Group Photo.

The Benicewicz Group

The Benicewicz Group is made up of undergraduate students, graduate students, post-doctorates, and senior personnel at the University of South Carolina. The underlying theme for our work is our ability to synthesize polymers by new methods with properties or combinations of properties not found in existing materials. Learn about each member of the group by clicking on the names above or to the right.

Zaid Abbas

Zaid Abbas

Personal Information

My name is Zaid Mohammed Abbas. I am originally from small city (Suwayrah) in the middle of Iraq. I studied my Bachelor and M.S. degree in organic chemistry at AL-Nahrain University, Baghdad Iraq. Then, between 2009 -2012 I had worked as Teaching Assistant in University of Wasit. During this period 2010 -2012 I had worked with Dr. Khalidah S. Merzah group to prepare some nanoparticles. I joined Dr. Brian Benicewicz's group in 2014 to work on research in polymer chemistry, with a focus on RAFT polymerization and polymer nanocomposites for rubbery materials.

Contact: Alajeeli@email.sc.edu

Maan Al-Ali

Maan Al-Ali

Personal Information

I am originally from Iraq, Basrah City. I have got my M.S. degree at 2007 in Physical-Organic chemistry at the University of Basrah in southern of Iraq. My Master degree focused on synthesis and Characterization of some new Liquid crystals compounds. I have joined Dr. Brian Benicewicz's group in 2015 to getting Ph.D. degree in polymer chemistry. I am currently focusing on multi-functional nanoparticles via RAFT polymerization techniques.

Contact: Malali@email.sc.edu

Savannah Chandler

Savannah Chandler

Personal Information

I am originally from Kennesaw, GA and obtained a B.S. in Biology, Chemistry, and Biotechnology in May 2013 from Kennesaw State University. During this time, I conducted two years of undergraduate research regarding the characterization of a putative virulence factor exhibiting hyaluronidase and chondroitin lyase activity in clinical strains of Aeromonas hydrophila. After transferring from another research lab for my PhD research, I joined Dr. Benicewicz’s Lab in January 2018 to work on a collaborative research project with Dr. Alan Decho that aims to further investigate the use of polymeric-based nanoparticles as antimicrobial agents for combating multidrug resistance and biofilm formation in bacteria.

Amin Daryaei

Amin Daryaei

Personal Information

I am from Shahsavar, a city by the Caspian sea in Iran. My B.S. degree is in Polymer Engineering from Shiraz Azad University, Iran. I moved to the United States in January 2011 to obtain my master's degree from Southern Illinois University under the guidance of Prof. Michael Shaw. During my master's studies I worked on synthesis and investigation of redox properties of alkoxy porphyrin complexes. I earned my doctorate in Polymer Science and Engineering from Virginia Tech under the direction of Prof. James McGrath and Prof. Judy Riffle. My doctoral research investigated the synthesis and characterization of specialty monomers and high performance polymers such as polyimides and polysulfones for variety of applications including water desalination, fuel cells, water electrolysis, and gas separation. I am currently a postdoctoral researcher in the laboratory of Prof. Brian Benicewicz and I work on synthesis and processing of novel polybenzimidazoles.

Karl Golian

Karl Golian

Personal Information

Undergraduate Researcher currently pursuing a Bachelors degree in Chemistry. I joined the group in May 2017 and have been working on the RAFT nanomaterials effort. My current project deals with the functionalization of Lanthanide series nanoparticles utilizing RAFT polymerization techniques.

Fei Huang

Fei Huang

Personal Information

I joined Dr. Brian Benicewicz’s group in 2017 as a postdoctoral research fellow, and my research focus on polybenzimidazole (PBI) type polymer synthesis, characterization, and electrochemical applications such as hydrogen pumps, fuel cells, and vanadium flow batteries.

I earned my PhD in Chemical Engineering from University of Connecticut in 2015. After graduation, I worked in University of Nebraska as a postdoc for two years. During that time, I was focusing on multi-block copolymers, and polymer based nanocomposites for gas separation and fuel cells.

Yucheng Huang

Yucheng Huang

Personal Information

I was born in Yancheng, a small city in Jiangsu, China. I got my B.S. (chemistry) and M.S. (organic chemistry) in Nanjing University. During that time, my research was mainly about stimuli-responsive supramolecular hydrogels and photo-induced organic synthesis. After graduation in 2011, I joined Jiangsu Bote New Materials Co. Ltd., China. I worked on improvement of synthesis methods and production process of water-soluble polymers including polycarboxylate ether (PCE) superplasticizer, which are widely used as essential additives in concrete industry.

I joined Dr. Benicewicz’s group in 2013. Currently my research focuses on synthesis and applications of new polymer nanocomposites by Reversible Addition-Fragmentation chain Transfer (RAFT) technology.

Contact: yucheng@email.sc.edu

Mohammad Mohammadkhani

Mohammad Mohammadkhani

Personal Information and Current Work

I am originally from Shahrood, Iran. I obtained my M.S. degree in organic chemistry at Tarbiat Modares University, Tehran, Iran. There, I worked on shape-controled synthesis of silver nanoparticles and synthesis of hyperbranched Pd nanostructures. I joined Dr. Brian Benicewicz's group in 2012 to pursue research in polymer chemistry, with a focus on RAFT polymerization. I am currently working on synthesis of new RAFT agents.

Contact: mohammam@email.sc.edu

Laura Murdock

Laura Murdock

Personal Information and Current Work

I am originally from Potomac, Maryland, a suburb of Washington, D.C. I received my B.Sc. from the University of South Carolina in Chemistry and Marine Science in 2016. As an undergraduate, my research involved the persistent micelle templating of diblock copolymers. I started graduate school to pursue my PhD in Organic Chemistry in the fall of 2017 and joined Dr. Benicewicz’s group the same semester. My research is focused on the synthesis of polymers for high temperature fuel cell membranes. In my down time, I enjoy watching sports, especially college football and basketball, enjoying a nice craft beer, and being outside.

Andrew Pingitore

Andrew Pingitore

Personal Information

I am originally from Cassadaga New York. Upon graduating high school I obtained my B.A. in chemistry with a minor in economics at Washington & Jefferson College in Washington Pennsylvania. I also played football while attending W&J and was a part of the SAACS club. I then started at the University of South Carolina during the summer (2014) as a Copenhaver Fellow working in the Benicewicz group. I am currently a graduate student studying organic/polymer chemistry. I enjoy sports, fishing, working out, as well brewing beer.

Contact: Pingitoa@email.sc.edu

Julia Pribyl

Julia Pribyl

Personal Information

I am a native of Denver, CO and received my B.Sc. in Chemistry from the University of South Carolina in 2014. As an undergraduate student, I studied linear free-energy relationships of various para-substituted triphenylsilyl chlorides and their effects on kinetic resolutions of racemic secondary alcohols. In late 2014 I joined the Benicewicz group to pursue a PhD in polymer chemistry. Since then, my work has focused on using controlled radical polymerization techniques to modify surfaces of nanomaterials and polymeric foams with polymer brushes for several applications.

Lihui Wang

Lihui Wang

Personal Information

I am originally from Shanxi province, China and came to the US in 2011 for graduate study. I received my M.S. and Ph.D. Degree in Chemical Engineering from Illinois Institute of Technology in Dec 2013 and May 2017. During my graduate work, my research focus was on developing and characterizing anion exchange membranes applied to electrochemical devices. I joined Dr. Brian Benicewicz’s group as a postdoctoral research fellow in Sep. 2017. Currently, I’m working on the development of polybenzimidazole(PBI) based membranes applied to the flow battery, fuel cell and hydrogen pump devices