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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).


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.


Ruthie Cicotte

B.S. Southern Utah University 2020

Ruthie is a 1st year grad student from eastern Washington who earned her B.S. in biology from Southern Utah University in 2020. While at SUU she worked on constructing microfluidic devices and is now synthesizing fluorescent probes to detect ethylene here at DU. In her free time, Ruthie loves spending time outside, sewing, crafting, listening to electronic music, and enjoying time with loved ones.


Roman Shrestha

Class of 2022

Roman is a senior undergraduate student at the University of Denver majoring in Chemistry with minors in Entrepreneurship, Business Administration, and Mathematics. During his freshman year, he worked with another undergraduate student under the supervision of Dr. Balasingam Murugaverl in developing an Arsenic selective ionophore. He is working on optimizing a synthetic route to fluorescent probes for ethylene detection at Michel Lab. For summer, he is interning with Merck Analytical R&D department for evaluating different methods for solvent activities used in the polymorph stress screening and comparing efficiencies of Headspace gas chromatography and near-IR lighthouse system.

Roman is very into soccer and supports Manchester United club team. While he is not working or studying, he loves spending time hiking, and with friends and family.


Adelaide Kerenick

Class of 2023

Adelaide will be a junior studying chemistry at DU this Fall. She is just getting her feet wet in lab!


Nathan Wu

Class of 2023?

Nathan is visiting our lab from McGill University for the Summer learning some organic synthesis!

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
Current Position: CSO Colorado Chromatography Labs
Max McCallum
B.S. Chemistry with distinction
University of Denver 2019
Current Position: Graduate Student UCLA
Samir Rezgui
B.S. Chemistry with distinction
University of Denver 2020
Current Position: NSF Graduate Research Fellow Cal Tech (Stoltz group)
Julia (Jae) Bautista
B.S. Chemistry
University of Denver 2018
Current Position: Research Assistant CU Anschutz
Brandon Coles-Taylor
B.A. Lawrence University 2015
PhD University of Denver 2019
Current Position: Fish & Richardson
Mitchell Ellinwood
B.S. University of Denver 2019
M.S. University of Denver 2020

Current Position: Graduate Student University of Utah (Looper Group)
Sara McCormack
B.S. Chemistry with distinction
University of Denver 2021
Current Position: Graduate Student University of Utah

Group Photos


Fall 2018

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Fall 2015

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Spring 2021

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