Prof. Leanne D. Chen (Curriculum Vitae)

Group Leader


Growing up, Leanne was mesmerized by mathematics and loved solving puzzles with her grandfather. She found her affinity for chemistry while attending Queen’s University and had the opportunity to combine these two subjects for an NSERC-USRA project, a collaboration between Nicholas J. Mosey and Suning Wang. She chose to continue developing her expertise in Computational Chemistry during her PhD at Stanford University, where she led efforts on unravelling the discharge mechanisms of batteries and the second-order effects of electrolyte in catalysis under the tutelage of Jens K. Nørskov. She then moved to the California Institute of Technology for her Postdoctoral Scholarship in the group of Thomas F. Miller III. Despite (or perhaps because of) the perpetual sunshine in California, she missed the snow too much and made her way back to Canada to start her independent career. In her spare time, Leanne enjoys taking photos, playing the piano, and finding ways to be creative in all aspects of life.

Dr. Rachelle M. Choueiri (Google Scholar)

Postdoctoral Fellow


Rachelle began being seriously interested in chemistry when her high school teacher taught everyone in class how to hold fire in their hands (without getting burned!) and made a hydrogen gas powered rocket out of a Pringles can that dented the ceiling tiles (the mark is still there!). Since then, her interest has transitioned to decidedly less fire- and explosion-related topics, including studying zero valent iron nanoparticles for wastewater remediation, the colloidal self-assembly of gold nanoparticles with polymeric ligands, and most recently, to simulating different aspects of heterogeneous catalysis with computational chemistry methods. Aside from her scientific adventures, Rachelle is an avid reader, foreign language dilettante, and aspiring food critic.

Austin Pounder

Graduate Researcher (co-supervised with the Tam Group)


Austin grew up in a small town in City of Kawartha Lakes, Ontario. He moved to Guelph to pursue his BSc in Biological & Pharmaceutical Chemistry. His first taste of research was in the group of Prof. Adrian L. Schwan where he spent a summer investigating sulfenate chemistry. As a fourth-year researcher, Austin worked under the supervision of Prof. William Tam exploring acid-catalyzed reactions of cyclopropanated heterobicycles. After graduating with his BSc, Austin continued as a member of the Tam group for his PhD studies where he currently researches synthetic organic methodology and transition metal catalysis. More recently, Austin has focused on combining experimental and computational organic chemistry as a strategy to improve chemical processes and understand reaction mechanisms. When not in the lab, Austin enjoys cooking new recipes, craft beer, and weightlifting.

Kayla Snyder

Graduate Researcher (co-supervised with the Thomas Group)


Kayla initially planned to be a teacher but realized that her true passion was a combination of teaching and research after being offered an NSERC scholarship for graduate school. Kayla enjoys working with anything related to sustainability: her current research is a combination of studying molecular perturbations on self-assembled monolayers (SAMs) with infrared reflection absorption spectroscopy (IRRAS) as well as density functional theory. SAM research can potentially impact a wide variety of sectors including energy, electronics, and biological applications, however measuring the surface of a SAM without inducing changes in the interface is a present scientific challenge. Her hope is to automate an infrared method that gives the spectrum of a SAM surface isolated from the bulk of the SAM. She spends her spare time playing with her children and squeezing in research/teaching contracts.

Stephen W. Tatarchuk

Graduate Researcher


Stephen originally decided to pursue an education in chemistry due to the balance of highly theoretical and practical concepts. During his BSc and MSc, he worked on research projects focused on plasmonic nanocomposites and electrochemical catalysis as well as using different computational techniques to explain and predict the experimental behaviour of solid-state materials. Stephen’s current research focuses on applying computational methods to help develop a deeper theoretical understanding of electrochemical catalysis systems for carbon dioxide reduction, urea oxidation, and ammonia oxidation reactions. Stephen spends his free time enjoying the outdoors, building computers, and working on various hobby projects.

Undergraduate Researchers

Shayne Johnston

Group Alumni

Siobhan Liu (F20–S21, GR)

Krish Kiran Valluru (F20–S21, UR)

Mirna Ghattas (F20–W21, UR)

Katrina Ruzicka (F20–W21, UR)

Alexander Sweett (W21, UR)

Lina Ghulam (F20, GR)

Fiona Bishop (F20, UR)

Megan Farkas (F20, UR)

Laura Martin (F20, UR)

Cassandra Rooke (F20, UR)

Taylor Rounds (F20, UR)

Lindsey Starkman (F20, UR)

Chelsea D’Cruz (S20, UR)

Michi the Akita Inu

Lab Mascot


The Akita Inu (秋田犬 or “dog from Akita Prefecture”) became famous through the true story of Hachikō, a testament to the gentle and loyal nature of this breed. The story is retold in the Futurama episode “Jurassic Bark”, the ending of which is likely better known as the most heartrending moment of all time—even by Futurama standards.

Michi is now on Instagram!