Robert Godin – Group leader

How I got here: B.Sc. @ University of Ottawa, Ph.D. @ McGill University, Postdoc @ Imperial College London
Starting point (hometown): Bathurst, NB

Robert joined The University of British Columbia in July 2018, after spending nearly three years in London, UK. His interests have always been rooted in photochemistry, and now he leads the Solar Energy Conversion and Spectroscopy group. Combining his love of instrumentation and careful analyses, the group is looking to develop advanced spectroscopy and microscopy techniques to gain a deeper understanding of the spatial and energetic heterogeneities in charge carrier dynamics of low cost, carbon-based photocatalysts. This knowledge allows us to understand the limitations of photocatalytic systems and establish design and preparation guidelines for the next generation of high efficiency materials. When outside of the lab, Robert enjoys taking advantage of the great outdoors, exploring the Okanagan’s wine and craft beer industries, and quietly (for now) rooting for the Montreal Canadiens.



Peter Osei Ohemeng – PhD Student

How I got here: Mphil from University of Ghana, Legon, Accra
Starting point (hometown): Akim-Oda, Eastern Region, Ghana

Degree Information: PhD student, Chemistry, UBC Okanagan

Peter has completed a two-year Master’s degree program in Chemistry from the University of Ghana and is currently a PhD student here at UBC Okanaagan. Presently, his research is vastly concentrated on tweaking the morphology of carbon nitride (CNx) as a means of ameliorating its photocatalytic performance towards water purification. Peter will also employ state-of the-art chromatographic techniques to investigate and develop standard procedures for the separation and purification of carbon nitride, all in an effort to unravel the hidden optical properties of the organic semiconductor. He is exceedingly excited to be affiliated to the SolarSpec group and is looking forward to building strong expertise in spectroscopic techniques and semiconductor photocatalysis. Outside working in the lab, Peter takes delight in singing, watching soccer games and exploring new places.



Chang Liu – MSc Student (co-supervised with Dr. Jian Liu)

How I got here: B.Sc from Central South University
Starting Point: ChangSha, Hunan, China

Degree Information: M.Sc student at UBC Okanagan

Chang has graduated from the Central South University and starts her first year of Master’s degree program here in UBCO. She is co-supervised by Professor Jian Liu in School of Engineering, and is currently working on depositing metal nitride cocatalysts on the surface of carbon nitride by Atomic Layer Deposition. Chang developed her interests in photochemistry and electrochemistry during her fourth year of university, now she is passionate about her study project! Outside of studying, Chang loves travelling, cooking and watching films.



Sutripto Khasnabis – PhD student

How I got here: Bachelor of Engineering from Ramaiah Institute of Technology, India
Starting point: Kolkata, India

Degree information: PhD student at UBC Okanagan

Sutripto is currently pursuing a PhD at UBC Okanagan. His project is focussed on exploring the area of Transient Absorption Microscopy (TAM) and allied spectroscopic techniques to study the underlying charge transfer phenomena of photoactive materials and interfaces. Sutripto wants to work on the theme of sustainable energy and ultimately contribute to the mitigation of the larger problem, which is the climate crisis. This makes working with the SolarSpec group greatly exciting. Outside the lab, Sutripto takes a lot of interest in travelling, playing badminton and identifies as a food enthusiast. He also (secretly) wishes to be a good swimmer one day.



Jessica Valentina Zarama Buritica- MSc Student (co-Supervised with Dr. Gino DiLabio)

How I got here: M.Sc from Universidad Tecnologica de Pereira
Starting Point: Pereira, Risaralda, Colombia.

Degree information: M. Sc student at UBC Okanagan

Jessica has graduated from the Universidad Tecnologica de Pereira, after which she worked as a science teacher for five years at Colegio Americano de Pereira. She started her first year of her Master’s degree program at UBC Okanagan. She is studying computational chemistry with Dr. DiLabio, and is currently working on the experimental and computational study of carbon nitride, focusing on chemical reactivity and optical properties. She is very excited to be part of the SolarSpec group and to be able to learn more about photochemical catalysts and develop more expertise in spectroscopic techniques. When Jessica is not in the lab or working with the Gaussian program, you can find her cuddling with her cats and reading a good book.



Mira Cuthill – Work study Student

How I got here: I moved to Kelowna for school after growing up and going to school in Northern Virginia, USA
Starting point (hometown): Ontario, Canada

Degree Information:  Undergraduate, BASC, Mechanical Engineering, UBC Okanagan

Mira is in her third year at UBCO studying mechanical engineering. With her particular interest in solar technology, the work of the SolarSpec team caught her eye. She enjoys learning and being a part of the team, and getting to use skills that she learns from engineering to contribute. Mira uses programming to help with data analysis and does some 3D printing work for custom tools or stands needed in the lab. In her free time Mira enjoys staying in to sew and crochet in the winter, but loves to go out and explore, go camping, and do other outdoor activities in the summer



Maryum Asif – Work study Student

How I got here: Rutland Senior Secondary, Kelowna
Starting Point: Vernon, BC

Degree Information: Undergraduate B.Sc. Student, microbiology, UBC Okanagan

Maryum is a 4th-year undergraduate student at UBC Okanagan, currently completing her Bachelor’s of Science, with a major in microbiology. She is thrilled for the opportunity to work alongside the amazing SolarSpec team, and gain valuable experience in research! Along with school, Maryum works as a Pharmacy Assistant at the Walmart Pharmacy, spend time with my family/friends and my cat Leo, as well as manage my non-profit club on campus called Angels Without Boundaries as the President, in which we raise money for underprivileged children who can’t afford to gain an education in developing countries!



Alex Barrett – Volunteer

How I got here: Graduated with Honors at Banff Community High School, Banff, AB
Starting Point: Banff, AB

Degree information: Undergraduate B.Sc. student, environmental chemistry, UBC Okanagan

Alex grew up in Banff national park giving him the opportunity to grow a strong appreciation for a healthy environment, and eventually a passion for studying clean energy.  After multiple degree switches, he finally found his place studying environmental sciences. He is currently in his last year of a BSc majoring in Environmental Chemistry and is the acting president for his course union. Alex is excited to be working as a volunteer in the SolarSpec group. His project will use spectroscopic methods to identify the flow of electrons through a TiO2 material with Cu and Pt co-catalysts, helping to better understand how material changes impact apparent quantum efficiencies. Alex hopes his experience will propel him into the field of clean energy, while also allowing him to promote interesting research opportunities at UBCO for students involved in his course union. When he’s not studying, you’ll find him working on an art projects or outside skiing, biking and climbing.



Jenna Holland – Work study Student

How I got here: Kelowna Secondary School, Kelowna, British Columbia
Staring Point (hometown): Kelowna, British Columbia
Degree Information: Undergraduate, B.Sc., Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, UBC Okanagan

Jenna is a third year UBCO student studying biochemistry and molecular biology. She has a special love for structural spectroscopy. She is excited to learn with a lab group that is spearheading innovative technology and doing chemistry that is relevant to sustainability. Jenna enjoys exploring mountains by foot, bike or ski and a good donut.



Mitchell Beckedorf – Work study student

How I got here: Transfer student from Medicine Hat College
Starting point (hometown): Medicine Hat, Alberta

Degree Information: Undergraduate B.Sc. Student, Biochemistry, UBC Okanagan

Mitchell is a second year undergrad at UBCO, majoring in biochemistry. As a child, Mitchell loved the science fair, and is excited that he can continue to pursue his passion for science with the SolarSpec group! Outside of the lab, you will probably find him skiing, mountain biking, or climbing.


And more to come!

We’re always looking for motivated students to join! Check out the Opportunities page for more info.


Group alumni

Name Current occupation
Stephanie Busse Undergraduate student at UBC Okanagan
Kaye Bennett
MChem exchange student in the Szilagyi group, UBCO
Kai Qi Undergraduate student at University of Manchester, UK
Kadie Wert Environmental Chemist, Waterline Resources
Cody Crozier Hazardous Materials Technician – Apex EHS Services
Laura Stephania Amaya Porras Undergraduate student at Universidad Militar Nueva Granada, Columbia
Nicole Alejandra Solano Banuelos Undergraduate student at Universidad de Guadalajara, Mexico
Emma Mitchell Teaching lab technician, UBC Okanagan
Ziyi Zhang MSc student at Simon Fraser University
Katharina Mazzotti Co-op placement, undergraduate student at UBC Okanagan
Jeremy Waikwa Undergraduate student at UBC Okanagan
Evan Keenan Undergraduate student at the University of Ottawa
James Kivai Co-op placement, undergraduate student at UBC Okanagan
Destiny Ellenor Quality technician, Valens
Gabrielle Albrecht Undergraduate student at UBC Okanagan
Jasper Pankratz PhD student at UBC Vancouver
Oluwayemisi Ogungbemi Undergraduate student at UBC Okanagan
Peiwen Guo Undergraduate student at UBC Okanagan
Kshitij Suri Undergraduate student at UBC Okanagan
Quinn Krahn Student in the UBC Southern Medical Program
Muhammad Ismail College professor
Rachael Curry Laboratory Technician, Accolade Wines
Abigail Law Undergraduate student at St. Fx University
Grady Hewlett Production Laboratory Technician @ BZAM Cannabis, LinkedIn
Natalie Stapleton Graduate student in the UK
Ahmed Ibrahim R&D, Covar Pharmaceuticals
Kenny Batke Undergraduate student at Trinity Western University
Cristian Kwasnek Pharmacy student, UBC Vancouver