Elings Prize Fellows


Shaimaa Azzam
Shaimaa was born in Mansoura Egypt where she also obtained her BSc and MSc degrees from Mansoura University. She received her PhD degree from Purdue University in Electrical and Computer Engineering in August 2020 where she worked on Nanophotonics in the groups of Alexander Kildishev, Alexandra Boltasseva, and Vladimir Shalaev. Shaimaa’s dissertation is titled “Novel light trapping and nonlinear dynamics in nanophotonic devices.” She joined Galan Moody’s group at the University of California, Santa Barbara in September 2020 as an Elings fellow.

Julie was born in Kansas City, Kansas. She graduated from University of Kansas with BAs in Chemistry and Slavic Languages and Literature. She then moved to Iowa State where she worked on photoactive small molecules under the guidance of Prof. Arthur Winter. She joined the Read de Alaniz group in August 2020 as an Elings fellow.


Brenden Ortiz

Brenden Ortiz was born in Pueblo, Colorado (USA). He received his B.S. in Engineering Physics from the Colorado School of Mines. Under supervision of Eric Toberer, he received his Ph.D. in Material Science from the Colorado School of Mines in Dec. 2018. Brenden's thesis was entitled "Accelerating the discovery and optimization of thermoelectric materials." He joined Stephen Wilson's group at the University of California, Santa Barbara in February 2019.


Yu Saito was born in Fukushima, Japan. He received his B.Eng., M.Eng. and Ph.D. in Applied Physics from the University of Tokyo under the supervision of Prof. Yoshihiro Iwasa. He defended his Ph.D. entitled "Study on Electric-Field-Induced 2D Superconductivity" in March 2018, focusing on quantum phase transitions and symmetry breaking related phenomena in ion-gated 2D crystalline superconductors. After a short-period postdoc at RIKEN, he joined Andrea Young's group at the University of California, Santa Barbara in October 2018 as an Elings Prize Fellow.

Born and raised in Winnipeg, Canada, Paul Sarte received his BSc (Hons) in Chemical-Physics from the University of Winnipeg in 2013 and his MSc in Chemistry from the University of Manitoba in 2015, both under the supervision of Prof. Chris Wiebe.  In 2018, he received his PhD in Chemistry from the University of Edinburgh under the supervision of Prof. Paul Attfield FRS and Dr. Chris Stock, where he defended his PhD entitled “Neutron Inelastic Studies of Effective Spin-½ Magnets”.


Stephanie Barbon

Steph was born in London, Canada, and attended the University of Western Ontario for both her BSc and PhD, where she worked in the lab of Prof. Joe Gilroy. She defended her PhD entitled "Structural Modification, Polymerization and Applications of Boron Difluoride Formazanates" in June 2017. She joined the Hawker group at the University of California, Santa Barbara in September 2017 as an Elings fellow. 

Born in China, Shuozhi received his B.S. in Thermal Energy and Power Engineering from Beihang University (Beijing, China) in 2008 and his M.S. in Solid Mechanics from China Academy of Engineering Physics (Mianyang, Sichuan, China) in 2011. He then joined the research group of Prof. David L. McDowell at the Georgia Institute of Technology (Atlanta, GA, USA) to advance and apply the concurrent atomistic-continuum method for materials modeling. From Georgia Tech, Shuozhi received his M.S. in Computational Science and Engineering in 2015 and Ph.D. in Mechanical Engineering in 2016.


Doriv was born and raised in Israel. At Hebrew University of Jerusalem, she obtained her undergraduate degree (B.Sc.Agr. as magna cum laude, 2008) in Biochemistry and Food Science, M.Sc. (Biotechnology, 2011) and Ph.D. (2016) under the direction of Prof. Yitzhak Hadar and Prof. Oded Yarden on the ligninolytic system of the white rot fungus, Pleurotus ostreatus. 

Eric received his B.S. in engineering physics from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (2010) and Ph.D. in physics from Stanford University (2016) for work completed in Kam Moler's group doing low-temperature magnetic imaging of complex oxide heterostructures, prospective 2D topological insulators, and induced superconductivity in semiconductor nanowires. 


Born in Greece, Athina graduated from the University of Athens in 2011 with 1st Class Honours in Chemistry. She completed her Ph.D. entitled “Shining a Light on Copper Mediated Living Radical Polymerization: Maximizing End-Group Fidelity” in 2014 at the University of Warwick as part of the Haddleton polymer group.

At the age of 4, Amila moved to Sri Lanka from Texas.  In 2009, he received his B.Sc. in Physics from the University of Peradeniya, and in 2015, Amila completed his Ph.D. at UCLA under the supervision of Prof. Giovanni Zocchi in experimental molecular biophysics.

Vicky was born in Vietnam, and she received her B.S. in 2006 from Yale, double-majoring in both Chemistry and Women’s Studies.  Vicky completed her Ph.D. in 2015 from the University of Pennsylvania, focusing on the synthesis, structural characterization, and functional testing of transition metal, metal phosphide, and metal oxide nanomaterials for applications in fuel conversion, electrocatalysis, and optical switching. 

Lisa was born and raised in Ontario, where she received her B.S. with Honours in Chemistry from Queens University in 2010.  Her undergraduate thesis focused on tertiary amines for use as switchable hydrophilicity solvents that could be applied to the recycling of polystyrene foam. 


Zac was born in Ottawa, Canada, and completed his B.Sc. and Ph.D. at Queen’s University in Kingston, Ontario under the supervision of Prof. Suning Wang. His doctoral work focused on the development of luminescent platinum- and boron-containing materials and their use in organic electronics.

Revital was born in Israel and carried out her undergraduate studies in chemistry at Tel Aviv University (B.Sc., cum laude, 2006). She received her M.Sc. (2009) and Ph.D. (2014) from the Weizmann Institute of Science, where she worked with Professor Milko E. van der Boom on molecule-based assemblies on solid surfaces and in soft matter.

John was born in Bath, United Kingdom, and received his undergraduate degree in Physics from The University of Warwick in 2008. He received his PhD from Imperial College London in Experimental Solid State Physics in 2011.


Himanshu Mishra received his Ph.D. entitled Proton Transfers at the Air-Water Interface at California Institute of Technology under joint advisement of Professor Bill Goddard, Professor Mike Hoffmann, and Dr. A. J. Colussi.


Adam Hauser received his Ph.D. in Physics from the Ohio State University under the direction of Professor Fengyuan Yang, where his thesis focused on the synthesis, characterization, and device fabrication of fully ordered ferromagnetic double perovskite thin films.


Brett P. Fors was born in Polson, Montana and carried out his undergraduate studies at Montana State University. He then went on to do his Ph.D. at the Massachusetts Institute Technology with Professor Stephen L. Buchwald.


Abram Falk received his Ph.D. in Physics from Harvard University, where he studied the electrical and optical properties of chemically grown nanostructures, including single-molecule transistors, the superconducting phase-transition in nanowires, and the one-dimensional metal-insulator phase transition.


John Franck graduated with a PhD in Chemistry from UC Berkeley, where he conducted research in nanoscale magnetic resonance at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory. John's interest lies in extending MR application to high-impact problems including but not limited to chemical structure determination and cancer detection.

Matteo Mariantoni is a Ph.D. graduate of the Wather-Meissner-Institut and Technical University Munich in Germany. Matteo was a member of the Martinis-Cleland research group, where their work on Von Neumann architecture at the quantum level for use on an integrated superconducting single chip was named one of the Top 10 Breakthroughs for 2011 by Physics World.

Jason Spruell obtained a Ph.D. in Chemistry from Northwestern University under the direction of Sir Fraser Stoddart where he worked in the area of mechanostereochemistry, designing and synthesizing mechanically interlocked molecular switches.