Barbara Hughes received a B.S. in Chemistry from Colorado State University in 2005. Her undergraduate research involved spectroscopic characterization of the products formed from the interaction of vanadium(IV) with biologically relevant molecules such as NADH in aqueous media. She received her M.S. in Chemistry from the University of California, Berkeley, in 2007. At Berkeley, under the direction of research advisor Chris Chang, her research focused on the synthesis and characterization of Smart MRI contrast agents for iron(II)/(III).
After completing her M.S., she joined the Chemical Sciences and Nanoscience Group at NREL under the direction of Arthur Nozik. Her work at NREL involves the synthesis and characterization of colloidal semiconductor nanocrystals for MEG studies.