Matthews group
Xie, Tom, Nate, Katie, Sebastian, Mina
(Left to right, February 2020)


Current members


Principle investigator
Megan L. Matthews, Ph.D.

Assistant Professor of Chemistry

University of Pennsylvania


Follow us on twitter. @MegaMatthewsLab

Faculty assistant
Heather Fulford

Email: hful at

 Postdoctoral researcher (2017.09-present)
Zongtao Tom Lin
Ph.D., University of Tennessee, 2017
Email: zongtao at
Tom grew up in Xinyang City of Henan Province, China. In 2005, he went to Zhengzhou University where he worked with Prof. Hongmin Liu on synthetic anti-cancer analogs and obtained his B.S. in Pharmacy in 2009. Afterwards, he studied LC/MS-based biotechnologies for high-throughput screening of bioactive natural products. He received his M.S. in 2012 from Peking University where he worked for Profs. Hong Wang and Shizhong Chen. For his Ph.D. study, he worked with Profs. Wei Li and Duane D. Miller in the Department of Pharmaceutical Sciences at the University of Tennessee studying anti-inflammatory activity of vitamin D3 metabolites/analogs and anti-cancer evaluation of tubulin inhibitors in vitro and in vivo. Upon completion of his education in 2017, he joined the Matthews group at UPenn as a postdoc researcher. In his spare time, Tom loves outdoor running and touring nearby cities.
 Postdoctoral researcher (2018.03-present)
Xie Wang
Ph.D., Hunan University, 2017
Email: xiewang at
Xie obtained his B.S. in Chemistry from Guangdong University of Technology, and his Ph.D. in Organic Chemistry from Hunan University in China under Professor Xinhua Xu in December 2017. His Ph.D. work focused on developing methods for nickel-catalyzed inert C(sp3)-H functionalization. Xie was a visiting student in the laboratory of Dr. Gary A. Molander at the University of Pennsylvania for one year from 2016-2017. In Gary’s lab, he explored boron-based heteroaromatic systems known generally as azaborines within the Nickel/photoredox dual catalysis manifold. In March 2018, he joined the Matthews group as a postdoctoral researcher, working at the interface of chemistry and biology. Apart from science, he enjoys outdoor activities such as touring museums and exploring historical cites. He also enjoys movies and music.
Graduate (Ph.D.) Student (2017.08-present)
Katelyn A. Bustin
B.S., Chemistry, West Virginia University, 2016
Email: kateann at
Katelyn grew up in Lancaster, PA. In 2016, she graduated with a B.S. in Chemistry from West Virginia University where she worked with Dr. Jessica Hoover on optimization and mechanistic studies of copper-catalyzed decarboxylative coupling reactions of benzoxazole and benzoic acid derivatives. Before attending UPenn for her graduate studies, Katelyn lived in Poland for a year as an English Teaching Assistant at a medical and research institution through the Fulbright Program. Upon her return to the states, Katelyn started her graduate career at UPenn and joined the Matthews group in January 2018. In her spare time Katelyn enjoys reading, running, and embroidering.
Graduate (Ph.D.) Student (2019.10-present)
Mina Ahmadi
M.S., Chemistry, University of Minnesota, 2019
Email: mahmadi at

Mina grew up in Karaj, Alborz Province, Iran. In 2014, she graduated with a B.S. in Chemical Engineering from University of Tehran. She then entered a Master in Biology program at Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center where she worked with Dr. Michaela Jansen on the structural conformation of the non-chimeric intracellular domain of the 5HT3A serotonin receptor. Following her M.S., Mina started her Ph.D. at the University of Minnesota working on proteomics analysis to identify and quantify proteins that undergo protein prenylation that are possibly involved in Alzheimer’s disease under the supervision of Dr. Mark Distefano. Mina has been continuing her Ph.D. in Dr. Megan Matthews lab since October 2019. Besides science, Mina loves reading, boardgames, knitting, cooking, and of course, eating. Mina dreams about becoming both a scientist and writer.
Graduate (Ph.D.) Student (2020.01-present)
Nate McKnight
B.S., Biochemistry/Molecular Biology, Stockton University, 2019
Email: natem at sas.upenn.eduNate grew up in Upper township, NJ. In 2019 he graduated with a B.S. in Biochemistry/Molecular Biology from Stockton University where he worked with Dr. Erin Podlesny on the optimization of quinone and heterocycle synthesis using continuous flow chemistry. After starting his graduate career at the University of Pennsylvania he joined the Matthews group in January 2020. In his spare time Nate enjoys running, biking, and playing basketball.
Graduate (Ph.D.) Student (2020.01-present)
Sebastian Dilones
B.S., Chemistry, Haverford College, 2018
Email: sdilones at
Sebastian grew up in Queens, New York. In 2018, he graduated from Haverford College with a B.S. in Chemistry, a concentration in Biochemistry, and a minor in Education/Educational Studies. While at Haverford, he worked in the Blaise/Broadrup lab group for two years on the total synthesis of a ramariolide natural product. In his senior year, he switched into the Podowitz-Thomas group to work on a solid state synthesis of a rare-earth free self-luminating phosphor. Before attending UPenn, Sebastian took a gap year as an alumnus mentor at Regis High School where he worked extensively with the REACH program to support underrepresented students in academia. Afterwards, he started his graduate career at UPenn and joined the Matthews group in January 2020. In his spare time, Sebastian enjoys taking his dog on adventures, video games, and exploring the city.

Past group members

  • Eric Arellano. Undergraduate (2017-2019). B.A. in Biochemistry, University of Pennsylvania, 2019. Destination: M.D. student, University of Chicago.
  • Suzanne E. Dettling. Graduate  Student (2017-2019). M.C.S. in Organic Chemistry, University of Pennsylvania, 2019. Destination: Scientist in Vaccine Process Development (HPV Division) at Merck.
  • Sara M. Martin. Graduate Student (2017-2019). M.S. in Chemistry, University of Pennsylvania, 2019. Destination: Strategy Insights & Planning Associate at ZS Associates.
  • Marshall G. Lougee. Graduate Student (2017-2018). B.A. in Chemistry, College of the Holy Cross, 2016. Destination: graduate student in Penn Chemistry.
  • Katarina Pance. Undergraduate (2017-2018). B.A. in Biochemistry, University of Pennsylvania, 2018. Destination: Ph.D. student, University of California San Francisco.
  • Anamika Banerjee. Senior research manager (2017-2018). Ph.D., City University of New York, 2006.
  • Mark R. Zierden. Postdoctoral researcher (2017). Ph.D., Temple University, 2016. Destination: Analytical Chemist, Frontida (Philadelphia, PA).
  • Rotating Students
  • Saira Montermoso. Biochemistry & Molecular Biophysics, 2019 Summer.
  • Shangshang Wang. Chemistry, 2018 Fall.
  • Tongheng Chen. Chemistry, 2018 Fall.
  • Jean Etersque. Biochemistry & Molecular Biophysics, 2018 Fall.
  • Hee Jong Kim. Biochemistry & Molecular Biophysics, 2018 Spring.
  • Qiucen Jiang. Chemistry, 2017 Fall.
  • Megan J. Schoenberger. Chemistry, 2017 Fall.
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