Jean received his B.S. in Chemistry from the University of Puerto Rico – Rio Piedras, where he studied supramolecular chemistry in the Rivera Lab. As an undergraduate researcher, he worked on the synthesis of guanosine derivatives and studied their ability to self-assemble into G-quadruplex structures using traditional 2D H1-NMR, MS, and fluorescence techniques. Using the tools of organic chemistry to solve problems in other research fields led him to join the Atmospheric Chemistry Group led by Frank Keutsch for his graduate studies. There he synthetized standards of isoprene oxidation products that were abundant and commonly found in the atmosphere but not commercially available. The syntheses of these standards allowed him to study their role in atmospheric chemistry including their oxidation mechanisms, aqueous-phase chemistry, and the determination of interferences in GC and MS systems. After obtaining his Ph.D. from Harvard University in 2018, Jean joined Sally Ng’s research group at the Georgia Institute of Technology as a Dreyfus Postdoctoral Research Fellow. At Georgia Tech, he worked on improving our understanding of secondary organic aerosol (SOA) formation using perturbation experiments. These experiments revealed the links between SOA formation and atmospheric oxidation conditions and that these conditions can be mapped to specific aerosol subtypes. These results have implications for air pollution mitigation strategies and human health. In addition, Jean performed field measurements during the COVID-19 pandemic in order to determine the effects of lockdowns and reduced traffic on urban air quality. In 2021, he transitioned into an NSF Postdoctoral Research Fellowship under the guidance of Stefan France and Sally Ng. His work during this time involved the synthesis of radical precursors to investigate specific chemical pathways related to atmospheric oxidation. In the fall of 2023, Jean joined the faculty of the Department of Chemistry and Chemical Biology at Rutgers University as an Assistant Professor.
The Rivera-Rios Research Group will investigate the fate of organic carbon in the atmosphere through experimental evaluations of atmospheric oxidation mechanisms. We will synthesize authentic standards and radical precursors to study their reactivity and the yields of molecules of interest, measure their partitioning between the gas and aqueous-phase as well as differences between their gas and aqueous-phase oxidation. In addition, we will deploy a network of low-cost sensors to evaluate neighborhood scale differences in air quality. We will also evaluate the performance of these instruments by comparing them to the research-grade instrumentation available in our group. Atmospheric chemistry is a highly collaborative field and there will be opportunities for field work and academic collaborations with other atmospheric scientists at many universities. We are seeking motivated students that interested in atmospheric chemistry at both the graduate and undergraduate levels. For more information, you can contact me at: