Current REFS


Meet our current chemREFS team! Feel free to email us individually to schedule an appointment, or contact us at

Emily Zygiel (ezygiel (at)
Nolan Group | 4th year | ​Biological

Emily grew up in Bristol, CT and completed her undergraduate studies Stonehill College in Easton, MA. As a graduate student at MIT, she studies a metal-binding protein involved in host/pathogen interactions. Outside of lab, she enjoys trying new foods (especially all things carb-based), attempting to do yoga, and taking frequent naps (sometimes during yoga!).

Erica Tsai (eytsai (at)
Buchwald Group | 4th year | Organic

Erica is originally from the East Bay Area in California and has been missing predictable weather for the past half decade. She tries to make up for the lack of sun with a sunny personality. In her spare time, she enjoys dancing (read: flailing around on stage), baking (read: setting off fire alarms), and picking up new hobbies (read: having no idea what she's doing in life). Her spirit animal is a hedgehog—small and spiky!

Jesse Gordon (gordonj (at)
Schlau-Cohen Group | 4th year | Physical

Jesse was born and grew up in Montreal, Canada, where he lived until moving to Boston for graduate school. In his free time, he enjoys playing music, particularly rock and klezmer. He plays electric bass and banjo mandolin. He also likes cooking, reading, and hiking--whenever he has a chance to get out of the city.

Salima Bahri (sbahri (at)
Griffin Group | 7th year | Physical

Salima was born in Tunisia and grew up in New Jersey. After graduating from Barnard College, she decided to take a year off to work and save money, and spent a second year off traveling and recovering from Mono. Now, she studies amyloid fibril structures using Solid-State NMR. Outside of work, she loves photography and drawing, and will enthusiastically engage in any conversation related to Doctor Who.

Travis Marshall-Roth (tmar (at)
Surendranath Group | 5th year | Inorganic

Originally from Charlottesville, Virginia, Travis completed his undergraduate work in the Midwest before moving to Cambridge for graduate school. Although the vast majority of his time is spent wrestling stubborn molecules, he strives to get out of lab and destress via cycling, hiking, photography and writing. He enjoys studying new languages and learning new recipes for fun whenever possible.

Michael Payne (paynemic (at)
Dincă Group | 3rd year | Inorganic

Mike grew up in Traverse City, MI (the cherry capital of the USA), and did his undergraduate studies at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor. When he is not exploring his profound love for Metal Organic Frameworks, Mike is guarding the lives of his labmates as Dincă Group Safety Officer, playing cello with the MIT Chamber Music Society, and biking for his life in Boston traffic.

Andrew Lew (lewan (at)
Ortony Group | 3rd year | Physical

Andrew is from the beach cities of southern California and completed his undergraduate work at the University of California, Los Angeles. Despite having lived now through two Boston winters, he is still excited for the start of the snow season. In his spare time, he enjoys playing board games, painting, and air pistol shooting.

Martin Gelenter (gelenter (at)
Hong Group | 5th year | Physical

Marty was born in San Diego, California, but moved to Omaha, Nebraska and Manama, Bahrain before returning back to California for high school and undergrad. During his time as an undergrad at the University of California, Berkeley, he fell in love with the field (ha!) of magnetic resonance spectroscopy and decided to pursue this research in graduate school. In his free time Marty enjoys spending time with friends, hiking, eating bacon, and listening to music (an ideal day would include all of those things!).

Nathan Faialaga (faialaga (at)
Danheiser Group | 3rd year | Organic

Nathan grew up in New Zealand and Australia before completing his undergraduate at Nagoya University in Japan. In his free time he lieks to play basketball, computer games, and discover new restaurants around the area.