Prof. C. Michael McGuirk

Prof. C. Michael McGuirk (PI)

Mike was born in Toronto, Canada. At the age of 10 his family moved to Appleton, Wisconsin, where he lived through high school. Mike then attended the University of Minnesota, where he majored in chemistry and minored in biochemistry, graduating summa cum laude with high honors. While at the "U", Mike spent time in the labs of Prof. Bill Tolman (chem) and Prof. Lincoln Potter (biochem). After graduating, Mike spent one year working as an intern at Ecolab Inc. in Eagan, MN. Mike then left Minnesota to pursue his Ph.D. in chemistry under Prof. Chad Mirkin at Northwestern University, where he focused on the design and synthesis of stimuli-responsive coordination complexes for regulated catalysis. After his time at NU, Mike joined Prof. Jeffrey Long’s group at UC-Berkeley as a Philomathia post-doctoral fellow. In the Long Group, Mike's work was focused on the design, discovery and characterization of non-classic gas adsorption in metal–organic frameworks. 

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Dr. Brian Eckstein (Post-Doc)

Brian is a native of the Bay Area of California but has spent his formative years in the Midwest following his family’s move to Champaign, IL in 1998. After high school, Brian stuck around town and received a BA in economics at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (UIUC). However, Brian’s father, a Physics professor at UIUC, always encouraged him to take courses in the physical sciences, and time spent in the lab of Prof. Jeffrey S. Moore ignited Brian’s passion for organic materials chemistry. After spending a year covering the requisite courses for postgraduate study, Brian went on to pursue a PhD in chemistry at Northwestern University. Under the guidance of Prof. Tobin J. Marks, Brian’s research focused on development of π-conjugated building blocks and investigation of structure-property relationships in polymeric semiconductors.



Dr. Arijit Halder (Post-Doc)

Arijit is from a small village near Kolkata, India. After completing high school, Arijit moved to Kolkata and received a B.Sc degree in Chemistry (honors) (2010) and then an M.Sc degree with Inorganic Chemistry specialization (2012) from Ramakrishna Mission Residential College, University of Calcutta, India. Afterward, he obtained a Ph.D. in Chemistry at Jadavpur University, India under the supervision of Dr. Debajyoti Ghoshal. Arijit’s research was focused on the study of external-stimuli-responsive dynamic mixed ligand metal-organic frameworks and their utilization in the field of gas sorption/separation and luminescence behavior.


Scott Massimi (3rd yr. Grad.)

Scott is from Phoenix, Arizona and received his B.S. in chemistry at Northern Arizona University in Flagstaff in 2019. While at NAU he conducted research on super capacitors and polymer synthesis where he learned of his affinity for research. After graduation he decided to further his chemistry education by pursuing a Ph.D. at the Colorado School of Mines. His research interests involve designing unique heterogenous catalysts for applications that can help society. Scott is a joint group member with the Trewyn group also in the chemistry department.


Michael Moghadasnia (2nd yr. Grad.)

Mike is native to Orange County, California. Growing up, he has always had an affinity to STEM related disciplines. After high school, Mike headed East to Flagstaff, Arizona where he attended Northern Arizona University and received and ACS accredited chemistry degree, emphasizing biochemistry. Loving the forest vibes, he stuck around in Flagstaff to get a Master’s in Chemistry, under the guidance of Dr. Stephanie Hurst, working on new ligand platforms for palladium and platinum coordination. Mike joins us at Mines to further his scientific curiosity, pursuing a degree in applied chemistry.



Scott Cleary (2nd yr. Grad.)

Scott grew up in the South-Suburbs of Chicago. Raised on a steady diet of adventure and boy scouting, he developed an affinity for nature and a passion for conservation. While pursuing a Bachelor’s in Biochemistry from Illinois State University, Scott realized that sustainable applications in chemistry would allow him to integrate his greatest passion into his career. Scott’s undergraduate instrumental analysis research earned him an internship with the pharmaceutical giant, AbbVie Inc., followed by a role in Research and Development at INEOS Styrolution. Here, he honed his skills in analytical chemistry while investigating developments in chemical engineering and green chemistry. Scott comes to Mines pursuing a PhD in Applied Chemistry, emphasizing the skills needed to create a more sustainable future.



Rachel Lively (Undergrad)

Rachel was born and raised in Grand Junction, Colorado. Her passion for math and science throughout her primary education paved the way to Colorado School of Mines, which she began attending in the fall of 2018. At Mines, she is a member of Alpha Phi, the Peer Educator program, and Society of Women Engineers (SWE). She will pursue a degree in chemistry or chemical engineering, with a minor in humanitarian engineering. After graduating, Rachel hopes to focus on renewable energy and sustainability.



Michael Melville (Undergrad)

Michael is a California native and a 2019 transfer student to Mines. Michael has an AA degree in interdisciplinary studies in Math and Science and also holds an AS degree in Chemistry from Sacramento City College.  Inspired by the rigor of his chemistry courses in community college, Michael has chosen the major of Biochemistry and wishes to focus his studies on organic synthesis. In choosing this focus, Michael seeks to understand the biological world at the molecular level. After finishing his undergraduate studies, Michael wishes to enter a graduate program in this field to further his understanding and start his career in research.



Karina Samuel (Undergrad)

Karina was born in Marin county, California but grew up in San Antonio, TX. With always having an interest in science growing up,  Karina knew that going to Mines was the best place to explore exactly which STEM field was right for her. Karina has chosen to pursue a major in Biochemistry, minoring in biomedical engineering. Outside of the classroom, Karina is a resident advisor for first year students, works at the Mines Institution of Equity and Title IX office, and volunteers in hospice care. She loves advocacy work for inclusion and diversity in STEM fields and working with patients. After graduating, Karina plans to attend medical school and one day become a physician. 


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Former Members

Tara Buzinski (Undergrad)

Tara grew up in Phoenix, Arizona. She traded saguaros for snow when she moved to Colorado to pursue a degree in chemical engineering at the Colorado School of Mines. Outside of classes, she is an art editor of the High Grade art magazine on campus and volunteers at the Foothills Animal Shelter in Golden. After graduation, she hopes to pursue a career in the biological sciences, specifically in the pharmaceutical or biomaterial fields.



This Could be You!

The lab is looking for graduate students in the chemistry, materials science, and advanced energy systems programs.

We are also looking for ambitious undergraduate students interested in starting their research career. No previous experience is expected.


Prospective graduate students interesting in pursing a doctorate at Mines can contact Mike to learn more about the university, the programs, and our lab. 

Contact Mike at or stop by the office at 160 Coolbaugh Hall.