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Current Members


Current Members  |  Group Meetings  |  Photos


Michael S. Inkpen

inkpen [at] usc [dot] edu

Principle Investigator

M. Chem., University of Durham, UK

Ph.D., Imperial College London, UK

Mike obtained his M.Chem. from Durham University, and his Ph.D. from Imperial College London, UK with Prof. Nicholas J. Long and Prof. Tim Albrecht (now at the University of Birmingham). He spent two years at Columbia University, U.S.A. as a Marie Skłodowska-Curie Fellow, in the group of Prof. Latha Venkataraman. In October 2017 he returned to Europe for the final year of his fellowship, working with Prof. Philippe Hapiot at the University of Rennes 1, France. In January 2019, Mike joined the faculty at the Department of Chemistry, University of Southern California, USA as an Assistant Professor of Chemistry

Download Mike's CV


Christina Trang

trangc [at] usc [dot] edu

5th Year Graduate

B.S., University of Oregon

Christina is a 5th year graduate student with a research focus on self-assembled monolayers (SAMs). She is originally from Portland, Oregon and earned her BS in Chemistry from the University of Oregon in 2018. In her free time, she's most likely in a vintage clothing store, coffee shop, or her kitchen cooking up something that doesn't require a fume hood. Outside of lab she also loves to hike, bike, boulder, and road trip to national parks. She has a handsome cat named Pete, and her phone autocorrects "same" to "SAMs.”


Luana Zagami

zagami [at] usc [dot] edu

4th Year Graduate

B.S., University of Eastern Piedmont Amedeo Avogadro, Italy

Luana's research focuses on studying charge transfer/transport phenomena in osmium(IV) tetraaryl complexes, to evaluate their utility as single-molecule electronic devices and building blocks of extended conducting materials. Besides chemistry, Luana has a strong passion for cooking healthy food and outdoor workouts. She loves spending time with her family and traveling to new places trying foods from different cultures. She also loves crafting to sew toys and clothes, or to create unique objects, for herself, her family, and her friends.


Clarissa Olivar

olivarma [at] usc [dot] edu

4th Year Graduate

B.A., University of California, Santa Barbara

Clarissa's home town is Winnetka, CA. She enjoys traveling, visiting museums, eating fresh pasta on the beach, and reading random Wikipedia pages. She also really loves spending time with her two dogs: Hippie and Calvin. 


Tom Czyszczon-Burton

czyszczo [at] usc [dot] edu

4th Year Graduate

M.Chem., Durham University, UK

Tom is from the United Kingdom. He was born in Sheffield, Yorkshire, where he grew up and completed the majority of his education before moving to Durham in order to undertake an M.Chem. at Durham University - this included a research project under Prof. John Evans investigating solid-state ferroelectric materials. Following graduation from Durham in 2019, Tom made the trip "across the pond" to begin his Ph.D. at USC where he joined the Inkpen lab and has since never looked back. Tom's current research in the Inkpen lab utilizes STM break junction techniques to investigate electron transport on a single-molecular level. Tom is also an avid sports fan and traveler who enjoys keeping up with his boyhood team, Sheffield United, or finding the next LA food/drink hotspot in his free time.


Jazmine Prana

prana [at] usc [dot] edu

2nd Year Graduate

B.S., Montclair State University

Jazmine received her B.S. in Chemistry from Montclair State University in 2021. Originally from the Jersey shore, she enjoys a good beach and boardwalk. In her free time she can be found watching trashy reality TV or reading romance novels. When she ventures outside it is usually to explore a new coffee shop or lunch spot. 


Cynthia Avedian

cavedian [at] usc [dot] edu

1st Year Graduate

B.S., California State University, Northridge

Cynthia earned her B.S. in Chemistry from California State University Northridge after transferring from Glendale Community College. During those years, she conducted research on nanoscale molecular characterization of photoresist surfaces and synthesizing dendrimers with specific biological benefits. Having grown up in LA with a love for music, she actively takes advantage of the endless concerts held nearby. She also enjoys spending her time reading, swimming, and painting.


Sawyer Lazar

slazar [at] usc [dot] edu

Beckman Scholar, Junior


Sawyer is a double major in Chemistry and Archaeology here at USC. He hails from Ventura County but now enjoys his time in LA. When he's not in class or the lab, Sawyer enjoys swimming, singing classical music, and going to museums. 


Seongje Park

dpark808 [at] usc [dot] edu



Flying from across the Pacific Ocean from South Korea, Seongje is majoring in Chemistry here at USC. An avid music listener, Seongje spends too much of his free time listening to various genres including dance, funk, and rock.


Leopold Kim

leopoldk [at] usc [dot] edu



Leopold is from his hometown of North Hills, CA, where he likes to cook and often looks for new food and restaurants to try. In his free time, he can be found discussing tech news with friends or pretending to know the answers to game shows.

Postdoc Alumni

2020-21: Dr. Nils Rotthowe (Ph.D., University of Konstanz), Marie Skłodowska Curie Fellow

Graduate Student Alumni

2019-21: Joseph Parr, M.Sci. - Imperial College London

Undergraduate Student Alumni

2022: Kenneth Nguyen, Cerritos College Intern

2022: Grace Homann

2021: Jeremy Nunez, Cerritos College Intern

2020-21: Tejpal Randhawa

2020-21: Daniel Cardenas

2019-22: Sully Chen, B.S. Biochem. - Duke University

2019-21: Zelin Miao, M.S. Mater. Eng. - Boston University

Interested in Joining?

We are always interested in hearing from potential new group members, please contact Mike directly (inkpen at usc dot edu).

Prospective Undergraduate Students

Undergraduate research provides a fantastic opportunity to deepen your scientific understanding and develop your problem solving and practical laboratory skills. Such experiences are highly recommended for those interested in chemistry careers, and they may even form part of your course requirements at USC. Financial support is often available through URAP or Provost's Fellowships. Please don't hesitate to introduce yourself by email and briefly describe your interests.

Prospective Graduate Students

You can read more about and directly apply to the USC Chemistry Ph.D. Program through the Chemistry Department webpage. We are always happy to discuss our research with interested applicants, but cannot answer questions about admissions. 

Prospective Postdocs

Internal postdoctoral funding is not available unless explicitly advertised, but we would be delighted to collaborate on external funding applications (e.g., for Marie Skłodowska-Curie Global Postdoctoral Fellowships). In your email, please include a brief discussion of your research background and why you are interested in working with us, attaching your CV and 2-3 publications.

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