Curriculum Vitae

Brian J. Smith
96 Baker Laboratory, Ithaca NY 14853


Stanford University, Stanford CA

PhD in Chemistry, 2006 - 2012
Thesis: Mechanical control of metal complexation and catalysis via surface immobilization
Committee: T. Daniel P. Stack, Michael D. Fayer, Christopher E.D. Chidsey


Georgetown University, Washington DC

B.S. Chemistry & Classics, 2001 - 2005, Magna Cum Laude
Undergraduate Thesis: Regiospecific syntheses of aryl sulfonates

Research Experience

Postdoctoral Associate
Cornell University, Ithaca, NY (2012 - present)

PI: William R. Dichtel
Projects: Synthesis and characterization of covalent organic frameworks, polymers for water purification 

  • Produced the first homogenous synthesis and mechanistic study into the crystallization kinetics and stability of covalent organic frameworks
  • Co-engineered a novel renewable polymer for rapid purification of drinking water, with instantaneous pollutant removal outperforming the industrial standard of activated carbon

Graduate Research Assistant
Stanford University, Stanford, CA (2006 - 2012)

PI: T. Daniel P. Stack
Thesis: Mechanical control of metal complexation and catalysis via surface immobilization

  • Developed an azide-functionalized mesoporous silica for modular immobilization of homogeneous catalysts, with a quantitative model for surface dictated structure-property relationships
  • Analyzed epoxidation and C–H hydroxylation catalysis with iron and manganese complexes. 
  • Performed  DFT calculation of metal complex reduction potentials.

Undergraduate Researcher
Georgetown University, Washington DC (2002 - 2005)

Honors Thesis Advisor: K. Travis Holman

  • Performed regiospecific syntheses of aryl sulfonates via [CpFe]+-facilitated SNAr reactions.
  • Crystallized and performed x-ray characterization of iron metallated aryl sulfonates


(see pdf for up to date listings)

Alsbaiee, A, Smith, BJ, Xiao L, Ling Y, Helbling DE, Dichtel WR. 2015 Instant Removal of Organic Contaminants From Water by a Porous β-Cyclodextrin Polymer. Nature (accepted)

Smith BJ, Hernández Gallegos PA§, Butsch K, Stack TDP. 2015. Metal complex assembly controlled by surface ligand distribution on mesoporous silica: Quantification using refractive index matching and impact on catalysis. J Catal. (accepted) (§­ undergraduate author)

Smith BJ, Hwang G§, Chavez A, Novotney JL, and Dichtel WR. 2015. Relative Rates of Covalent Organic Framework Synthesis. Chem. Comm. 51, 7532. DOI: 10.1039/C5CC00379B (§­ undergraduate author)

Smith BJ and Dichtel WR. 2014 Mechanistic Studies of Two-Dimensional Covalent Organic Frameworks Rapidly Polymerized from Initially Homogenous Conditions. J. Am. Chem. Soc. 136, 8783-8789.  DOI: 10.1021/ja5037868

Arslan H, Uribe-Romo FJ, Smith BJ and Dichtel WR. 2013. Accessing extended and partially fused hexabenzocoronenes using a benzannulation / cyclodehydrogenation approach. Chem. Sci. 4, 3973-3978. DOI: 10.1039/C3SC51212F

Rosenfeld DE, Nishida J, Yan C, Gengeliczki Z, Smith BJ and Fayer MD. 2012. Dynamics of Functionalized Surface Molecular Monolayers Studied with Ultrafast Infrared Vibrational Spectroscopy. J. Phys. Chem. C, 116, 23428-23440. DOI: 10.1021/jp307677b

Nakazawa J†, Smith BJ†; Stack TDP. 2012. Discrete complexes immobilized on Click-SBA-15 silica: Controllable loadings and the impact of surface coverage on catalysis. J. Am. Chem. Soc. 134,  2750–2759. DOI: 10.1021/ja210400u  († equal contribution)

Rosenfeld DE, Gengeliczki Z, Smith BJ, Stack TDP and Fayer MD. 2011. Structural dynamics of a catalytic monolayer probed by ultrafast 2D IR vibrational echoes. Science. 334, 634-639. DOI: science.1211350

Highlighted Presentations

Seminar, 2015. 250th ACS National Meeting, Boston MA

Self-Assembly Mechanism and Stability of Covalent Organic Frameworks

Invited Seminar, 2015. Georgetown University, Washington DC

Material Synthesis at the Molecular Scale

Poster, 2015. Cornell Center for Materials Research Symposium, Ithaca NY

Self-Assembly Mechanism and Stability of Covalent Organic Frameworks
Awarded prize for “Best Poster” selected by industry attendees

Seminar, 2014. Telluride Workshop, Metal-organic Frameworks: Experiments and Simulations

Covalent Organic Frameworks from Homogenous Conditions

Poster, 2014. Gordon Research Conference on Crystal Engineering

 Covalent Organic Frameworks from Homogenous Conditions: Systematic Manipulation and Mechanistic Insights

Poster, 2013. 8th International Symposium on Macrocyclic and Supramolecular Chemistry

 Rapid Synthesis of Covalent Organic Frameworks from Homogeneous Conditions and Kinetic Characterization

Seminar, 2011. 242nd ACS National Meeting, Denver CO

Controlled loadings of 1,10-phenanthroline on mesoporous silica: Metal complexation, spectroscopic characterization, and oxidative catalysis

Teaching & Mentoring


Research Mentor (2007 - present)

Mentor for undergraduate and graduate students on project design, synthetic and analytical techniques, presentation skills, and scientific writing

Advanced Teaching Assistant, Leland Scholars Program (Summer 2012)

Co-taught and developed the academic portion of the Leland Scholars, a pilot program targeting incoming first-generation STEM students at Stanford. Coursework focused on fundamental chemistry skills in a broader context of global issues, with an additional emphasis on student presentation skills.

Advanced Outreach Teaching Assistant, Stanford University
Chemical Principles I (Fall 2008)

Prepared biweekly lectures geared towards students having difficulty with scientific concepts and problem solving.

Teaching Assistant, Stanford University

Inorganic Chemistry I (Winter 2010)

Organic Chemistry Laboratory I (Spring 2007)

Chemical Principles II (Winter 2007)

Chemical Principles I (Fall 2006)

Included independently leading discussion and lab sections, exam and lab report grading, problem set and exam design, and Process Oriented Guided Inquiry Learning (POGIL) based teaching.

TA Training Leader, Stanford University (2007 & 2008)

One of eight students running the department’s three-day TA training program for 50 incoming graduate students. The program focused on lecturing skills, teaching styles, laboratory classroom management, and safety

High School Science Teacher, St. Joseph’s Preparatory School, Philadelphia PA (2005 2006)

Independently developed and taught introductory physical science course to freshman high school students. The position was part of a highly selective volunteer alumni program. 

Service & Outreach

Advisory Board Member, Cornell University Center for the Integration of Research, Teaching, and Learning (CU-CIRTL) (2014 –present)

Providing overall guidance and direction for the CU-CIRTL program in their mission to prepare graduate students and postdocs for the future professoriate.

Co-Founder and Co-Coordinator, Stanford Chemistry Outreach Program (2009 – 2012)

Initiated a program to bring hands-on guided-inquiry laboratory experiences to local high schools. Wrote labs, contacted schools, organized volunteers, and led onsite visits.

Community Associate, Residential Life, Stanford University (2009 – 2011)

Mediated basic residential conflicts, organized social events and served as a representative for a graduate housing neighborhood on Stanford’s campus.

Outreach Volunteer, Expanding Your Horizons (April 2015 Cornell, April 2014 Cornell, March 2009 San Jose State University)

Ran chemistry demonstrations and activities to engage female elementary students in science

President, Georgetown Chemistry Club (2004 – 2005)

Director, Georgetown Chemistry Peer Tutoring Program (2004 – 2005)

Professional Development

Certificate, 2014, Innovative Approaches in Pedagogy. Cornell University Center for Teaching Excellence

Workshop series on approaches to learning, pedagogical philosophies and methodologies  

Certificate, 2014, Post Doctoral Leadership Program. Office of Postdoctoral Studies, Cornell University

Eleven module course on key concepts in skills of leadership including: planning and problem solving, group dynamics and team building, cultural fluency, conflict resolution

Workshop, 2014, Communicating Science. Run by The Alan Alda Center for Communicating Science from Stony Brook University

Two-day workshop focused on helping scientists more effectively communicate with the public, media, policymakers, and out-of-discipline peers

Awards & Affiliations

Best Poster, CCMR Symposium, awarded by industrial attendees, Cornell,  2015

Centennial Teaching Assistant Award (University-wide), Stanford, 2012

NSF Graduate Research Fellowship Honorable Mention, 2007

American Institute of Chemists Foundation Student Award, 2005

John Carroll Fellow (Georgetown), 2001-2005

Adams Research Fellowship (Georgetown), 2003, 2004

Georgetown Undergraduate Research Opportunities Program, 2003, 2004

Magnus MacLean Prize, University of Glasgow, 2004

Robert C. Byrd Honors Scholarship, 2001-2005

Past and Present Organizations: American Chemical Society, Phi Beta Kappa, New York Academy of Sciences, Alpha Sigma Nu (honors society), Sigma Xi (scientific research society)