Together We’re Growing

Team Leader









Thao T. Tran
Assistant Professor
Department of Chemistry
Clemson University
Clemson, SC 29634-0973, USA
Phone: 864-656-5939

A bit about me

I believe in the unique, innate intelligence of each individual and aspire to cultivate the next generation of scientists by fostering a supportive and inclusive environment that is conducive to learning, creativity, and personal and professional development.

Synergistic Activities

Implementing the infinite mindset in higher ed
Editor:  Early Career Editorial Board of Journal of Physics and Chemistry of Solids
Mentor: the next generation of scientists including graduate and undergraduate researchers, underserved students, and female scientists (part of the National Chemistry Women Mentorship Network)
Journal Referee: Chemistry, Materials, and Physics journals
Reviewer: Oak Ridge National Laboratory Neutron Science and funding agencies

Professional Preparation
Postdoctoral Research Associate, Johns Hopkins University – Institute of Quantum Matter, MD
Ph.D. in Chemistry, University of Houston, TX
BSc in Chemistry, Vietnam National University – Ho Chi Minh

Honors and Awards

2024 Junior Researcher of the Year, Vice President for Research, Clemson University
2024 Scialog Fellow, Research Corporation for Science Advancement
2024 SCIENCE Rising Star in Discovery Award
2024 NSF CAREER Award
2024 Rising Star in Materials Chemistry Science, ACS Materials Au
2023 Top Faculty Highlight for the Board of Trustees
2023 Beckman Young Investigator Award
2023 NSF EPSCOR Research Fellowship
2016 Dean’s Science Postdoctoral Teaching Fellowship, Johns Hopkins University
2014 Cora Hawley Endowed Scholarship, Texas Center for Superconductivity, University of Houston
2014 Ludo Frevel Crystallography Scholarship, The International Center for Diffraction Data Award

Google Scholar   Profile
ORCiD 0000-0002-2395-3555
Research ID G-2350-2017

Graduate Students

Xudong Huai (Fall 2019-)

2024 Graduate Faculty Award

2023 Outstanding Graduate Researcher Award in Chemistry

Xudong was born in Shandong province, China. He obtained his BSc in Chemistry from Qingdao University of Science and Technology. He joined the Tran team at Clemson University in November 2019.
Favorite element: Si
Favorite structure: Graphene
Hobbies: Music, Photography, Piano
Xudong on Google Scholar


Dasuni Rathnaweera (Spring 2021-)

2024 PEG Travel Award

2023 3MT Award

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Dasuni was born in Colombo, Sri Lanka. She obtained her BSc in Chemistry from the Institute of Chemistry Ceylon in 2019. She was a research intern at Sri Lanka Institute of Nanotechnology where she completed her undergraduate research titled on Urea modified calcium carbonate nanohybrids as a next-generation fertilizer. She joined our team in Spring 2021.
Favorite element: Sr
Favorite structure: C60
Hobbies: Hiking, Youtube, making DIY stuff
Dasuni on Google Scholar

Uchenna Vivian Chinaegbomkpa (Fall 2022-)

2024 Nigerian Student Leadership Award

2023 Distinguished Ethics Scholar Award






Uchenna hails from Imo state, Nigeria, and obtained her BSc in Chemistry from the university of Nigeria, Nsukka. After a brief program at the Federal University of Technology, Owerri, where also served as a graduate assistant, Uchenna joined the Tran group, at Clemson, in September, 2022.
Favorite element: Sn
Favorite structure: Spinel
Hobbies: Cooking, music, reading and spending time with family
Orcid ID:
Web of Science researcher ID: ABB-2787-2021
Google Scholar profile: Uchenna Chinaegbomkpa


Athira Babu (Fall 2023-)






Athira is from India and completed her BSc in Chemistry at Sacred Heart College, Cochin. She finished her MSc in Chemistry at Amrita Vishwa Vidyapeetham in 2022. With two years of experience in a Contract Research Organisation in India, she joined the team in Fall 2023.
Favourite Element: Oxygen
Favourite structure: Diamond
Hobbies: Cooking, Gardening, Reading, Music
Google Scholar:

Jeffrey Keegan Hommerding (Spring 2024-)

2023 Chemistry Faculty Award








Keegan is from Easley, South Carolina. He attended Easley High School and earned Chemistry BS with Management minor from Clemson University. He join the team in January 2024.
Favorite Element: Ag
Favorite Structure: Iceland Spar
Hobbies: Sports, Movies and TV, Travel



Undergraduate Students


Liz Riggin (Summer 2024-)


Matthew Caimbeul (Spring 2024-)



Former Members

Graduate Students

Ebube Oyeka (Fall 2019-Spring 2023)

2022 Outstanding Graduate Researcher Award in Chemistry

Postdoc at Texas A&M


Visiting Researchers

Hanna Świątek (Exchange Graduate Student, Fall 2021, Gdansk University of Technology)

Undergraduate Students

Kayla Lea (Fall 2023-Spring 2024), Scientist at Savanah River National Lab

2024 Mark Bernhard Hardin Award in Chemistry

2023 Merck Index Award


Jeffrey Keegan Hommerding (Creative Inquiry, Fall 2022-Fall 2023)









Zoe Ohlstein (Creative Inquiry, Spring 2023-Fall 2023)









Annie Zemp (Creative Inquiry, Fall 2022-Spring 2023), MUSC Medical School

2023 American Institute of Chemists Award









Collin Swanson (Creative Inquiry, Spring 2023)


Bridget (Erich) Delles (Spring 2021 – Fall 2021)
2022 Senior Undergraduate Research Award 









Annika Samuel (Spring 2020 – Spring 2022), Linkedin

Chemistry Master student at King’s College

Wyatt Balliew (Spring 2020 – Spring 2022), Linkedin

Chemistry PhD student at Notre Dame


Jared Clay (Creative Inquiry, Fall 2022)
2022 Undergraduate Award in Inorganic Chemistry

Chemistry PhD student at Clemson University

REU Students


Ethan Ashbrook (University of Minnesota, Twin Cities, Summer 2022), Ph.D. program at Northwestern University
2023 Barry Goldwater Scholar

ethan ashbrook








Emmanuel Acheampong (REU Student, University of Illinois-Chicago, Summer 2021)

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Always looking for motivated and talented graduate and undergraduate students

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