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Nadia G. Léonard, PhD [she/her]

Assistant Professor of Chemistry (2023-present)

University of California, Santa Barbara

Office: CHEM 3223

Email: nleonard (

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Nadia grew up in New Jersey, where her early interest in experimentation started at four years old with helping her mom cook and making a mess in the kitchen. During her undergraduate studies at Brown University, she discovered her love of organometallic and inorganic synthesis working with Professor Wesley Bernskoetter.


She continued her studies in 2014 and pursued a Ph.D. in Chemistry at Princeton University, where she was a NSF Graduate Research Fellow under the guidance of Professor Paul Chirik. Her doctoral research focused on developing earth-abundant transition metal catalysts for various site-selective C–H functionalization and hydrofunctionalization reactions.


Following completion of her Ph.D. in 2019, she joined Professor Jenny Yang’s research group at the University of California, Irvine, where she was a UC President’s Postdoctoral Fellow. Her research focused on understanding at a molecular level how electrostatic interactions, key to a variety of enzymatic processes, can be incorporated and harnessed at synthetic systems for reaction control.


Nadia joined the faculty as an Assistant Professor in the Department of Chemistry & Biochemistry at the University of California, Santa Barbara in 2023


Outside of research, Nadia enjoys bike rides, hiking, going to the beach with her dog, Mango, and discovering new coffee shops and restaurants.

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