Lewis Group Alumni

Research Faculty    

Dr. Barry Haycock graduated with his Bachelor's Degree with first class honours from the Dublin Institute of Technology (DIT), where he received the Focas Medal for academic achievement.  He began graduate school in DIT after a short stint working in medical imaging for a company in London. During his time in DIT, he built a strong collaboration with the Lewis Group in WVU, which included many extended stays in West Virginia to work with the group.

After successful defense of his Ph.D. Thesis in June 2011 in Ireland, Dr. Haycock joined the Lewis group as a PostDoc in October of that year where he has worked on a number of projects including our High-Throughput work on metal-oxide materials.

J.B.R. Keith was with the Lewis Group from January 2005 through February 2007, in his time here, he spearheaded projects on biomolecular, cluster, surface, and periodic structure modeling and developed thermodynamic integration using client-server technology for modeling defect structures in titanium dioxide photocatalysis of small organics.
Later, he created a crystallographic database interface, forcefield simulation interface, ab-initio simulation interface, and semiempirical simulation interface using Java Swing-based web start modules which he has since commercialized under Astonis (http://www.astonis.com). Following a PostDoctoral position in Center for Advanced Computational Research and Department of Materials Science, Caltech, Pasadena, CA, Brandon is now a Python Pipeline Developer for Pixomondo animation studios in Santa Monica, CA.

Having received his B.Sc. in Physics from the National University of Mongolia, Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia, Dr. Khorgolkhuu Odbadrakh ("Od") went on to carry out Post-Graduate studies in International Centre for Theoretical Physics, Trieste, Italy before moving to the United States, where he received his Ph.D. from North Carolina State University in 2007. Od joined the Lewis Group in August 2007 where he performed first principles molecular dynamics calculations aimed at determining absorption characteristics of explosive molecules RDX and TATP Isoreticular Metal Organic Frameworks. Contributed to the development of ab initio molecular dynamics “FIREBALL”, and “LIGHTNING” code. Investigated energetics and geometry of photosynthetic molecular complexes including clusters of chlorophyll, and carotene using tight binding molecular dynamics tools.
Currently Od is a research scientist at Oak Ridge National Laboratories where he is modeling and characterizing defects in structural materials using a Coarse Graining approach to ab-initio techniques. This work has application to radiation induced displacement cascades in iron and dislocations in iron. The research provides insight into defects from first principles.

Graduate Students    

Amanda J. Neukirch received her B.S. degree in Physics and Mathematics from the University of Nebraska−Lincoln Honors program in 2007. In the fall of 2008 she started her PhD in Physics at the University of Rochester. In May of 2010 she received her MA in Physics and then joined the Prezhdo group, also at the University of Rochester to continue her PhD in physics. In 2012 she was a joint graduate student at Rochester and West Virginia University as part of a collaboration between her advisor Professor Oleg Prezhdo and Dr. James Lewis. She continues to collaborate with the Lewis group; her research is focused on excitation dynamics in nanoscale systems. 
Currently she is investigating photoisomerization processes in azobenzene derivatives. Amanda expects to complete her PhD in Physics by June 2014.

Chad Junkermeier joined the Lewis Group in     and successfully defended his Ph.D. in November 2008. Chad's Ph.D. dissertation was titled “Simulation and Analysis of Cadmium Sulfide Nanoparticles” 
Chad was simultaneously studying at the  Department of Physics and Astronomy in Brigham Young University and in the Department of Physics in West Virginia University with Prof. Lewis as his advisor under both schools. Currently, Chad is working as a post-doctoral researcher in Materials Engineering at Penn State University after recently completing post doctoral work in the Naval Research Laboratories in Virginia.   

Undergrad Researchers

Jessica Carr graduated Summa Cum Laude from West Virginia University in May 2013. She earned a BS degree, majoring in both chemistry and mathematics. She has conducted research in the Lewis Group since August 2010 and was nationally recognized as a Goldwater Scholar in 2012.
Jessica investigates the interaction between small peptides and gold nanoparticles at an atomic level.  Under the direction of Dr. Hong Wang and in collaboration with solid-state NMR studies, her work has specifically focused on determining the attaching pattern of the amino acid L-cysteine and the tri-peptides CysAlaAla and AlaAlaCys on gold nanoparticles.  Gold nanoparticle-biomolecule systems are being broadly applied in biosensors, biological imaging devices, and nanoelectronics.

In August 2013, Jessica began a PhD program at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, where she specializes in Physical Chemistry.

Christopher Doss started working with Lewis Research Group before his undergraduate sophomore year with Dr. Barry Haycock and his research on delafossites.  He has worked on building Tornado, a high-throughput program for delafossites, and on translating code between different programming languages.  He is currently perusing a double major at West Virginia University for Physics and Computer Science.


Jake worked with the Lewis Group from August 2006 through graduation with a B.Sc. in  May 2010. He was involved with several projects. His first few projects dealt with writing graphical user interfaces to computational physics programs. The project he spent the most time on involved performing simulations of hydrogen adsorbed carbon nanotubes. The goal of this project was to develop a material capable of storing enough hydrogen for use in fuel cells in cars. For his last project, he applied genetic algorithms to predict / search for new crystal structures using ab-initio methods. He participated in the Summer Undergraduate Research Program three times. In the summer of 2009, he was selected to travel to China with the International Research Experience for Students program.
Currently, Jake is a graduate student in University of Hawaii at Manoa.

Andrew Rice began college at Fairmont State University in 2004. Shortly after a one year term, he dropped out to pursue an electrical career in coal mining and industrial fields. After five years of working as a contractor, he started his own electrical business based in Morgantown, WV. Following an impulse to learn, Andrew enrolled at West Virginia University to pursue a physics degree. In doing this, he met with Dr. James Lewis through class and eventually started conducting research with the Lewis Group.

Andrew will be graduating with his Physics, BS in May of 2013 and starting graduate school for physics at WVU in the fall. 

Other Alumni (Bio's pending)    

Bryant Doss
DeNyago Tafen
Hao Wang