Board of Advisors

ChemTalk is actively growing our advisory board. Contact us if you are interested.

Fiona Lin, PhD

Vaccine Process Development and Manufacturing Lead, Bill & Melinda Gates Medical Research Institute

Fiona received her undergraduate and master’s education at UNC-Charlotte, UC-Berkeley and postdoc at UC-Irvine. She is currently the Vaccine Process Development and Manufacturing Lead at Bill & Melinda Gates Medical Research Institute, contributing to efforts to improve access to life-saving vaccines and therapeutics for low- and middle-income countries.

Outside of work and being a mother to two young children, Fiona enjoys hiking in the mountains or along the coastal trails around the SF Bay Area with her family. She also tries to cultivate her newfound pandemic hobby of coffee roasting, learning about alternative photography techniques (cyanotype and Van Dyke prints), both of which involve very interesting chemistry, and playing board games with her family.

She spent more than a decade in the biopharm industry specializing in analytical development and quality control. Fiona also had a brief stint working as a Technology Specialist / Patent Agent at a global IP law firm. Her proudest achievement as a scientist to-date was her contribution to the development of the highly complex 20-valent Pneumococcal

Wilson Hago, PhD

Chair-Elect, ACS Los Padres Section; CEO Hago Energetics

Wilson Hago, educated at Harvard, Brown (PhD), and UCSB, is the CEO and founder of Hago Energetics, and the past chair and chairperson-elect of the Los Padres section of the American Chemical Society. Living near the ChemTalk headquarters and the ChemTalk LiveLab, Wilson is able to regularly meet with many members of the team in person.

Lauren Zarzar, PhD

Assistant Professor of Chemistry, Pennsylvania State University
Lauren received her undergraduate degree at the University of Pennsylvania, and her PhD in chemistry from Harvard University. She currently runs the Zarzar Lab at Pennsylvania State University, focusing on studying stimuli-responsive materials, understanding the behavior of active matter, and developing laser fabrication methods to synthesize and pattern both inorganic and organic materials. Lauren is passionate about supporting women in science and science communication.

Bruce Weiller, PhD

Managing Partner, Weiller Capital Advisors & Due Diligence Chemical Angel Network
Bruce received his BA in chemistry from Clark University and his PhD in physical chemistry from Cornell. After a long stint as a senior scientist at Aerospace Corporation, he moved to Weiller Capital Advisors as its chief investment officer and joined the due diligence teams of the Chemical Angel Network and Tech Coast Angels – both focusing on early-stage investment opportunities. Bruce resides in Santa Monica, California.

Selma Duhović, PhD

Scientist, Kebotix

Dr. Selma Duhović is an entrepreneurially oriented chemist. She received her Ph.D. from UCLA, where studied electrochemical, spectroscopic, and magnetic behavior of organouranium complexes for activation of heterocyclic nitrogen- and sulfur-based contaminants in crude oil. She conducted her postdoctoral work at MIT, where she designed highly porous materials for photovoltaic applications and air conditioners that run on heat and water instead of electricity and ozone-depleting refrigerants. Currently, Dr. Duhović works at Kebotix, a Harvard spinout that is using AI and robotics to accelerate chemical research and development.

She enjoys talking with students and graduates interested in chemistry, graduate school, PhD work, research, entrepreneurship, investing, startups, and the business of science.

Michael Sobolewski

CEO, EMS Acquisition Holdings
Michael Sobolewski is an accomplished Senior Executive and Board Member with more than 25 years of success across the aerospace & defense, medical device, industrial, commercial and IoT industries.Throughout his executive career, Michael has held Senior leadership positions at public, private and private equity companies including Sparton Corporation, CTS Corporation, Conelec, Be Green Packaging, WET Design and GDM Electronic & Medical.Michael is currently the CEO of EMS Acquisition Holdings Inc, a Private Equity backed company building a national…

Michael Evans, PhD

Teacher of Chemistry, Georgia Institute of Technology

Michael Evans graduated from the University of Kentucky in 2008 with a B.S. in Chemistry. At the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign he studied organic chemical education under the guidance of Professor Jeffrey Moore. In 2013, he graduated from Illinois with a Ph.D. in Chemistry and joined the faculty of the Georgia Institute of Technology, where he serves as a Senior Academic Professional in the School of Chemistry and Biochemistry. In this role, he teaches introductory chemistry laboratories, organic chemistry courses, freshman seminars, and special topics courses. He also serves as an undergraduate academic advisor and serves on Institute and School committees. Outside of work, he enjoys running, chess, video games, and hanging out with his wife Jess and two children, Wallace and Winston.

Ron Furstenau

Retired Professor of Chemistry, Air Force Academy
Ron received his doctorate in chemistry from the University of Nebraska, Lincoln. During his tenure as a professor at the Air Force Academy, Ron was very active in STEM education and outreach, performing many chemistry shows throughout Colorado. “He is no doubt one of the best chemistry educators in the country who can motivate anyone to be interested in the subject and material.” – Col. Mike Van Valkenburg, Chemistry Department head.

Dr. Philipp Zerbe, PhD

Associate Professor, UC Davis

Philipp Zerbe received his PhD from the Ruhr-University Bochum (Germany) and postdoctoral training at the University of British Columbia (Vancouver, Canada). Philipp now is an Associate Professor at UC Davis, and his research group is interested in the biosynthesis, regulation, function and engineering of terpenoid metabolism in bioenergy, food and medicinal plants. Beyond terpenoids, Philipp is passionate about developing student mentorship and international exchange programs

Professor Elizabeth Bess, PhD

Professor of Chemistry and Chemical Biology, UC Irvine

Professor Elizabeth Bess leads her chemical biology lab at UC Irvine to uncover how the trillions of bacteria in human intestines—the human gut microbiota—can cause some diseases and prevent others. Her research team also mines this collection of bacteria to discover novel chemical reactions. Elizabeth earned her PhD in organic chemistry working with Professor Matt Sigman at the University of Utah. She trained in microbiology as an HHMI postdoctoral fellow of LSRF with Professor Peter Turnbaugh at UC San Francisco. As an educator, Elizabeth’s organic chemistry and chemical biology courses are infused with opportunities for students to exercise creative expression that promotes engaged learning in STEM courses.

Jennifer Whiles Lillig, PhD

Associate Dean of Academic Programs, Sonoma State University

Jenn Lillig received a BS in Chemistry from Harvey Mudd College and a PhD from the University of California San Diego. As a Professor of Chemistry at Sonoma State University, Jenn taught across the lower and upper division curriculum with an emphasis on critical thinking and research skills. She also worked with undergraduate research students studying the mechanism of action of antibiotic peptides utilizing a variety of wet-lab and spectroscopic techniques. She has since moved into an administrative position as Associate Dean of Academic Programs where she supports faculty from across the university in the development of courses and programs centered on equitable student success. She is passionate about increasing students’ sense of belonging in STEM and the university overall.

Dr. Scott Cushing, PhD

Assistant Professor, Caltech

Scott Cushing received his B.S. and Ph.D. at West Virginia University before becoming an DOE EERE postdoctoral fellow at U.C. Berkeley. Scott is now an Assistant Professor at Caltech where his group focuses on the development of new ultrafast science instrumentation, such as involving X-rays, electrons, and entangled photons. Scott has developed programs at Caltech around pertinent social issues such as mental health in the sciences and a rapidly growing, year-round mentorship program between undergraduate students at Los Angeles area MSI’s and Caltech graduate students aimed at improving the STEM pipeline.

ChemTalk Supporters

Our supporters are a huge help for ChemTalk, helping us network and spread the word about the great things the team is accomplishing.

Jen Heemstra

Professor of Chemistry, Emory University

Dr. Heemstra considers herself a huge supporter of ChemTalk and it’s mission. Her interview with ChemTalk appears on both our podcast and are youtube channel.

Jen Heemstra received her B.S. in Chemistry from the University of California, Irvine, in 2000. At Irvine, she performed undergraduate research with Prof. James Nowick investigating the folding of synthetic beta-sheet mimics, which instilled in her a love of supramolecular chemistry. Jen then moved to the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign, where she completed her Ph.D. with Prof. Jeffrey Moore in 2005 studying the reactivity of pyridine-functionalized phenylene ethynylene cavitands…

Eric Scerri, PhD

Leading Historian & Philosopher of Chemistry

Eric Scerri is the founding editor of the Springer journal, Foundations of Chemistry. He was educated in the UK and moved to the US in 1995 as a postdoctoral fellow at Caltech in Pasadena. He is currently in his twenty-second year in the Chemistry Department at UCLA where he teaches chemistry as well as history and philosophy of science. Scerri is the author/editor of fourteen books (more info on his website) including eight with Oxford University Press among which are – A Very Short Introduction to the Periodic Table (2011), A Tale of Seven Elements (2013) and A Tale of Seven Scientists (2016), The Periodic Table, Its Story and Its Significance, 2nd edition, (2020) and What is a Chemical Element? (2020) . Scerri has also published about 200 scholarly articles on chemistry, chemical education and history and philosophy of the physical sciences.

Scott Beaver, PhD

Creator of Chemistry Courses
Scott Beaver, Ph.D., or “Dr Scott,” has a doctorate degree in chemical engineering from the University of California. He currently makes fun, approachable college prep courses for homeschoolers, home educators, and teachers in four continents and most English-speaking countries. He received teacher training as a Fellow of the National Science Foundation (NSF), taught college chemistry at Santa Rosa Junior College and others, designed atmospheric chemistry research projects, provided air quality regulatory guidance, and founded environmentally friendly chemicals startups. When he’s not sparking the interest of science in eager minds, he’s often found travelling to remote beaches and mountaintops. More info in his bio.