Emergent Nanomaterials Lab

Team Members

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Carson J. Bruns Assistant Professor

I grew up in the foothills of the Rocky Mountains in Loveland, Colorado before attending Luther College in Decorah, Iowa, where I concentrated on chemistry, religion, and mathematics. After receiving a BA in 2008, I attended graduate school at Northwestern University in Evanston, Illinois, and got my PhD in Organic Chemistry in 2013 under the supervision of Professors J. Fraser Stoddart and Samuel I. Stupp. I spent three years as a Miller Research Fellow at the University of California, Berkeley, where I was hosted by Matt Francis in the College of Chemistry. Currently, I am an assistant professor of mechanical engineering and technology, arts, and media in the ATLAS Institute at the University of Colorado in Boulder. 


Professional Associates


Dr. Hyejin Kwon Postdoctoral Researcher

Hyejin received her BS and MS degrees in Chemistry from Sogang University in South Korea and a PhD in Materials Chemistry from the University of Maryland-College Park (2016), under the guidance of Professor YuHaung Wang, where she intensively investigated the photophysical properties of carbon-based semiconducting nanomaterials. She joined CU Boulder after working at Samsung as a Senior Engineer from 2016 to 2018.


Kiley Hartigan Lab Technician

Kiley graduated from CU Boulder with a double BA in Molecular Biology and Integrative Physiology. Kiley investigates the biology of tattoos, including their immunogenicity and cytotoxicity. Her ultimate goal is to pursue an MD/PhD. Outside of the lab, she is either highlining, paragliding, enjoying live music, and generally chasing life's most exciting experiences.

Graduate Students


Jesse Butterfield 4th Year, Mechanical Engineering

Jesse received his BS in mechanical engineering from the University of Washington in 2013 with a focus on nanoscience and molecular engineering. He spent two years as an engineer for Boeing Commercial Airplanes before joining the Department of Mechanical Engineering at CU Boulder to pursue his PhD.


Karan Dikshit 3rd Year, Materials Science & Engineering

Karan completed his undergraduate education in polymer engineering in 2014 at the University of Pune, India. He served in different roles in academia and industry before joining the Materials Science and Engineering professional MS program at CU Boulder.


Kailey Shara 2nd Year, ATLAS

Originally from Montreal, Canada, Kailey studied both chemistry and electrical engineering at Case Western Reserve University before joining the ATLAS Institute in 2018 to pursue her PhD. Her current research focus includes the synthesis of artificial molecular machines, as well as engineering systems for laboratory automation.


Purnendu 2nd Year, ATLAS

Purnendu is a designer, entrepreneur, and experimental physicist. His work spans interaction design, soft robotics, nanofabrication, nanomaterials, tangible interaction design, and personal fabrication. He holds an MS degree in physics (specialization in material science) from the Indian Institute of Technology, Roorkee. Before coming to ATLAS, he co-founded a nanotechnology company in India, which focuses on commercial applications of graphene, as well as a multidisciplinary design studio at IIT Roorkee. His work portfolio includes human-computer interaction internships at the Max Planck Institute for Informatics and Bauhaus University, Germany. Purnendu is co-advised by Daniel Leithinger.


Sean Keyser MS Student

Sean started his career working as a Photographer and Art director in advertising before realizing that he wanted to apply his creativity to solving more robust problems. He then returned to school to study both Biochemistry and Mechanical Engineering and is now pursuing his M.S. in Mechanical Engineering, looking to join the PhD program at CU Boulder.

Undergraduate Students


Aya Ishikawa Discovery Learning Apprentice

Aya is a fourth year undergraduate student in the Chemical Engineering department. She originates from Tokyo, Japan and is currently working on the slide-ring materials project. She is interested in conducting more research in the field of material science or fluid mechanics when she goes to grad school.

Previous Team Members

Phillip Vo   Undergraduate Researcher

Phillip Vo Undergraduate Researcher

Nicole Leon-Molina   Undergraduate Researcher

Nicole Leon-Molina Undergraduate Researcher

Emily Powis   Undergraduate Researcher

Emily Powis Undergraduate Researcher

Ian Stokes   Undergraduate Researche r

Ian Stokes Undergraduate Researcher