Bess Vlaisavljevich

Current Appointment

  • Assistant Professor (2017–Present)
    Department of Chemistry, University of South Dakota.

Previous Appointments

  • Postdoctoral Fellow (2015–2017), Shiozaki Group,
    Department of Chemistry, Northwestern University.
  • Postdoctoral Fellow (2013–2015), Smit Group,
    Department of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering, University of California, Berkeley.


  • Ph.D., Chemistry, University of Minnesota, Twin Cities (2013).
    Advisor: Prof. Laura Gagliardi
  • M.S., Chemistry, University of Minnesota, Twin Cities (2010).
  • B.A., Chemistry, University of Minnesota, Morris (2007).

Brief Bio

Bess was born in the St. Paul, Minnesota. She received a B.A. from the University of Minnesota Morris in 2007. She continued her studies at the University of Minnesota Twin Cities where she obtained her M.S. in Chemistry in 2010 and her Ph.D. in Chemistry in 2013 in the group of Laura Gagliardi. Specifically, she studied the electronic structure of actinide and lanthanide species. Following her Ph.D., she performed postdoctoral research at the University of California Berkeley (2013 to 2015) in Berend Smit's group studying gas adsorption and separations in nanoporous materials. Next, she worked at Northwestern University (2015 to 2017) as a postdoctoral researcher in Toru Shiozaki's group where she implemented wavefunction-based methods in the BAGEL program. In addition to her academic work, she was in the MN Air National Guard for 12 years in the Aerial Port where she loaded cargo and passengers on airplanes. Her favorite experience in the military was being able to move cargo for the NSF in Antarctica, which included going to the South Pole. Despite all the time spent in cold places, it never occurs to her to check the weather and snowstorms always take her by surprise. She likes coffee, penguins, cats, and fall colors.