John was born in Downers Grove, a suburb about 40 minutes west of Chicago. He acquired his interest in chemistry at an early age from his grandmother, who was a chemist at Abbott Laboratories in North Chicago. Seeking to further his study of science, John matriculated at the University of Chicago. Once there, John quickly joined the laboratory of Professor Greg Hillhouse. It was in the three years that John spent in Greg's lab that he found his love for inorganic chemistry. During this time, John focused on researching phosphine complexes of Ni, specifically with respect to their reactivity with small molecules such as carbon dioxide and carbon disulfide.
After graduating John began his graduate studies in Boston at MIT in the group of Professor Jonas Peters. His time in Boston was to be short-lived however, as the Peters group moved to the California Institute of Technology in sunny Pasadena, CA quickly thereafter. John also made the move and received his Ph.D. from CalTech. John's thesis centered around a discrete Fe complex that mediates catalytic nitrogen fixation to ammonia.
After finishing his thesis, John came to Northwestern to work in the laboratory of Dave Harris. During this time, John has focused on materials, particularly metal organic frameworks. A central theme is the ability to stabilize reactive species, such as low coordinate dioxygen adducts, within metal organic frameworks thus allowing their characterization and study.
Outside of the lab, John is a member of a recently growing family including his wife Emily, son Gavin, baby daughter Vivian, and dog Bayla. In his limited free time John enjoys weightlifting, overly competitive intramural sports, and exploring the city of Chicago.