Current Members

Dr. Kevin Belfield
Ph.D., Chemistry, Syracuse University, Syracuse, NY

Dr. Belfield is one of the pioneers in two-photon absorbing materials, two-photon photochemistry, and two-photon photophysics. His research spans a number of disciplines including organic, polymer, and physical chemistry, as well as optics, optical microscopy, and bioimaging.

Dr. Belfield currently has funding from the National Science Foundation, the National Institutes of Health, the National Academy of Sciences, and the Arnold and Mabel Beckman Foundation with support for a Postdoctoral researcher from the James and Ester King Foundation for Biomedical Research.

In 2011, he received the Pegasus Professor award, the highest distinction awarded to a faculty member at the University of Central Florida.

Research Interests: Photonic materials, two-photon absorption, functional polymers and materials, biophotonics, multiphoton bioimaging.

Dr. Mykhailo V. Bondar
Ph. D. Physics and Mathematics, Institute of Physics, Kiev, Ukraine

Dr. Bondar has worked at the Institute of Physics, Academy of Sciences of Ukraine, since 1985, now at the rank of Department Head.

Research Interests: Laser photophysics, luminescence spectroscopy, photochemistry and nonlinear optics of organic dyes, and multi-photon absorption processes in organic materials.

Dr Taihong Liu
Ph.D. Materials, Shaanxi Normal University, Xi’an, China; BS Chemistry, Shaanxi Normal University, Xi’an, China

While Taihong pursued his graduate studies, he worked on the preparation of fluorescent film sensors that are based on self-assembled monolayers.

In 2012, he received his Ph.D. in materials chemistry and joined the Belfield research group as a postdoctoral researcher.

Research Interests: Preparation of integrin-targeting block copolymer probes for two-photon fluorescence bioimaging and photodynamic therapy.

Dr. Binglin Sui
B.S., Chemistry, Southwest University, China.

Binglin is interested in and working on developing fluorescent probes for biologically important ions, such as fluoride and potassium. The goal is to synthesize highly selective and sensitive fluorescent probes for certain ions, which can be applied to detect the existence and even the concentration of these ions in a biological environment.

Dr. Sui graduated with the Ph.D. in chemistry from UCF in December 2014 and is conducting postdoctoral research at NJIT.

Research Interests: Fluorescent probes, NIR fluorescent dyes, 2PA fluorescent dyes

Ms. Xinglei Liu
B.S., Applied Chemistry, Shannxi Normal University

Xinglei worked under the supervision of Prof. Yu Fang during her undergraduate studies, focusing on monolayer self-assembly conjugated oligomer-based fluorescent sensing films. These conjugated oligomer-based fluorescent sensing films can detect nitroaromatic explosives with high sensitivity and selectivity.

Xinglei is a Ph.D. student in chemistry at NJIT, conducting in vitro, ex vivo, in vivo two-photon fluorescence imaging using target and ion-selective probes.

Research Interests: Two-photon absorbing fluorophores

Former Members

Dr. Xiling Yue
B.S., Pharmacy, Fudan University

As part of her undergraduate studies, Xiling did research in immunopharmacology at Fudan University, where she specifically focused on the protection and therapy effects of plant extractions on immune system.

Her studies concentrated on targeted bioimaging on cells and tissues with two-photon dyes. She also worked on the evaluation of photodynamic therapy agents (singlet oxygen generator and acid generator) on cancer cells.

Dr.Yue graduated with the Ph.D. in chemistry from UCF in December 2104 and is now a Postdoctoral Research Associate at the Sanford-Burnham Medical Research Institute.

Research Interests: Bioimaging, photodynamic therapy, nanotechnology, drug delivery technology

Dr. Adam Woodward
MChem Chemistry, University of East Anglia, UK

As part of the integrated Master's degree at University of East Anglia, Adam participated in research utilising thermal lensing to determine the viability of compounds for use in photodynamic therapy. After graduating, he spent 6 months employed in an analytical laboratory prior to starting at UCF.

Adam examined the photophysical properties of organic molecules and inorganic complexes and conducted DFT calculations to gain an insight into the processes observed.

Dr. Woodward graduated with the Ph.D. degree in chemistry from UCF in December 2014.

Research Interests: Linear and non-linear characterizations of novel compounds, where techniques include but are not limited to: room and low-temperature fluorescence, lifetime measurements, and two-photon absorption; comparison of DFT calculation results with experimental data.

Dr. Mengyuan Wang
B.S. Chemistry, Nanjing University of Technology, China

Mengyuan started her research developing two-photon absorbing materials and worked on the synthesis of functionalized nucleosides as fluorescent probes.

Dr. Wang graduated with the Ph.D. degree in Chemistry from UCF in December 2014 and is teaching at Everglades University.

Research Interests: Synthesis of fluorescent dyes, calcium probe and functionalized nucleosides for DNA analysis.

Dr. Bosung Kim
B.S., Chemistry, Kookmin University, South Korea

Bosung research focused on the linear and non-linear photophysical characterization of organic compounds, as well as conducting bioimaging experiments on cells.

Dr. Kim graduated with the Ph.D. in Chemistry from UCF in May 2015.

Research Interests: Photophysical characterization of organic dyes, bioimaging, photodynamic therapy.

Dr. Simon Tang
M.S., Chemistry University of Central Florida; B.S., Chemistry, University of Central Florida

Simon performed undergraduate research with organic photovoltaics, where he studied the effects of dopants on the efficiency and morphology of organic solar cells, winning 1st place for 2010 nanoflorida's poster presentations. More recently, his research has included the investigation of possible application for synthesized dyes within cells by means of with or without encapsulation. This has led him to be proficient in the fields of fluorescence microscopy, overall cell work, and organic synthesis.

Dr. Tang graduated with the Ph.D. in Chemistry form UCF in May 2015 and has a faculty position at Valencia College.

Research Interests: Photophysics, cell imaging using fluorescence/lifetimes, organic synthesis, photovoltaics.

Dr. Grace Githaiga
BSc (Industrial Chemistry), University of Nairobi, Kenya

Grace's undergraduate research looked at the recovery of silver metal from used X-ray films.

In her graduate research, Grace focused on the synthesis of fluorescent organic molecules for bioimaging, and the study at Janus dione derivates.

Dr. Githaiga graduated with the Ph.D. in Chemistry from UCF in May 2015.

Research Interests: Organic synthesis of fluorescent dyes for bioimaging.

Dr. Ebrahim Ghazvini Zadeh
M.S., Chemistry, University of Florida; M.S., Chemistry, American University of Beirut, Lebanon; B.S., Biochemistry, Lebanese University, Lebanon

After completing his undergraduate studies at the Lebanese University with a Teaching Diploma in Biochemistry, Ebrahim pursued his graduate studies in Heterocyclic Organic Chemistry at the American University of Beirut (AUB) under the supervision of Professor M. J. Haddadin. His research was focused on strained heterocyclic compounds, namely thietanones and related heterocyclics. His first publications was on 1,2,4-triazoles, where he discovered a simple and unprecedented route for the synthesis of such biologically relevant molecule.

In 2009, he started working as an Adjunct Assistant at the Center of Heterocyclic Compounds, Gainesville, Fl. directed by Kenan Professor Alan R. Katritzky. The following year, he joined the graduate program at the University of Florida where he continued to work with Prof. Katritzky. There, he focused on the synthesis of chiral α-amino acid-derived heterocycles.

During his Ph.D. research at UCF, Ebrahim worked on developing stimuli-responsive materials using naturally-occurring products as building blocks for applications in bioimaging.

Dr.Ghazvini Zadeh graduated with the Ph.D. in Chemistry from UCF in May 2015.

Research Interests: Heterocyclic compounds, stimuli-responsive organic compounds.

Dr. Sheng Yao
Ph.D. Chemistry, East China University of Science and Technology, China

Sheng Yao received his Ph.D. degree in Chemistry from East China University of Science and Technology (Shanghai, China). He then did postdoctoral research in nonlinear optical materials area at University of Ulm and University of Kaiserslautern (Germany). He was now a senior scientist in Dr. Kevin D. Belfield's group.

Mr. Mohammed Daoudi
M.S., University of Central Florida

Mohammed is familiar with the process of thermal and mechanical characterization of polymeric materials using DSC, DMA, TGA, tensile/compression and rheological techniques.

He is working as an Adjunct Instructor at the University of Central Florida.

Research Interests: Squaraine dyes, solid state aggregation.

Mr. Alaa Fadhel
M.S., University of Al- Nahrain 2005; B. S., University of Al- Nahrain 2002

Alaa's undergraduate work was spent on the synthesis of 1,3,4-oxadiazole compounds derived from different amino acids and measuring their biological activities.

Mr. Fadhel is pursuing the Ph.D. in Chemistry at UCF, conducting research with new photosensitizes and photo acid generators for photodynamic cancer therapy.

Research Interests: Synthesis of photoacid generators (PAG)

Mr. Alfonso R. Ballestas B.
B.S., Chemistry, La Universidad del Zulia

Alfonso’s undergraduate research included preferential solvation studies and the determination of volumetric and electronic properties of phenylhydrazone derivatives. As a result of this study, he received several awards and two journal articles have been published. He also synthesized an organic compound for trapping singlet oxygen in biological systems and studied the photocatalytic activity of nano-structured TiO2 in the production of reactive oxygen species.

Currently, he is a Fulbright grant holder, which is one of the most prestigious award programs worldwide, and pursued MS thesis research in the synthesis and photophysics of a number of important squaraine derivatives.

Mr.Ballestas B. graduated with the M.S. in Chemistry from UCF in May 2015.

Research Interests: Intermolecular Interaction in Biological Systems, Optical Properties of Nano-structured compounds, Photo-induced Chemical Reactions

Mr. Hafeez S. Haniff
B.S., Chemistry, University of Central Florida (in progress)

Hafeez S. Haniff  undergraduate research involved the synthesis and the application of tetra-hydroxy squaraine dyes in bioimaging as well as their photophysical properties. He is also looking to explore their utility in dye sensitized solar cell applications for efficient energy conversion.

He is now pursuing the Ph.D. in Chemistry at the Scripps Research Institute.

Research Interests: Linear photophysics, organic synthesis

Mr. Kevan King
B.S. Chemistry, University of Central Florida

Kevan conducted research in the synthesis at new quinolizinium derivatives.

Research Interests: Organic synthesis and lab techniques.

Ms. Fengchun Li
B.S. Chemistry, University of Central Florida

Li worked on the synthesis of aza-BODIPY dyes and exploring their applications.

Ms. My Tran
B.S., Biology, University of Central Florida

Ms. Tran conducted the synthesis of novel CT contrast agents.

Research Interests: Organic synthesis

Mr. Michael Tichy
B.S., Chemistry, University of Central Florida (in progress)

Michael Tichy joined the Belfield Research Group as an undergraduate student in August 2013 and conducted synthesis of novel potassium ion fluorescent probes.

Research Interests: Organic Synthesis, Lab Techniques