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Research Professors

Dr. Ian D. Tomlinson
Ian obtained his B.Sc. in 1985 from Essex University and his Ph.D. in Biological Chemistry in 1989 from Essex University in the UK. After many years in industry at ASTRA (London and Sweden) and at Key Organics he took a sabbatical and received an M.Sc. from Cranfield University in Environmental Diagnostics in 2000. After which came to the States to work in our group on the nano-neuro project. His principle role is to design and synthesize novel biologically active ligands that can be attached to nanocrystals and used as biological fluorescent probes in neurology.

Dr. James R. McBride

James received his B.S. from Florida Southern College in 1999 and his Ph.D. from Vanderbilt in 2004. James’ interests lay in using Z-Contrast Scanning Transmission Microscopy (Z-STEM), Energy Dispersive Spectroscopy (EDS) and Electron Energy-Loss Spectroscopy (EELS) to elucidate the atomic structure and composition of colloidal core and core/shell nanocrystals and their surfaces. Rutherford Back-Scattering has also been used to analyze the bulk composition of the core/shell samples and to identify impurities found in the semi-conducting polymer used in our photovoltaic devices. James manages and trains graduates students on the Tecnai Osiris TEM/STEM at Vanderbilt.


Postdoctoral Researcher

Dr. Oleg Kovtun

Dr. Oleg Kovtun, a native of Lviv, Ukraine, received his B. S. in Chemistry summa cum laude from Murray State University in 2007, followed by a Ph.D. in Chemistry from Vanderbilt University in 2013, where he pursued studies of the dopamine transporter membrane dynamics using antagonist-conjugated quantum dots under the direction of Dr. Sandy Rosenthal and Dr. Randy Blakely. Following his graduate work, Dr. Kovtun did a short stint as an analytical GC/GC-MS/HPLC chemist at McCoy & McCoy Laboratories, where he was responsible for providing efficient and accurate results on samples collected for regulatory compliance reporting and industry QC. Dr. Kovtun returned to the lab in 2015 to pursue postdoctoral training under the direction of Dr. Rosenthal. The central aim of his current research is to illuminate the molecular factors underlying neurotransmitter transporter and receptor dynamic dysregulation in mental illness through the use of quantum dot-based superresolution microscopy techniques.

Graduate Students

Cara Bradsher
Cara received her B.S. in Chemistry from Furman University in 2016 and joined the Rosenthal lab in 2017. Her current research involves enhancement of graded alloy CdSSe quantum dot synthesis as well as ferroelectric Sb-CdSSe aggregate synthesis.
Sophia Click

Sophia received her B.A. in Chemistry from Knox College in 2016. After spending a year researching giant core-shell quantum dots with Jennifer Hollingsworth at the Los Alamos National Laboratory, she started her graduate studies at Vanderbilt and joined the Rosenthal lab. Her research focuses on elucidating the relationship between fluorescent blinking and structural defects in InP/ZnSe and CdSe/CdS core/shell quantum dots.
Talitha Frecker

Talitha received her B.S. in Chemistry from the University of St. Francis (Fort Wayne) in 2013. Her current research involves quantum yield enhancement and incorporating ultrasmall white light emitting CdSe nanocrystals into different polymer matrices as the intrinsic fluorophore in LED devices.
Nathaniel Freymeyer

Nathaniel received his B.A. in chemistry from Franklin and Marshall College in 2014 and joined the Rosenthal lab in 2015. His current research utilizes ultrafast fluorescence upconversion spectroscopy to study the charge carrier dynamics of semiconductor quantum dots. He is interested in manipulating nanocrystal surface and chemical composition to exhibit control over charge carrier behavior, tailoring nanocrystal structure to exhibit the desired properties for specific applications.
Devin Taylor
Devin received his B.S. in Chemistry from the University of Maryland, Baltimore County (UMBC) and joined the Rosenthal lab in 2017. His current research involves applications of physical and biological chemistry to investigate the trafficking of the Muscarinic-1 (M1) Acetylcholine Receptor and its variants in neuroblastoma (N2a) cells. This receptor can be properly tagged through the use of a hemagglutinin (HA) fusion tag and streptavidin-coated quantum dots.
Lucas Thal


Lucas “Louie” Thal received a B.S. in Chemistry and a B.S. in Biochemistry and Cellular & Molecular Biology from University of Tennessee-Knoxville in 2015. Here in the Rosenthal lab, Lucas puts to use core/shell quantum dot conjugates to investigate regulation and trafficking mechanisms of the autism/bipolar-associated A559V dopamine transporter (DAT) coding variant. Properties he is interested in probing include surface dynamics, oligomerization, and compartmentalization. In the summer of 2016, Lucas was awarded the NIH Chemical-Biology Interface Training Grant.

Undergraduate Students

Travis Josephs