Principal Investigator

Prof. Andrea Pickel

Office: 219 Hopeman Engineering Building
Phone: (585) 275-9142

andrea_pickelAndrea Pickel joined the Department of Mechanical Engineering at the University of Rochester as an Assistant Professor in July 2019. She received her Ph.D. in Mechanical Engineering from the University of California, Berkeley in May 2019, where she was supported by a National Science Foundation (NSF) Graduate Research Fellowship and a UC Berkeley Chancellor’s Fellowship. She received her B.S. in Mechanical Engineering with University and College Honors from Carnegie Mellon University in 2014.  Her current research focuses on harnessing the unique properties of luminescent materials to develop nanothermometry techniques for challenging operating environments. Andrea is the recipient of an American Chemical Society Petroleum Research Fund (ACS PRF) Doctoral New Investigator Award (2020), a University of Rochester Furth Fund Award (2021), and an NSF CAREER Award (2022), and she was named a Scialog Fellow for Automating Chemical Laboratories (2024). Her teaching contributions have been recognized with the G. Graydon Curtis ’58 and Jane W. Curtis Award for Non-Tenured Faculty Teaching (2023).

Ph.D. Students

Ziyang Ye

Ziyang Ye graduated with a Bachelor degree in Materials Science from Huazhong University of Science and Technology in 2017. Then he began master’s study at University of Rochester and did research of water-soluble conjugated polymers in Rothberg’s group. In 2019, after obtained master’s degree, he decided to stay in Rochester, joined Pickel’s group and took photophysics to be his greatest research interest. Now, he is trying to investigate the optical properties and applications of upconversion nanoparticles. He enjoys listening classical music and doing gym with his friends.



Ben Harrington

Ben Harrington is currently pursuing a PhD in Materials Science at the University of Rochester (U of R). He received his B.S. in Nanoscale Engineering with Honors from SUNY Polytechnic Institute in May 2021. His undergraduate research in the photoluminescent properties of nanostructured materials drives his interests with the nanoscale thermal transport lab at the U of R and towards develop nanothermometry techniques utilizing luminescent materials. In his free time Ben enjoys playing the piano and also playing volleyball.


Laura Kowalski

Laura Kowalski is currently pursuing a Ph.D in Optics at the University of Rochester (UR). She received her Bachelor’s degrees in Mathematics and Physics from SUNY Geneseo in 2020. She then received her Master’s degree in Engineering Sustainability from University at Buffalo (UB) where her research involved synthesizing a nanohybrid to initiate the photodegradation and absorption of PFAS, a group of manmade chemicals. In her free time, she enjoys painting and hiking!




Ph.D. Alumni

Dr. Dinesh Bommidi, Ph.D. 2024. Next position: Optical Production Engineer at ASML

Current Undergraduate Students

Gustavo Rivera Soto (Spring 2023 – present)

Asa Guldbrandsen (Fall 2023 – present)

Chi (Steven) Zhang (Summer 2024 – present)

Molly Cohan (Summer 2024; participant in the NSF REU in Nanophotonics, Quantum Photonics, and Vision/Biomedical Optics at the University of Rochester)