Manza B.J. Atkinson

Instructor Dr. Atkinson

Manza B.J. Atkinson


Online via Zoom

Office Hours


Postdoc, Materials Science, Harvard University

Ph.D., Chemistry, University of Iowa

B.S., Chemistry, North Carolina Agricultural and Technical University


Dr. Atkinson is a materials chemist with a background in the synthesis, crystallization, development, and characterization of primarily organic and organometallic crystalline materials.  He received his education as a postdoctoral researcher at Harvard University in 2011, under the mentorship of Woodford L. and Ann A. Flowers University Professor George Whitesides.  In the Whitesides' group Dr. Atkinson primarily investigated applications of magnetic levitation to separate crystal polymorphs.  He earned a doctorate degree from the University of Iowa with Professor Leonard MacGillivray in 2011.  As a graduate student Dr. Atkinson investigated sustainable methods of organic reactions in crystals to reduce the use of toxic solvents.  He attained his bachelor’s degree in chemistry from North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University.  He joined the Sonoma State University department of chemistry as an adjunct faculty in the fall of 2020.   

He is very active in his local community through coaching, mentorship, and civic engagement.  He has served as a coach and mentor to hundreds of children through coaching boys’ and girls’ basketball, girls volleyball, and Lego robotics.  He serves as a campaign manager for an elected city councilwoman. As a board member of the Measure O Citizens Oversight Committee in Santa Rosa, California, he and fellow members meet biannually to review expenditures and appropriations of the tax revenues to be utilized for specific police, fire and gang prevention and intervention programs primarily aimed at serving underrepresented and marginalized individuals.  He aims to improve the care for people with mental health disorders as a board member of the Siyan Clinical Corporation.

As a business owner, Dr. Atkinson recently co-founded Pacific Cocrystals, a company that serves to apply sustainable crystallization technologies to industrial processes.

Selected Publications & Presentations

1. Atkinson, M.B.J. “Conversations with Latino Physicians” 2022manuscript in progress

2.  Pichon, A. Chemistry’s got talent.  Nat. Chem. 2020, 12, 881–882 (interview with Anne Pichon, Editor of Nature Chemistry)

3.  Chu, Q.; Duncan, A.J.E.; Papaefstathiou, Giannis S.; Hamilton, T.D.; Atkinson, M.B.J.; Mariappan, S.V.S.; and MacGillivray, L.R.  Putting Cocrystal Stoichiometry to Work: A Reactive Hydrogen-Bonded “Superassembly” Enables Nanoscale Enlargement of a Metal–Organic Rhomboid via a Solid-State Photocycloaddition  J. Am. Chem. Soc. 2018, 140 (14), 4940.

4.  F.J. Mithila; Oyola-Reynoso, S.; Thuo, M.M.; Atkinson, M.B.J.  Visualization of Hyperconjugation and Subsequent Structural Distortions through 3D Printing of Crystal Structures  Lett. Org. Chem. 2016, 13(4), 272.

5.  Atkinson, M.B.J.; Oyola-Reynoso, S.; Luna, R. E.; Bwambok, D. K.; Thuo, M.M.  Pot-in-pot reactions: A simple and green approach to efficient organic synthesis RSC Adv. 20145, 597.

6.  Newcomb, L.; Tevis, I.D.; Atkinson, M.B.J.; Thuo, M.M.  The odd-even effect in wetting properties of self-assembled monolayers depends on the roughness of the substrate Langmuir 2014, 30(40), 11985.

7.  Schulz, M.D.; Atkinson, M.B.J.; Elsey, R.J.; Thuo, M.M.  Copper(I) halides inhibit olefin isomerized byproducts from Grubbs’ metathesis catalysts in polar protic solvents  Transition Met. Chem.  2014, 39(7), 763. 

8.  Thuo, M.M.; Martinez, R.; Liu, X.; Atkinson, M.B.J., Bloch, J-F; Whitesides, G.M. Low-cost microfluidic devices derived from embossed hydrophobic paper Chem. Mater. 2014, 26(14), 4230. 

9.  Yang, X.; Wong, S.Y.; Bwambok, D.K.; Atkinson, M.B.J.; Whitesides, G.M.; Myerson, A.  Separation of enantiomers from racemic compounds using magnetic levitation, Chem. Commun. 2014, 50, 7548.

10. Atkinson, M.B.J., Bwambok, D. K., Jie C., Prashant C., Thuo, M. M., Mace, C.R., Mirica, K.A., Myerson, A., Whitesides, G.M. Using magnetic levitation to separate mixtures of crystal polymorphs. Angew. Chem. Int. Ed. 2013, 52(39), 10208. (hot paper)  

11. Bwambok, D. K., Thuo, M., Atkinson, M.B.J., Mirica, K.A., Shapiro, D.N., Whitesides, G. M. Paramagnetic ionic liquids for density-based measurements using magnetic levitation. Anal. Chem. 2013, 85(17), 8442.

12. Atkinson, M.B.J.; Mariappan, S.V.S.; Bučar, D.-K.; Baltrusaitis, J.; Friščić, T.; Sinada, N.G.; MacGillivray, L.R.  Crystal engineering rescues a solution organic synthesis in a cocrystallization that confirms the configuration of a molecular ladder.  Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. U.S.A. 2011, 108(27), 10974.  This work is highlighted in Chem. Eng. News 2011, 89, 28.

13.  Atkinson, M.B.J.; Halasz, I.; Bučar, D.-K.; Dinnebier, R.E.; Mariappan, S.V.S.; Sokolov, A.N.; MacGillivray, L.R. A solid-state trimerization of a diene diacid affords a bicyclobutyl: reactant structure from X-ray powder data and product separation and structure determination via cocrystallisation.  Chem. Commun.2011, 47, 236.

14. Atkinson, M.B.J.; Sokolov, A.N.; Bučar, D.-K.; Mwangi, M.T.; MacGillivray, L.R. Applications of hydrogen-bondacceptor templates to direct ‘in-phase’ reactivity of a diene diacid in the solid state.  J. Photochem. Photobiol.  2011, 10(9), 1384.

15.  Atkinson, M.B.J.; Bučar, D.-K.; Sokolov, A.N.; Friščić, T.; Robinson, C.N.; Bilal, M.Y.; Sinada, N.G.; Chevannes, A., MacGillivray, L.R. General application of mechanochemistry to templated solid-state reactivity: rapid and solvent-free access to crystalline supermolecules.  Chem. Commun.2008, 5713.

16. Hamilton, T.D.; Bučar, D.-K.; Atkinson, M.B.J.; Papaefstathiou, G.S.; MacGillivray, L.R. 1D and 2D metal–organic frameworks functionalized with free pyridyl groups.  J. Mol. Struct.2006, 796, 58. 

17. Whitesides, G.M.; Bwambok, D.; Thuo, M.M.; Mirica, K.A.; Atkinson, M.B.J.  (2015). Levitation of Materials in Paramagnetic Ionic Liquids (U.S. Patent No.  61/659,715). U.S. Patent and Trademark Office.