Prof. Dorthe M. Eisele

Principal Investigator

Email: Eisele(at) | CCNY Faculty Page |Office: Center for Discovery and Innovation (CDI), Room 4-370 Phone: 212-650-8361 Division of Science

Dr. Eisele was born and educated in Germany and grew up in Berlin. She studied physics at the Technical University of Berlin, Germany, and finished an external Diploma Thesis (comparable with a US Master Thesis) from the Physikalisch Technische Bundesanstalt (German Institute of Standards), Germany, at the Berlin Electron Storage Ring Society for Synchrotron Radiation II (known as BESSY II), in collaboration with the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL), USA. In Dec. 2009 she received her doctoral degree, Dr. rer. nat. (PhD equivalent), in experimental physics from the Physics Department (group of Prof. Juergen P. Rabe) of the Humboldt University Berlin, Germany, in close collaboration with Prof. David A. Vanden Bout from the Chemistry Department of University of Texas at Austin, USA. From March 2011 until August 2014, she was a Postdoctoral Associate at the Center for Excitonics of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), where she conducted her research projects in the groups of Prof. Moungi G. Bawendi and Prof. Keith A. Nelson. Throughout her career she initiated fruitful and long-term collaborations such as with research groups of Klaus Muellen (Max Planck Institute for Polymer Research, Germany), Jasper Knoester (Physics Department, University of Groningen, The Netherlands), Daniela Nicastro (Biology Department, University of Brandeis, USA), Robert Silbey† (Chemistry Department, MIT, USA), Andrei Tokmakoff (Chemistry Department, University of Chicago, USA). In 2011 Dr. Eisele received the prestigious Feodor-Lynen-Fellowship award and became a member of the Alexander-von-Humboldt-Foundation. In September 2014, she joined The City College of New York (CCNY) of The City University of New York (CUNY) as an Assistant Professor of Chemistry.

Christopher W. Leishman, PhD

Email: cleishman(at)

Dr. Leishman grew up in Albuquerque, New Mexico. He studied physics and applied math at the University of New Mexico, where he became fascinated with quantum dynamics in biological energy transport processes. After graduating, he moved to Oregon, earning an additional bachelor’s degree (Chemistry) at Portland State University while performing computational modeling of sensitizing dyes and photoactive polymers for solar cells in the research group of Prof. Carl Wamser. In July 2016, he earned his Ph.D. in physical chemistry from the Department of Chemistry of Washington State University in Pullman, Washington, under the mentorship of Prof. Jeanne L. McHale. In his doctoral research, he coordinated resonance Raman spectroscopy with nanoscale imaging to distill insights into relationships between structure and optical properties of supramolecular porphyrin aggregates. He published the findings from these investigations in an interlinked series of three first author papers. Dr. Leishman joined Prof. Eisele’s research group as a postdoctoral researcher in September 2016 at the City College of New York, where he is working on structural and optical studies of energy and charge transfer dynamics in composite nanoscale systems including hybrid excitonic and plasmonic materials. He is driven by a vision to engage cutting-edge optical spectroscopy, microscopy and theoretical investigations to enable future advances in sustainable energy.

Three Selected Publications:

1. Leishman, C. W.; McHale, J. L. Light-Harvesting Properties and Morphology of Porphyrin Nanostructures Depend on Ionic Species Inducing Aggregation. The Journal of Physical Chemistry C 2015, 119, 28167–28181.DOI: 10.1021/acs.jpcc.5b08849 2. Leishman, C. W.; McHale, J. L. Illuminating Excitonic Structure in Ion-Dependent Porphyrin Aggregates with Solution Phase and Single-Particle Resonance Raman Spectroscopy. The Journal of Physical Chemistry C 2016, 120, 12783–12795. DOI: 10.1021/acs.jpcc.6b00867

3. Leishman, C. W.; McHale, J. L. Morphologically-Determined Excitonic Properties of Porphyrin Aggregates in Alcohols with Variable Acidity. The Journal of Physical Chemistry C 2016. DOI: 10.1021/acs.jpcc.6b04998


Nikunjkumar Visaveliya, PhD

Email: nvisaveliya(at)

Dr. Nikunjkumar Visaveliya was born in Devkigalol, India. He earned his B.Sc. in Chemistry and M.Sc. in Organic Chemistry both at the Sardar Patel University, Gujarat, India. After completing his M.Sc., he moved to National Chemical Laboratory, Pune, India where he worked as a research project assistant under Dr. BLV Prasad on the synthesis of different bio-surfactants and their applications. He then joined Prof. J. Michael Koehler’s group at the Technical University of Ilmenau, Germany in order to obtain his PhD. In Prof. Koehler’s group, Nikunjkumar gained extensive expertise in state of the art microfluidic nanosynthesis. He applied these microfluidic techniques to synthesize different types of multi-functional nanoparticles (organic as well as inorganic) with a wide variation of parameters such as size, shape, assembly, and composition for different functional applications. During his PhD career, Nikunjkumar published 17 manuscripts in peer reviewed journals, of which he is first author of 11 publications. In November 2016, Dr. Visaveliya joined Prof. Eisele’s research group at the City College of New York as a postdoctoral researcher. His research interests concern nanomaterials for light-matter interactions. Specifically, he is interested in utilizing microfluidics for supramolecular self-assembly as well as for polymeric nanomaterials and novel nanocomposites for optical and biomedical applications. Nikunjkumar is passionate about pushing microfluidics forward to new frontiers.

Three Selected Publications:

1. N. Visaveliya and J. M. Köhler; “Microfluidic Assisted Synthesis of Multipurpose Polymer Nanoassembly Particles for Fluorescence, LSPR, and SERS Activities”, Small, 11, 6435–6443 (2015) (Inside Cover Article).

2. N. Visaveliya, S. Lenke and J. M. Köhler; “Composite Sensor Particles for Tuned SERS Sensing: Microfluidic Synthesis, Properties and Applications”, ACS Appl. Mater. Interfaces, 7 (20), 10742-10754 (2015).

3. N. Visaveliya and J. M. Köhler; “Single-Step Microfluidic Synthesis of Various Non-Spherical Polymer Nanoparticles via in-Situ Assembling: Dominating Role of Polyelectrolytes Molecules”, ACS Appl. Mater. Interfaces, 6 (14), 11254-11264 (2014)

Joseph Brisendine, PhD

Email: josephbrisendine(at)

Dr. Brisendine grew up in Georgia, US. Initially, he pursued graduate studies in Philosophy. He received a Master’s degree in Philosophy from Staffordshire University, UK, and he then moved to New York City to pursue a PhD in Philosophy. His studies in natural Philosophy led to him having a change of heart about his career path at 25, and he decided to pursue Science instead. This led him to the City College of New York and eventually the CUNY Graduate Center, where he joined the research group of Prof. Ronald Koder. In February 2018, he received his doctoral degree (Ph.D) from CCNY’s Physics Department. His thesis work was concerned with the information content, computational capacity, and charge transport properties of natural proteins, and he is fascinated by the connections between biology, computation, and energy transport. In May 2018, Dr. Brisendine joined the Eisele group as a postdoctoral researcher, where he is working on modeling and optimizing the energy and charge transport properties of the group’s bio-inspired material systems.

Dr. Brisendine’s vision is that the efficiency and power of future synthetic light-harvesting systems compare as favorably against leaves as jet airliners do against eagles. Neither necessarily “fly better,” but both are certainly suited to different tasks! In this same way, light-harvesting systems designed for optimizing photocurrents need not necessarily look like “artificial leaves” at all, and this offers the opportunity to rethink the process of light-harvesting and charge separation from the level of fundamental physics to the coarse-grained details of practical engineering applications. In addition to helping provide a sustainable future of clean energy for the world, it is, for him, an exciting intellectual opportunity to examine the fundamental constraints nature has placed on energy and charge transfer towards the goal of outperforming nature at its own game.

Three Selected Publications:

1. Joseph M. BrisendinePeter SchnatzDerek J. Kosciolek,Ronald Koder. Design of Supercharged Proteins to Impart Allosteric Behavior and their Use in Biosensing. Biophysical Journal, Feb 2017              

2. Joseph M. Brisendine, Sivan Refaely-Abramson, Jeffrey Neaton, Ronald Koder, Latha Venkataraman. Probing Charge Transport through Peptide Bonds. Journal of Physical Chemistry Letters, Jan 2018

3. Joseph M. Brisendine and R. L. Koder. Fast, Cheap, and out of control: Insights into thermodynamic and informatic constraints on natural protein sequences from De Novo protein design. Biochimica et Biophysica Acta (BBA) – Bioenergetics, Aug 2016

Kara Ng

Email: kng.kara(at)

Kara grew up in Brooklyn, NY. In February 2015, she received her bachelor’s degree from The City College of New York with a major in environmental chemistry and received the Benjamin Harrow Memorial Award for undergraduate research. Kara also received The Division of Science Fellowship to work with the U.S. Geological Survey at the New Jersey Water Science Center, where she analyzed the occurrence and distribution of contaminants along the New Jersey coastal sediments.

Kara’s interest in interdisciplinary fields of chemistry and environmental science led her to pursue graduate research. In September 2015, Kara entered the Ph.D. program in Chemistry at the City University of New York (CUNY) under the supervision of Prof. Dӧrthe Eisele, Dr. rer.nat.

Kara’s research interest is in the fundamental science of energy transfer in self-assembled nanomaterials (i.e., supramolecular aggregates, hybrid organic-inorganic nanomaterials) with the goal of guiding rational design of innovative next-generation solar cells. Her dissertation is focused on understanding the subtle structure-property relationships of energy transfer mechanisms using a combination of spectroscopic and ultra-high resolution microscopic techniques.

Selected Publications and Presentations:

Meuhlethaler, C., Ng, K., Gueissaz, L., Leona, M., Lombardi, J.R., Raman and SERS characterization of solvent dyes: An example of shoe polish analysis. Dyes and Pigments 137: 539-552 (2017).

Ng, K., Belh, S., Chowdury, A., Yehya, N., Patel, M., Huffman, G., Eisele, D.M. Near-field scanning optical microscopy investigations of individual supramolecular light-harvesting nanotubes.

Poster session presented at the 252nd American Chemical Society National Meeting & Exposition, August 21-25, 2016, Philadelphia, PA. Ng, K., Szabo, Z., Reilly, P.A., Barringer, J.L., and Smalling, K.L., An assessment of mercury in estuarine sediment and tissue in Southern New Jersey using public domain data. Marine Pollution Bulletin 107: 22-35 (2016).

Pooja Gaikwad


Pooja grew up in Mumbai, India. She completed a Bachelor of Science degree from the University of Mumbai with a major in Chemistry. She was the recipient of a Dr. Pai Scholarship for Excellence in her Bachelor’s degree. Her drive to imbibe knowledge beyond her major led to her receiving a State Scholarship for Graduate Excellence Examination which recognizes students for their proficiency in physical sciences and social sciences. Pooja earned her Master of Science degree from the University of Mumbai where her research project involved Synthesis and Studies of complexes of Rare Earth Elements with Organic Ligands. During this time, she also represented the University of Mumbai on various platforms such as television media, seminars, and talks. Pooja has extensive experience training students for the SAT and her students are currently enrolled in undergraduate degree programs in universities such as Tufts University and the University of Birmingham. Pooja’s intent to be trained as a convergent and divergent thinker coupled with interests in scientific questions led her to pursue doctoral research. Pooja is now enrolled for her doctoral program at the City University of New York under the mentorship of Dr. Eisele and has been part of The Eisele Research Group since April 2018. She is passionate about understanding the self-assembly processes and will be focusing on the self-assembly of peptides – light-harvesting materials.


Chalk and Talk, Unviersity of Mubai, 2013

Dr. Pai Scholarship, D.G. Ruparel College, University of Mumbai, 2011

State Scholarship for Graduate Excellence Examination, 2011

Dominik Doktor 


Dominik was born and raised in Brooklyn, New York. In 2018, he received his B.S. in Physics from CCNY with special emphasis on Optics and Photonics. Recently, Dominik became a Technical Assitant in the Eisele Group and works together with Dr. Leishman on building the group’s pump-probe spectroscopy setup.

In general, Dominik is not only highly interested in spectroscopy, photochemistry, and physics but also in optomechanical engineering and fluid mechanics, specifically microfluidic methods.

Altynay Narmanova

Email: altynay.narmanova(at)

Born and raised in Kazakhstan, Altynay is a native Russian and Kazakh speaker. She received her B.S. degree in Biology from the prestigious Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology (KAIST), Daedeok Innopolis, Daejeon, South Korea. In June 2018, she became a member of the Eisele Group.

With her team, Altynay is working on The Eisele Group’s educational outreach projects aiming to educate the public about the importance of fundamental research. Currently, she serves as the Eisele Group’s Outreach Production Manager and leads the group’s Video Production Team. This project is funded by the Eisele Group’s 2018 NSF Career Award.


Dolonchapa Chakraborty, PhD

Educational Assistant

Email: Chakrabortydolonchapa(at)

Dolon was born and brought up in Calcutta, India. In 2007, she received her Bachelor in Biotechnology from University of Pune, India. In 2009, she received her Master in Biotechnology from Bangalore University, India. As part of her undergraduate curriculum, she participated in a research project on typhoid in mice and became fascinated with research. In 2010, building upon the success in her undergraduate research, Dolon became a research assistant at Indian Institute of Toxicology Research, India. At IITR, Dolon had was able to develop COPD mice models and studied signaling molecules associated with inflammatory pathways in COPD. In 2012, she joined the research lab of Prof. Gerald Koudelka at SUNY, Buffalo, as a graduate research assistant and received her Ph.D. in Biology in August 2017. The Koudelka lab focuses on pathogenic E. coli outbreaks; during her graduate studies, Dolon successfully identified complex phage-encoded proteins regulating the severity of these not-well understood outbreaks.  In August 2017, Dolon joined the Eisele Research Group as Prof. Eisele’s Educational Assistant. Dolon is part of the Pilot Program of the Eisele Research Group and CCNY’s The City Tutors ( that aims gaining first experience & preliminary results for a newly established educational project: the Chemistry Mentorship Project (CMP) is initiated by The City Tutors aiming to support students with their transition from high-school to college. This project focuses in particular on students from minority and underrepresented groups and will therefore, contribute to CCNY’s mission as one of America’s most diverse, minority-serving, public institutions with public purpose.



Michael Chin


Michael Chin was born and raised in New York City, where he graduated from The City College of New York with a Bachelors in Political Science.

Michael joined CCNY’s The City Tutors, which is a community organization focused on training volunteer tutors who support talented students from disadvantaged backgrounds. Partners of The City Tutors are educational programs from all over New York. Currently, The City Tutors trains their tutors to support students from partner organizations from across four of the five boroughs of New York City. In general, with their organization, The City Tutors create a unique opportunity to support both the students and their volunteer tutors, the latter of which receive hands-on career development opportunities through the diverse tutoring programs. The City Tutors are based at CCNY’s Colin Powell School for Civic and Global Leadership.

Currently, Michael serves as the Educational Assistant as well as the Tutor & Training Coordinator of The City Tutors.

In the Summer of 2017, The Eisele Group had the chance to begin a fruitful and long-term collaboration with The City Tutors. Michael became an important part of the Eisele Group’s educational outreach projects and at the beginning of 2018, the Eisele Group was able to strengthen the successful collaboration with The City Tutors by providing partial funding for Michael’s position.



Nicolás (Nico) Yehya

Email: nicoyehya(at)

Nico grew up in Brooklyn, NYC. In September 2014, Nico began his career as an undergraduate with a major in physics with a concentration in applied physical and material science at the Macaulay Honors College at the City College of New York. In April 2015, he joined Dr. Eisele’s research group where his first project involved working on the stabilization of supramolecular aggregate samples. Nico won the NYC Louis Stokes Alliance Summer 2015 Research Program Fellowship. Nico is our website manager. 



Saad Ahmed

Email: saahmed101997(at)

Saad grew up in Queens, NYC. Saad began his undergraduate career at the City College of New York in September 2015 pursuing a major in Biochemistry. Saad joined the Eisele group in April 2016. In Fall of 2015, Saad joined the CCNY chapter of Engineers without Borders and contributed to the adoption of their new project in Nicaragua. In Spring 2016, Saad was elected Event Coordinator of the CCNY chapter of Engineers without Borders.         





Michael H. Ross

Email: mikehross(at)

Michael was raised in Billerica, MA.  He received a B.S. in psychology with minors in sociology and anthropology from UMass Amherst in 2010. He worked in the field with mental health organizations in the greater Boston area and Brooklyn. He is currently working toward a B.S in physics with a focus on material science at the City College of New York.  Michael joined Dr. Eisele’s research group in October of 2016, where he has become chairperson of the group seminars and assists in lab work.             


    Niki Brisnovali

     Email: nikibri8(at)

Niki grew up in Queens, New York. In the Fall of 2016, Niki began her undergraduate career at Manhattan College, Riverdale, where she majored in Biology with a concentration in Pre-Medical Studies. In the Spring of 2017, Niki transferred to the City College of New York where she pursues a major in Biochemistry. The following semester, during the Fall of 2017, she joined The Eisele Group under the supervision of Kara, the lead doctoral researcher, where she assists in experiments focusing on the encapsulation of self-assembling light-harvesting nanotubes using different polymers.

Giancarlo Zirpolo

Email: gzzunie(at)

Giancarlo was born and raised in Bronx, New York.  In 2015, Giancarlo started his undergraduate studies at the Grove School of Engineering at The City College of New York as a chemical engineering major. In January 2018, he joined the Eisele research group, where he assists the researchers with lab work.     




Bernabe Villegas

Email: villegasbernabe8(at)

Bernabe was born and raised in New York City. After a brief year at SUNY Albany, Bernabe decided to transfer back home and attend City College. He is currently a sophomore who will graduate in the year 2020 with a degree in Communications: Advertising / Public Relations. Transferring back home has led Bernabe to many amazing opportunities, which now includes being an undergraduate research assistant for Dr. Eisele’s research group and website manager. Bernabe’s current work focuses on the encapsulation of self-assembling light-harvesting nanotubes. 




Emmanuel Amoateng Snr 

Email: assibeharthursynia(at)

Emmanuel is a student at the CUNY School of Medicine and will become a physician in the year 2023. He loves to sing and play the piano. He uses his talents to help others improve themselves, as well as by being: the leader of various music groups, the founder of a non-profit called SOSA, a volunteer at nursing homes, and a tutor for children and adults. He hopes that his small efforts can help the world become a better place for everyone. Emmanuel joined the Eisele Group in 2018 and is involved in nanoparticle encapsulation and nanoparticle compatibility with biomedical surfaces.



Joy Kim

Email: Jtk1802(at)

Although she has spent the majority of her life in Fairfax, Virginia, Joy still has a soft spot for past homes in Kentucky and South Korea. She attends the Gallatin School at New York University in the class of 2021, where she plans to form a concentration based on nanotechnology and neuroethics. Joy joined the Eisele Group in early 2018 and works under the kind tutelage of Kara Ng.




Zhenghao (Kevin) Zhu

Email: kevinzhuzhenghao(at)

Kevin was born in China but grew up in Guadalajara, Mexico for the majority of his childhood. He moved to the U.S. a couple of years ago and has since gained an interest in computer programming. He is pursuing a Computer Science degree at the City College of New York. In July 2017, Kevin joined the Eisele group as part of the educational outreach team developing the Interactive Science Afterschool Program (ISAP) in partnership with The City Tutors, Bey Scholars, Inc., and CCNY. Kevin is passionate about educating students about the exciting world of nanoscience.





Keylin Escobar

Email: kescobar1410(at)

Keylin was born and raised in Brooklyn, New York, where she is currently a rising junior at Brooklyn Technical High School. Since being introduced to physics in her freshman year, Keylin has decided to pursue a career in physics. Currently, she’s a high school student researcher in the Eisele Group and mentored by our doctoral researcher Pooja Gaikwad. For her research project, Keylin is learning to synthesize porphyrin nanotubes, self-assembled under different solution conditions. Her 2018 summer research project is kindly supported by CCNY’s NSF-CREST Center for Interface Design and Engineered Assembly of Low-dimensional Systems (IDEALS),.

Whenever she’s not in the lab, Keylin loves to spend her time reading or playing the violin.






Graduate Students

Sarah Belh     –     Graduate Student [Chemistry] (2014-2017)     –     Brooklyn College

Undergraduate Students

Abe Whitmeyer     –     Undergraduate Researcher [Physics] (2016-2017)     –     Tiburzi Group at CCNY

Nelson Tobar     –     Undergraduate Researcher [Chemistry] (2016-2017)

Dean Lahana     –     Undergraduate Researcher [Chemistry] (2016-2017)     –     Hohenstein Group at CCNY

Arafat Chowdhury     –     Undergraduate Researcher [Biochemistry] (2014-2017) Minal Patel     –     Undergraduate Researcher [Chemical Engineering] (2016-2017)

Grayson (Gray) Huffman     –     Undergraduate Researcher [Applied Math] (2015-2016)     –     Northeastern University (Graduate Student)

Mohammad Molla   –     Undergraduate Researcher [Mechanical Engineering] (2014-2016)     –     Quality Engineer at Northrop Grumman

Dimitri Foster     –     Undergraduate Researcher [Chemical Engineering] (2015-2016)     –     Office Candidate for the US Navy

Salimata Konate   –   Research Outreach Assistant (Summer 2017)   –

Jaqueline Ollness    – Undergraduate Outreach [Bio Engineering] (Summer 2017)   –  University of California, San Diego

Reid Vero    –     Undergraduate Outreach [Biology] (Summer 2017) – Macaulay Honors College, City College

Karen Navarro    –   Undergraduate Outreach [Neuroscience] (Summer 2017) – The City College of New York

Syed Shahabuddin    –   Undergraduate Outreach [Biomedical Engineering] (Summer 2017)    – The City College of New York

Wayne Seaton    –     Undergraduate Outreach [Psychology] (Summer 2017)    –    The City College of New York

Feyi Adekunle   –   Undergraduate Researcher (Summer 2018)  –  Howard University