The Group

Principal Investigator

Justin B. Sambur
Assistant Professor of Chemistry
Hometown: Huntington, NY


  • NSF ACC-F Postdoctoral Fellow, Chemistry, Cornell University (Advisor: Peng Chen)
  • Ph.D., Chemistry, Colorado State University (Advisor: Bruce Parkinson)
  • B.S., Chemistry, SUNY-Binghamton (Advisor: David Doetschmann)


  • 2020 DOE Early Career Award
  • 2019 Research Corporation for Science Advancement, Scialog Fellow: Advanced Energy Storage
  • 2017 Norman Edmund Inspiration Award
  • 2017 Air Force Young Investigator Award
  • 2011 NSF ACC-F Postdoctoral Fellowship
  • 2006 Walter E. Kaskin Award in Physical Chemistry

Contact:,   office: (970)-491-3096, Chemistry Office C229D

Postdoctoral Associates


Dr. Li Wang
Postdoctoral Associate


  • Postdoc, Organometallic Chemistry, North Dakota State University
  • Ph.D., Polymer Chemistry & Physics, Changchun Institute of Applied Chemistry, Chinese Academy of Sciences
  • B.S., Chemistry, Wuhan University

Research Areas: Ultrathin photovoltaics

Graduate Students

Zach Nilsson
3rd year graduate student
Hometown: La Grande, Oregon


  • B.S., Chemistry, Eastern Oregon State University

Research Area: Super-resolution fluorescence microscopy of semiconductor nanowires


Colby Evans
3rd year Graduate Student
Hometown: Edmond, OK


  • ACS Certified, Chemistry, University of Central Oklahoma

Research Area: Smart windows



Michael Van Erdewyk
2nd year Graduate Student
Hometown: Carroll, IA


  • B.S., Chemistry, Creighton University

Research Area: Single-molecule photoelectrochemistry

Merranda Schmid
1st year Graduate Student
Hometown: Fond du Lac, Wisconsin


  • B.S., Chemistry, Ripon College

Research Area: Ultrathin Photovoltaics



Travis Varra

1st year Graduate Student

Hometown: Ft. Collins, CO

Research Area: CVD Growth of 2-D Materials


Rachelle Austin

1st year Graduate Student

Hometown: Keizer, Oregon


  • B.S., Chemistry, Physics Minor, Western Oregon University

Research Area: Ion Intercalation in 2D Materials


Dakota Lorenz

1st year Graduate Student

Hometown: Fort Collins, Colorado


  • B.S., Chemistry & Psychology, Colorado State University

Research Area: 


Luke Salzer

1st year Graduate Student

Hometown: Wausau, Wisconsin


  • B.S., Chemistry & Psychology, University of Wisconsin – Eau Claire

Research Area: 


Undergraduate Students

Trista Punt

Hometown: Denver, CO

Research Area: Nanomaterial Synthesis





 Steven Marquez
Hometown:San Diego, CA

Research Area: Fluorescence Microscopy



Brian Diamond
Hometown: Bethesda, MD

Research Area: Synthesis of Materials for Energy Storage Applications



Group Alumni

Christy Cashen, graduate student, Hach

Lacey Beck, graduate student, Electrochemist at Hach

John Ottoson, CSU undergrad from 2017-2018

Austin Ellingworth, NSF REU, Summer 2018: Winona State University 

Allan Isenberg, graduate student, now at Chevron Oronite

Amy Simpson, CSU undergrad from 2016-2018

Dr. Duncan Ryan, postdoc, now at Los Alamos National Laboratory

Dr. Michael Todt, postdoc, now at Beckman Coulter

Hannah Goodman, undergrad from 2016-2017: PhD student at Univ. of Arizona

Dominic Ross, NSF REU  Summer 2017: Ohio St Senior

Lauren Isenhour: NSF REU, Summer 2017, CSU undergraduate

Group Photos

Fall 2019

From left to right – Back row: Rachelle Austin, Michael Van Erdewyk, Zach Nilsson, Li Wang, Colby Evans, Brian Diamond, Travis Varra    Front row: Dakota Lorenz, Luke Salzer, Steven Marquez, Justin Sambur












Summer 2019

From left to right – Back row: Steven Marquez, Michael Van Erdewyk, Zach Nilsson, Li Wang, Colby Evans, Justin Sambur  Front Row: Rachelle Austin, Merranda Schmid, Brian Diamond, Travis Varra













Fall 2018

From left to right – Back row: Colby Evans, Michael Van Erdewyk, Zach Nilsson, Li Wang, Steven Marquez Front row: Justin Sambur, Travis Varra, Christy Cashen, Trista Punt, Lacey Beck











Spring 2018

Group Photo 2018
From left to right – Back row: John Ottoson, Li Wang, Zach Nilsson, Colby Evans, Lacey Beck, Allan Isenberg, Michael Van Erdewyk Front row: Travis Varra, Trista Punt, Christy Cashen, Amy Simpson, Justin Sambur












Spring 2017

From left to right – Back row: Michael Todt, Travis Varra, Zach Nilsson, Allan Isenberg, Colby Evans Front Row: Hannah Goodman, Duncan Ryan, Justin Sambur, Trista Punt, Amy Simpson