Principal Investigator

Hrant P. Hratchian | ACS 223 | 209.228.2478

Hrant P. Hratchian is Associate Professor and Chair of the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry at the University of California Merced. A Michigan native, he obtained his B.S. degree in chemistry from Eastern Michigan University (Ypsilanti, MI) and completed doctoral studies under the tutelage of Professor H. Bernhard Schlegel at Wayne State University (Detroit, MI) where he was an NSF-IGERT Graduate Fellow. From 2005-2008 he was the Ernest R. Davidson Postdoctoral Fellow at Indiana University (Bloomington, IN), where he worked with Professor Krishnan Raghavachari. From 2008-2013, he was a Research Scientist at Gaussian, Inc. (Wallingford, CT). In 2013, he joined the faculty at the University of California Merced in the Department of Chemistry and Chemical Biology. Professor Hratchian has served in a number of leadership roles at UCM, including as Interim co-Director of Cyberinfrastructure and Research Computing and as Chair of the Academic Senate's Graduate Council. In recent years, Prof. Hratchian has been honored with a Hellman Foundation Fellowship and an NSF CAREER award. He and his research group have received extramural funding support from the Petroleum Research Fund, Hellman Family Foundation, National Science Foundation, and the Department of Energy. Professor Hratchian’s research interests include the development and application of efficient computational chemistry methods to explore the unique properties of transition metal catalyzed processes.


Hector Corzo

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Dr. Hector Corzo is a postdoctoral researcher working jointly with the Hratchian and Pribram-Jones Groups at the University of California, Merced. Hector received his Ph.D. in Chemistry from Auburn University in 2018, where he studied Green’s functions. He did his dissertation on electron propagators with Prof. Vincent Ortiz. His current research interests are focused on electronic excited states. Hector’s hobbies include hiking and dancing, and he likes cats.

Hassan Harb

Hassan Harb is a Ph.D. candidate who joined the Hratchian Group in Fall 2015. They earned an M.S. in Inorganic Chemistry from the American University of Beirut in 2015. Hassan is working on a combination of method developments and applications that involve modeling the photoelectron spectra of lanthanide-based molecules. Their work on the natural ionization orbital model provides computational metrics to study electron attachment and detachment processes using SCF methods. Hassan enjoys coding in Python and one of their codes is named after their favorite band, the BEATLES.

Graduate Students

Ali AbouTaka

Ali Abou Taka, a Ph.D. candidate, joined the University of California, Merced, in 2016. He obtained his B.S. in chemistry at the Lebanese American University and his M.S. in chemistry at the American University of Beirut. His research involves the development of an efficient method for calculating electronic excited states, which is of interest in photochemistry, analytical chemistry, materials science, and biology. Ali developed a robust algorithm that locates electronic excited states at a feasible computational cost. His method has been used by multiple groups at UC Merced and elsewhere in computational chemistry studies. Another area of interest and in collaboration with the Neumark Lab at UC Berkeley, he studied the hydrolysis of titania and zirconia. These complexes play a critical role in chemical catalysis and the production of green energy. Ali is a big soccer fan.

Abdul Zamani

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Abdulrahman Zamani is a second year Ph.D. student at University of California, Merced. He obtained his B.S. in biochemistry at La Sierra University in Riverside, California. He is now researching spin projection models for investigating transition metal systems featuring coupled or localized spin centers.

Cristian Sarabia

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Cristian Sarabia is a Ph.D. candidate at the University of California, Merced, jointly studying in the Hratchian and Baxter Groups. He obtained his B.S. in Biochemistry at California State University, Fresno. His current research interests lie in computational mechanistic investigation of novel organic functional group transformations. In his free time, he enjoys doing community outreach, using his telescope, learning about Astronomy, rocks, and spending time with his fiancée Alex. Fun Fact: He has most of the Periodic Table memorized.

Andrew Bovill

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Andrew Bovill is a Ph.D. student at the University of California, Merced. He obtained both his B.S. and M.S. in Chemistry at the University of California, Santa Cruz in 2016 and 2019 respectively. Before starting at UC Merced, Andrew previously worked as an analytical chemist in industry. His current research evolves investigating and developing new excitation methods.

Madison Martin

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Madison E. Martin is a second year Ph.D. student at the University of California Merced working in the Hratchian lab. She obtained her B.S. in chemistry from the University of Central Arkansas, where she worked with Dr. Makenzie Provorse-Long. Her current research interest includes developing an efficient algorithm to optimize to a minimum energy crossing points, understanding the formation of hydrogen gas using cerium to split water. In her short time at UC Merced, she has received the CBC Summer Fellowship; where she and a collogue were tasked with creating a graduate student group for the current chemistry graduate students. Some of her hobbies outside of science include biking, listening to audio books, and traveling.

Undergraduate Students

Jorge Vazquez
Jonathan Loera

Group Alumni

Samantha Bidwell (Ph.D., 2021), Visiting Assistant Professor at Colgate University
Hassan Harb
(Ph.D., 2021), Postdoc at UC Merced with Prof. Aurora Pribram-Jones
Lee Thompson
(Postdoc 2014-2017), Assistant Professor at the University of Louisville
Xianghai Sheng (Ph.D., 2019), Software Engineer at Google
Stephen Flaherty
Lisa Gong (graduate student at UC Davis)
Yogev Gluzman (B.S., 2019), graduate student at University of Minnesota
Bryce Fairless (B.S., 2019), graduate student at Indiana University
Anissa Abdullah (B.S., 2019)
Preston Griffon, (B.S., 2018), graduate student at George Washington University
Susana Calderon, (B.S., 2018), graduate student at Virginia Tech University
Sheyda Partovi (B.S., 2017), graduate student at Indiana University
Nicole Giddings (B.S., 2015), graduate student at University of South Florida
Euna Chung (B.S., 2015)
Ashlee Chan (B.S., 2015)
Nicole Degregorio (B.S., 2014), graduate student at Indiana University
Victor Lee (B.S., 2014), graduate student at University of Washington