrical Engineering during spring 2017.  Outside of the classroom, his interests include the Notre Dame Robotic Football Team, playing basketball, and learning to play the guitar.

Eddie Hunckler

Buchanan Bourdon completed undergraduate research in the Fullerton lab during the summers of 2013 and 2014, supported by two NDnano Undergraduate Research Fellowships, and continued his research throughout the school year for credit.  He used COMSOL Multiphysics to simulating ion transport in devices based on two-dimensional materials for low voltage nanoionic memory and logic.  Buck majored in Computer Engineering at Notre Dame and will graduate during the spring of 2016. Besides computer engineering, his other interests include golf, physics, and competitive bass fishing.

Buchanan Bourdon
Buchanan Bourdon

Huilong Xu was a Visiting Research Assistant Professor in the Fullerton group from July 2013 – July 2014.  He earned his Ph.D. degree at Peking University in 2011. His Ph.D. thesis was mainly about quantum capacitance in graphene field-effect transistors. After that, he spent two years researching graphene Hall sensors at Peking University as a postdoctoral research fellow.  His research interests are devices and circuits based on low dimensional materials, e.g.,  graphene and carbon nanotubes. His other interests include football, badminton, and skiing.  Huilong is currently a Postdoctoral Research Associate in the Department of Physics at the National University of Singapore.

Huilong Xu
Huilong Xu

Katie O’Neill is majoring in Nanoscience – Physics and Chemistry of Advanced Materials at Trinity College Dublin, Ireland. As the recipient of a 2014 NDnano Undergraduate Research Fellowship, Katie worked during the summer of 2014 on the deposition and AFM characterization of two-dimensional (2D) materials for low-voltage memory. Previously, she completed an internship with Prof. JMD Coey at Trinity College Dublin during summer 2013, and hopes to one day earn a PhD in material science. Outside the lab, Katie enjoys dancing, music, food and traveling.

Katie O'Neill
Katie O’Neill

Kiersten Lieurance worked in the Fullerton lab during her time as a junior at Marian High School.  She investigated the effect of humidity and electrode identity on the electrical conductivity polyethylene oxide and LiClO4.  Outside the lab, Kiersten is a competitive dancer and a part of the Miss America Organization.  In high school, she was a member of the National Honor Society and Vice President for the French Club.

Kiersten Lieurance
Kiersten Lieurance

Samuel Leung was the recipient of the 2012 NDnano Undergraduate Research Fellowship. He investigated the electronic characteristics of devices constructed from graphene and solid polymer electrolytes. Sam was a local student from South Bend, Indiana, and majored in Chemical Engineering at Notre Dame.  Outside of the lab, Sam’s interests include photography, music, and traveling.  Sam is currently a Chemical Engineering graduate student at UC Berkley.

Sam Leung
Sam Leung

Joshua Vahala was the recipient of a 2012 NDnano Undergraduate Research Fellowship.  Josh researched the electronic properties of graphene with relation to lithium ion transport in solid polymers. Joshua graduated from Notre Dame with a B.S. in Electrical Engineering (Spring 2014). His interests include tennis, food, and Rube Goldberg Machines.

Josh Vahala
Josh Vahala

Suong Do worked in the group as an undergraduate student from Spring 2011 – Spring 2013.  Her research led to one, first-authored publication.  Suong was a recipient of the 2012 Vincent P. Slatt Fellowship for Undergraduate Research in Energy Systems and Processes from the Notre Dame Energy Center, and a 2012 recipient of the NDnano Undergraduate Research Fellowship. Suong graduated from Saint Mary’s College in mathematics (Spring 2012), and electrical engineering at Notre Dame (Spring 2013.) Her research interests include finding new ways to create better secondary solid Li batteries and improving energy efficiency of electrical devices. Suong is a native of Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam and has been in the United States since 2006. In her free time, Suong enjoys fishing, football, camping, traveling, reading, and spending time with her family, friends, and her chocolate Lab dog, Bamboo.

Fall 2013:  Suong started a job at Farasis Energy, Inc. where she works on advanced Li-ion battery technologies as a Research Associate.

Fall 2015:  Suong started a job at Apple, working in their battery division.

Suong Do
Suong Do

Dean Schaetzl worked in the group from Summer 2011 – Summer 2013, and was the recipient of two NDnano Undergraduate Research Fellowships (2011 and 2012). His research on solid polymer electrolytes has led to one co-authored paper, and one first-authored paper.  Dean earned an associate’s degree in laser technology from Northcentral Technical College (Wausau, Wisc.) in 2008. He earned a degree in Electrical and Computer Engineering Technology from Purdue College of Technology, South Bend in 2013.  Dean’s outside interests include audiophile home electronics, physics, astronomy, and gardening.  In the fall of 2013, Dean joined UL in San Fransisco.

Dean Schaetzl
Dean Schaetzl

Barnali Dey completed her master’s degree in electrical engineering in August 2011, and now works for Intel in Albuquerque, New Mexico.  In 2007, she received her bachelor’s degree in EE in her home country, at the Bangladesh University of Engineering and Technology (Dhaka), then worked for LM Ericsson Bangladesh Ltd. as a solution integrator.  Barnali’s research interests are nanoscale device design, fabrication and processing, as well as imaging technology.  Outside of the lab, she enjoys writing short programs for data processing, reading literature and traveling.

Barnali Dey
Barnali Dey

Melissa Cunningham worked in the group during fall 2010 – spring 2011 when she was a junior at Marian High School in Mishawaka. Melissa won 3rd place in the Electrical Engineering category at the 2011 Northern Indiana Regional Science & Engineering Fair (right). In addition to her interest in research, Melissa says she most enjoys her math and english classes. When she’s not studying, you might find her playing hockey, soccer, or tennis, or busy in her role as a member of the Ronald McDonald House teen board.

Melissa Cunningham
Melissa Cunningham

Sarah Schubert graduated from Notre Dame in Chemistry during Spring 2012. As a 2010 recipient of a Nanoelectronics Undergraduate Research Fellowship (NURF), Sarah worked on synthesizing water-soluble quantum dots for solar cell applications.  Sarah completed internships at the D.C. Cook Nuclear plant in Michigan and at GE Energy in Ohio during summer 2011.  In her spare time, Sarah enjoys playing tennis and riding and showing her horse Toby.

Sarah Schubert
Sarah Schubert