Brian W. Michel

Principal Investigator

Brian Michel received his B.S. in Chemistry from Western Washington University in 2006. At WWU, Brian performed research under Prof. James Vyvyan working towards the total synthesis of Heliannuols C & E. Brian was then drawn to the snow and research at the University of Utah, where he completed his Ph.D. with Prof. Matthew Sigman. In the Sigman Lab, Brian developed a highly selective variant of the Wacker oxidation. During this time he gained an appreciation for using mechanistic insight to develop and optimize reactions. In 2011, Brian moved west to work with Prof. Chris Chang at the University of California, Berkeley, where he designed small molecule fluorescent probes for the detection of carbon monoxide in live cells and developed a passion for detecting biologically relevant analytes based on biocompatible reactivity.

Outside of the lab Brian enjoys snowboarding, golfing, and spending time with his wife and kids.

Graduate Students

Undergraduate Students

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Sacha Toussaint

B.S. Southern Utah University 2015

Sacha Toussaint is a fifth year PhD student working on fluorescent probe design. In his undergraduate research he worked with microfluidic devices and silver nanoparticles.  Since starting at DU he has earned the “Top Research Award” from the University of Denver Research and Performance Summit recognizing his efforts thus far. He enjoys hiking around the Denver area with his wife and dog, Cash.

Check out his Instagram account (@orgochemist).


Mitchell Ellinwood

B.S. University of Denver 2019

I am from a ranch in Mack, Colorado. I enjoy playing guitar, reading, camping, hiking, horseback riding, and pretty much everything outside. I spend my spare time with cows on top of a mountain. 


Morgan Schneider

B.S. St. Louis University 2019

Morgan is from southern Illinois and earned her B.S. in Chemistry degree from Saint Louis University where she did research on the synthesis of DNA intercalators. Now a graduate student at DU, she is working on the synthesis of fluorescent probes for cellular ethylene detection. Other than being in lab, she enjoys playing sports, walking dogs, and anything in the Rocky Mountains.

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Samir Rezgui

Class of 2020

I am pretty committed to chemistry at this point because I have benzene tattooed on my neck. I might also be one of the only chemists with a face tattoo. In my free time I make rap music on soundcloud. Check it out: https://soundcloud.com/user-359210046-362701858


Sara McCormack

Class of 2021

Sara is a third year undergrad at DU and is from Land O’ Lakes, Wisconsin. She enjoys skiing, hiking, camping, and of course chemistry.

Rotation Students


Possibly You!

Degree from your awesome school!

You love chemistry, research, and want to do some cool science.

Find info on how to apply here.


Group Alumni

Ryan Calkins
B.S. in Biology and Chemistry
University of Denver 2016
Current Position: Medical School at University of Colorado
Lusha Xu
M.S. Chemistry
University of Denver 2016
Current Position: Glycoscience
Florence (Flo) Bachrach
B.S. Chemistry with distinction
University of Denver 2016
Current Position: Gilead Process
Ben Johnson
B.S. Chemistry
University of Denver 2017
Current Position: Masters in Anatomy Program at UNMC
Westley Cruces
M.A. Chemistry
University of Denver 2019
Julia (Jae) Bautista
B.S. Chemistry
University of Denver 2018
Current Position: Research Assistant CU Anschutz
Max McCallum
B.S. Chemistry with distinction
University of Denver 2019
Current Position: Graduate Student UCLA
Brandon Coles-Taylor
B.A. Lawrence University 2015
PhD University of Denver 2019
Current Position: Fish & Richardson

Group Photos

Fall 2018

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Fall 2015

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