Bern Kohler

Professor of Chemistry

Current Lab Members


Tom Zhang

Postdoctoral Researcher

Tom received his PhD training in ultrafast laser spectroscopy from Prof. Steve Bradforth in University of Southern California. Currently, his research focus is DNA photophysics and photochemistry. In particular, he aims to obtain direct spectroscopic evidence of electron transfer, proton transfer, and coupled proton-electron transfer in UV-excited DNA oligomers and duplexes.

Email: tzhang@chemistry.montana.edu


Charles Stark

Graduate Student

Charles received a B.S. in Chemistry in 2010 from the University of Alaska Fairbanks, researching methods to improve quantum yield fluorescence of adenosine molecules, also helping design computational chemistry software based on bond valence theory for determinations of crystal structures. He has experience as an analytical chemist performing environmental remediation for the Bristol Alliance of Companies.

Email: CharStark@gmail.com

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Becca Danforth

Graduate Student

A 2008 graduate of Concord High School in Elkhart, IN and a 2012 graduate of Hope College in Holland, MI with a ACS B.S. in Chemistry. While at Hope she did research in the field of Electrochemistry on Tris(5-Amino-1,10-phenanthroline)Iron II/III. Currently she works with the photofenton reaction as a means to capture energy from sunlight. She is an avid lover of snow and enjoys photography, hiking, skiing, and camping.

Email: rebeccadanforth1@gmail.com

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David Skowron

Graduate Student

David received a Bachelor’s of Science in chemistry at Christopher Newport University in Newport News Virginia. His research background at CNU consisted of cadmium concentration analysis in flax seeds, the study of conjugated polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbon optical properties, and elemental analysis of crude oil. He is involved in fluorescence lifetime studies of DNA, along with other studies at cryogenic temperatures.

Email: skowron.davidgmail.com

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Ashley Beckstead

Graduate Student

Ashley received her BS in Chemical Physics in 2011 from The University of Utah, where she studied surface chemistry with Scott L. Anderson. Under Bern Kohler, she studies the excited-state dynamics of model DNA systems. This work is focused on understanding the photophysics of DNA nucleobases in an effort to augment understanding of the prebiotic earth and the conditions necessary for the formation of life.

Email: ashleya1117@gmail.com

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Jacob Remington

Undergraduate Student

Jacob graduated from West Valley HS in Fairbanks, AK, in 2009. He is currently a senior in the Math and Biochemistry department at MSU. He currently is working on a simulated anneal fitting technique for the fluorescence of 2-aminopurine in single stranded DNA. Jacob enjoys xc/dh skiing, rock climbing, kayaking, hiking, camping, etc.

Email: jacob.remington@gmail.com

Previous Lab Members


Jinquan Chen

Postdoctoral Researcher

Jinquan received a B.S. in Chemistry in 2007 from Nanjing University. He joined the Kohler group at the end of 2007 when the group was at Ohio State University. In 2009, he moved to Montana State University with Bern and worked mainly in the DNA project. He received his PhD in 2012, but continued work in the group as a postdoc, until 2013.

Email: jchenchemistry.montana.edu


Jordan Dood

Undergraduate Student

Jordan is an undergrad researcher who is majoring in Biochemistry and minoring in Math. He is a graduate of Bozeman High School. Along with working in the Kohler group, Jordan enjoys the outdoors, writing, and science.

Email: doodwheresmycar@gmail.com


Tash Pettinger

Undergraduate Student

Natasha is a senior pursuing dual degrees in German Studies and Chemistry. Her current research centers on the photodynamics of aqueous cerium solution. She graduated from Laramie High School in Laramie, WY in 2010. In her free time, she bicycles, cross-country skis, hikes, plays soccer/tennis, and runs.

Email: natasha.pettinger@yahoo.com


>Ben Smith

Undergraduate Student

Ben is majoring in Biochemistry, Chemistry and Fine Arts. Originally from Prior Lake Minnesota, he came out here for the mountains and found the most amazing Chemistry Department and group. In his free time he likes to snowboard, paint, longboard and be outside.

Email: benods11@yahoo.com


Peder Theiste

Graduate Student

Peder plays professional croquet. That's really all you need to know.

Email: ptheiste@gmail.com

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Marie Beitelshees

Marie Beitelshees

Undergraduate Student

Marie Beitelshees graduated from Royalton-Hartland Senior High School in Middleport, NY. Today, she is studying to become a Chemical Engineering and was an undergraduate researcher in the Kohler group. She enjoys hiking, camping, and cross-country skiing.

Email: mbeitel66@gmail.com