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.

Maan Al-Ali

Maan Al-Ali

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

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.

Fei Huang

Fei Huang

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.

Contact: huang85@mailbox.sc.edu

Fei Huang

Richard Ly

I am originally from Fernandina Beach, FL and received a B.Sc. in Biochemistry from the University of Central Florida in 2017. As an undergraduate, I worked on the synthesis of metal-organic frameworks with the goal to enhance fluorescence by incorporation of highly conjugated, planar systems. I was also involved in the synthesis of a class of fluoranthene derivatives. I started graduate school the summer of 2018 as a Copenhaver Fellow and began work in the Benicewicz lab in the summer of 2019. My current research is focused on preparation of functional polymers utilizing ring-opening metathesis polymerization (ROMP). In my free time, I enjoy rock climbing, cooking, and hiking.

Contact: rl10@email.sc.edu

Laura Murdock

Laura Murdock

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 new polybenzimidazole (PBI) membranes for use in a growing variety of electrochemical devices. In my down time, I enjoy watching gamecock sports, crafting (especially knitting), reading, and being outside.

Contact: MurdockL@email.sc.edu

Laura Murdock

Anisur Rahman

I am originally from Bangladesh and received my BS degree in Chemistry from Jahangirnagar University. I moved to the USA for higher study. In the U.S., I received a M.S. degree from Tennessee State University in 2014 under the guidance of Prof. Mohammed Karim. I then moved to the University of South Carolina and received my Ph.D. in 2019 working with Prof. Chuanbing Tang. My doctoral research focused on the synthesis of sustainable polymers and antimicrobial biomaterials from multicyclic natural products. I joined The Benicewicz Group as a postdoctoral researcher. Currently, I am working on the development of polymer nanocomposites for applications in high-performance materials.

Contact: mdanisur@email.sc.edu

Laura Murdock

Caroline Rohlfing

I am a native of Lexington, Kentucky and I received my BS in chemistry with a minor in computer science from Wofford College in the spring of 2018. As an undergraduate I studied Fusobacterium nucleatum and its possible gene functions. I came to USC in the fall of 2018 to pursue my PhD and joined the Benicewicz group in October. My research focuses on synthesizing PBI membranes for electrochemical devices. Apart from research, I enjoy cooking, crafting, and spending time with family and friends.

Contact: rohlfinc@email.sc.edu

Laura Murdock

Eric Ruzicka

I am from Neenah, Wisconsin and received a BS in chemistry from the University of Wisconsin La-Crosse in 2016. During that time, I conducted 3 years of undergraduate research characterizing hydroxamic acids for Dr. Heather Schenck. After graduating La-Crosse, I studied materials engineering at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. I then worked under Dr. Alfredo Angeles-Boza on the electrochemical reduction of CO2 catalyzed by ReMethoxyPyroxa(CO)3Cl and ReBromoPyroxa(CO)3Cl at the University of Connecticut for an REU program. I joined Dr. Brian Benicewicz’s group in 2018 to work on RAFT polymerization for gas separation and polymer composites for rubbery materials.

Contact: eruzicka@email.sc.edu

Laura Murdock

Jason Stewart

Undergraduate Researcher currently pursuing a Bachelors degree in Chemistry. I joined the group in January of 2019 and have been working on the RAFT nanomaterials effort. My current project deals with the addition of two distinctly different brushes onto a single nanoparticle via RAFT methods.

Contact: jasonms@email.sc.edu