Biography

I was born in upstate New York and knew from an early age that science and music would be the dual passions that shaped the trajectory of my life.

I received a B.A. in chemistry from Cornell University (1989) and M.S. with concentration in inorganic chemistry from the University of Washington (1991) before pursuing a career in the field of environmental science. After working for nearly ten years as a contractor with the United States Environmental Protection Agency, I returned to graduate studies at Rutgers University and completed a Ph.D. in organometallic chemistry in 2013. I conducted doctoral research under the guidance of Alan S. Goldman and focused on the activation and transformation of C-H and other strong bonds utilizing iridium pincer complexes.

I have recently accepted a faculty position (Visiting Assistant Professor) at Rider University in Lawrenceville, NJ. In the two years since graduating from Rutgers, I have been fortunate to hold previous Visiting Assistant Professor appointments at The College of New Jersey in Ewing, NJ and Lafayette College in Easton, PA.

In addition to my teaching responsibilities, I maintain a Visiting Scientist appointment at Rutgers, where I continue research on iridium complexes. In addition, I have initiated independent research with undergraduate students at TCNJ, most notably on activation of N-H bonds and dehydrogenation of primary amines.

In addition to teaching and research, I have invested heavily in various outreach and community engagement projects. I am the co-creator and former director of the LEEDAR Program: Learning Enhanced through Experimental Design and Analysis with Rutgers - an innovative curriculum for mentoring high school students and encouraging them to pursue advanced education and careers in science.

Beyond chemistry, I nurture a profound love for classical music, with an emphasis on opera and vocal music from all periods. I attend as many live performances as time allows, and have amassed a substantial library of books and recordings. I started writing about opera in print and online in 2000, and have recently started an independent blog: "Positive Entropy" at davidlaviska.blogspot.com

When not in the lab or enjoying opera, I am likely to be out running on the local trails. As a five-time marathoner (personal record: 3:38), I typically log about 75 miles a month on the roads and trails of Pennsylvania and New Jersey. I was fortunate to be selected in the lottery for the 2015 New York City Marathon and will participate in this great event on November 1.