Group members

Principal Investigator
Haoran Sun, Professor of Chemistry, Director for the Center for Fluorinated Functional Materials

Dr. Sun graduated from Jilin University (BS in 1990 and PhD in 1996) with broad training in chemistry including organoofluorine chemistry, coordination chemistry, and electrochemistry. He is an NSF CAREER grant awardee. Since Joining the University of South Dakota, he has received  4 million dollars research grants from both federal and state funding agencies through both collaborative and individual efforts. He currently hold three U.S. patents and has published 78 peer-reviewed articles.  In 2014, Dr. Sun received the University of South Dakota President's Award for Research Excellence.  Dr. Sun teaches Organic Chemistry, Spectroscopic Analysis, and Electrochemistry at both undergraduate and graduate levels.  He works on fluorinated functional materials with aim to solve problems related to energy and medicinal applications. In addition to his teaching and research activities, he also actively involves in education outreach activities including judging South Dakota state Science Olympiad competition and instruct high school students in summer research to promote STEM education.

Current group members
Graduate students
Shankar Gairhe, PhD student, after receiving his BS in chemistry from Nepal, Shankar joined Dr. Sun's group spring 2018.  He is working on preparation of new fluorinated aromatics for semiconductor applications and new methods to generate fluorinating reagents. 
Feng Yao, PhD student, after receiving her BS degree in Chemical Engineering from Beijing University of Chemical Technology and MS degree from the University of Pennsylvania, Yao joined Dr. Sun's group spring 2019 as a Doctoral student.  She is working on electrochemistry and photophysical and photochemical properties of new fluorinated polyaromatics synthesized in the group. 
Osamakon Osemwenkhae, (we call him Bernard), PhD student.  Bernard obtain his MS degree in computational chemistry with Dr. Miro at USD in the summer of 2021. Now he is working on synthetic fluorine chemistry related to medicinal applications for his PhD dissertation in which his work will involve both experimental and computational approaches.  

Blessing Ishola, PhD student. Blessing joined Dr. Sun's group in the spring of 2021 to pursue her graduate degree in chemistry. Her project involves preparation of polyfluorinated materials for semiconductor and energy applications.

Undergraduate Students
Andrew Jochum, senior chemistry major at USD, he joined Dr. Sun's research group summer 2022.  Andrew continue his research work during the academic year, working on multi-step synthesis of new fluorinated organic semiconductor materials. 
Sebastian Chisari, our REU student from Illinois in summer 2022. He worked on intermolecular energy calculations for perfluoroalkylated molecules which are potential organic semiconductor materials. 
Mason Ferrie, sophomore chemistry major at USD, summer 2022, he joined Dr. Sun's research group right after finishing his freshmen year at USD. Mason is working on electrochemical property measurements of fluorinated organic compounds. 

Former postdoctoral research associates

Dr. Siyu Mao, Graduated from Jilin University with B.E. in electrical engineering. She joined Dr. Sun's group as a MS student in Fall 2014 to study organic semiconductor devices and interfacial electron transfer problems. She continued her PhD study at USD in 2017 and defended her PhD degree in early Spring 2021. Lately her project involves fluorination reagent and method development. 
Now Siyu is working on developing next generation li-battery at the QuantumScape for EVs. 
Dr. Shanpeng Wen, Current position and address:  Associate Professor, College of Electrical Engineering, Jilin University, China

Dr. Zhongyi Yuan,  Current position and address:  Full Professor (Xiaopin Professorship) at the Nanchang University, China

Dr. Zhihua Wang, Current position and address: Associate Professor, Henan University, China
Dr. Yizhi Li, Former Postdoctoral Research Associate. Graduated from Dong Hua University.
Former graduate students
Jordan Kramer, PhD student, Joined Dr. Sun's group Fall 2015 after graduated with BS in chemistry from University of South Dakota.  Jordan is working on perfluoroalkylated supramolecular synthon for high-performance organic semiconductor materials and new high capacity battery materials.  He is also interested in new fluorination methodology development and anion-pi interactions. 
After receiving his PhD in chemistry Spring 2022, Jordan is now working on developing new pharmaceuticals at the Raybow PharamScience in North Carolina. 

Dr. Usha Tottempudi, current: postdoc associate, Department of Chemistry, University of Rhode Island.
Dr. Anji Putta, Now he is an NMR specialist at the Chemistry Department at USD.  Anji did his Postdoctoral work at the Department of Chemistry at Qatar University after graduation from USD in December 2014. 
Dr. Mohammad (Mo) BaniKhaled, graduated with his PhD degree from USD in December 2015 after working in Dr. Sun's group.  Now a research chemist.
Justin Kloster (MS), current: Doctoral student, School of Pharmacy, University of Denver, CO. 
Dr. Jeffery Mottishaw, Graduated December 2014, he is now a faculty member at the Grand View University in Des Moines
Dr. Qiang Wei,  he teaches chemistry in California. 
John Becker, Graduated with MS in Chemistry 2016. Now John works in Sioux Falls, SD for the State of South Dakota. 
Zuchen Sun, Former MS graduate student, Study at the Chemistry Department  at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln for his PhD degree since 2017.   
Former postdoc. 
Former MS student. 

Former undergraduate students

Brady Samuelson, a senior undergraduate chemistry major at USD, Brady joined Dr. Sun's group since his freshman year to working on new energy storage materials synthesis and characterization. He worked on his honor thesis with Dr. Sun on electrochemistry of polynitroaroamtics and the corresponding polymeric materials. Right after his graduation Spring 2022, Brady joined Continuus Materials in Des Moines, Iowa to work on composite materials. 

Belle Ross, a senior undergraduate at USD, Belle joined Dr. Sun's group summer 2020. Her project involves searching new fluorinated drug molecules through AutoDock, a computational tool kit for drug development.  She graduated Spring 2022 and to further pursue her professional study in medicinal field. 
Joshua Arens, 2016 Truman Scholar2018 Rhodes Scholar, worked in Dr. Sun's group since Spring 2015. Receiving his BS in chemistry from USD in 2016. After attending the University of Oxford study an MPhil in Environmental Change & Management, he Joined the Stanford University Chemistry Department to pursue his PhD degree in chemistry in fall 2021. 
Brock Goeden, USD undergraduate student majoring in chemistry. Joined Dr. Sun's group summer 2018 and continued his research work during the academic years. Brock was interested in searching new materials for energy storage during his undergraduate research work in Dr. Sun's group. Fall 2021, he joined the Medical School at USD to become a doctor in the future.


Mike Billion, now at Sanford Hospital Laboratory, Sioux Falls.

Kristen Kramlich, now at the Optometry School of the University of Missouri.

Tim Athyl, Undergraduate researcher, industrial job at Minnesota.

Matt Kibler, REU student from University of Notre Dame (Summer, 2013).
Gisele Andree, Undergraduate researcher from the University of Massachusetts Amherst.  Gisele worked in the group summer 2016.

James May, Undergraduate researcher from the University of Montana. James worked tin he group summer 2016.

Erika Moen, Summer research intern from the Vermillion High School. Erika started her intern work since summer 2015 when she was a raising high school senior. She is currently a freshmen major in chemistry at the University of Oklahoma.

Elizabeth Butler, Summer research intern from the Vermillion High School. Liz started her intern work since summer 2015 when she was a raising high school senior.  She is majoring in biochemistry at the University of Minnesota since last fall. 
 Lorenzo J. Smith, Undergraduate student from University of Wisconsin Steven Point, he joined us as a summer REU student 2018. 
Jack Lawrence, a former undergraduate chemistry major at the University of South Dakota.

Matt Pepin, Undergraduate researcher, petroleum industrial.

Former visiting professor:

 Prof. Dr. Changying Yang, Current position and address:  Associate Dean of the Biological and Pharmaceutical College at the China Three Gorges University (CTGU ), China

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