Team

Principal Investigator

Onur G. Apul, Ph.D., PE
Onur G. Apul, Ph.D., PE

Onur G. Apul, Ph.D., PE

Dr. Apul is an Assistant Professor in Civil and Environmental Engineering at University of Maine. He earned his Ph.D. in Environmental Engineering from Clemson University in 2014. His bachelor's and master's degrees are in Environmental Engineering from Turkey's Middle East Technical University

Laboratory Manager

Neil Fisher, Ph.D.
Neil Fisher, Ph.D.

Neil Fisher, Ph.D.

Neil Fisher manages the environmental engineering laboratories as well as being a Lab instructor for basic Civil Engineering courses. Neil has over 18 years of experience working on innovative research and his specialties include custom instrumentation and data collection techniques in the lab.

Postdoctoral Researchers

Seif E. Salem, Ph.D.
Seif E. Salem, Ph.D.

Seif E. Salem, Ph.D.

Dr. Salem is a researcher at animal health research institute -Agricultural Research Center in Egypt. He earned his Ph.D. in Toxicology from Benha University, Egypt. He is currently USAID funded post-doc scholar at University of Maine. His research interests are in the field of analytical toxicology especially for heavy metals and pesticides

Sudheera Yaparatne, Ph.D.
Sudheera Yaparatne, Ph.D.

Sudheera Yaparatne, Ph.D.

Sudheera Yaparatne earned his Ph.D. in 2021 from Department of Chemistry at the University of Maine. His BS degree is also in Chemistry from the University of Kelaniya, Sri Lanka. His research interests are in the areas of environmental chemistry, nano photocatalysts, material characterization, and environmental remediation. In his free time, he likes hiking, playing table tennis, and running

Graduate Students

Dilara Hatinoglu
Dilara Hatinoglu

Dilara Hatinoglu

Dilara is a Ph.D. student who started her work in Spring 2022. She holds an M.S. degree in Environmental Engineering from Middle East Technical University and a B.S. in Environmental Engineering from Hacettepe University in Ankara, Turkey. Her master's studies focused on investigating the fate and effects of microplastics during sewage sludge treatment processes. In her spare time, Dilara enjoys swimming, cycling and oil painting.

Sonia Moavenzadeh
Sonia Moavenzadeh

Sonia Moavenzadeh

Sonia is a Ph.D. student in Civil and Environmental Engineering at University of Maine. She earned her MS degree in Civil and Environmental Engineering at K. N. Toosi University of Technology in Tehran. Her research interest is utilizing nanomaterials for enabling pragmatic and sustainable water treatment methods to overcome emerging water treatment problems. She applies experimental and theoretical methodology for problem-solving in her research. In her spare time, Sonia likes swimming, watching movies, meeting with her friends, and traveling. 

Ashton Collins
Ashton Collins

Ashton Collins

I am an MS student in Civil and Environmental Engineering at the University of Maine. My undergraduate degree was in Earth and Environmental Science from Susquehanna University in Selinsgrove, PA. I worked as an environmental analyst for 1 year at Nelson Analytical In Southern Maine. My research interests lie in water treatment technology and environmental chemistry. In my free time, I enjoy hiking, climbing, swimming, and playing tennis.

Busra Sonmez (Graduate Researcher 2018 - 2021)
Busra Sonmez (Graduate Researcher 2018 - 2021)

Busra Sonmez (Graduate Researcher 2018 - 2021)

Publications: 

Hoogesteijn von Reitzenstein, N., Sonmez, B., Pruitt, E., Hristovski, K., Westerhoff, P. Apul, O. G. 2022. Comparing the Morphologies and Adsorption Behavior of Electrospun Polystyrene Composite Fibers with 0D Fullerenes, 1D Multiwalled Carbon Nanotubes and 2D Graphene Oxides. Chemical Engineering Journal Advances. 9: 100199.

Sonmez, B., Zhang, Y., Reuther, J., Saleh, N., Venkatesan, A., Apul, O.G. 2021. Thermal Regeneration of Spent Granular Activated Carbon Presents an Opportunity to Break the Forever PFAS Cycle. Environmental Science and Technology, 55: 5608-5619.

Selected Presentations:

Sonmez, B., Biswas, P., Reuther, J., Apul, O.G. Adsorption Capacity Enhanced by Tuning Carbon Size of Superfine Powdered Activated Carbon Electrospun Fiber. 2021 Sustainable Nanotechnology Organization Conference, November 2021 (Oral Presentation).

Sonmez, B., Zhang, Y., Reuther, J., Saleh, N. B., Venkatesan, A., Apul, O.G. Regeneration of Spent Granular Activated Carbon Presents an Opportunity to Break the Forever PFAS Cycle. SERDP & ESTCP (Virtual) Symposium, December 2020 (Poster Presentation)

Reuther, J., Apul, O.G., Shahrokhinia, A., Sonmez, B. Towards Dynamic Nanosphere Networks (DNNs): A Novel Platform for Regenerable Water Treatment Systems. American Chemical Society National Meeting, Division of Environmental Chemistry, August 2020, Virtual Meeting (Oral Presentation).

Sonmez, B., Wei, J., Wong, H.W., Apul, O.G. Breaking the Cycle of Forever Chemicals, Per- And Polyfluorinated Alkyl Substances (PFAS) in Water Treatment Systems. UMass Lowell Student Research & Community Engagement Symposium, April 2020, Lowell, MA (Poster Presentation).

Interested in joining Apul group?
Interested in joining Apul group?

Interested in joining Apul group?

We always seek motivated and hard working team players to fill in positions. If you are interested in becoming a team member, please email your (i) research interests in a cover letter (ii) a CV along with (iii) the names of your references to onur.apul@maine.edu

Ritchie Lafaille (2020 Alumnus, MS)
Ritchie Lafaille (2020 Alumnus, MS)

Ritchie Lafaille (2020 Alumnus, MS)

Thesis: Repetable use assessment of microwave susceptors as permanent bed in ex situ remediation of petroleum contaminated soils. 

Publications: 

Lafaille, R., Bozkurt, Y., Pruitt, E., Lewis, J., Bernier, R., Kong, D., Westerhoff, P., Dahlen, P., Apul, O.G., 2021. Repeatable Use Assessment of Silicon Carbide as Permanent Susceptor Bed in Ex Situ Microwave Remediation of Petroleum-Impacted Soils. Case Studies in Chemical and Environmental Engineering 4: 100116.

Bozkurt, Y., Lafaille, R., Lu, D., Zhang, X., Giles, R., Apul, O.G. 2021. Effects of carbonaceous susceptors during microwave pretreatment of waste activated sludge and subsequent anaerobic digestion. Bioresource Technology Reports 13: 100641.

Selected Presentations:

Lafaille, R., Pruitt, E., Lewis, J., Bernier, R., Dahlen, P., Apul, O.G. Repeatable Use of Susceptors in Microwave Remediation of Petroleum Contaminated Soils. New England Graduate Student Water Symposium, September 2019, Amherst, MA (Poster Presentation).

Lafaille, R., Zhang, X., Giles, R., Apul, O.G. Nano-Enabled Microwave Pretreatment of Waste Activated Sludge. New England Graduate Student Water Symposium, September 2018, Amherst, MA (Poster Presentation).

Yigit C. Bozkurt (2020 Alumnus, MS)
Yigit C. Bozkurt (2020 Alumnus, MS)

Yigit C. Bozkurt (2020 Alumnus, MS)

Thesis: Nano-Enabled Microwave Pretreatment of Waste Activated Sludge Prior to Anaerobic Digestion Using Carbon Nanofibers.

Publications:

Lafaille, R., Bozkurt, Y., Pruitt, E., Lewis, J., Bernier, R., Kong, D., Westerhoff, P., Dahlen, P., Apul, O.G., 2021. Repeatable Use Assessment of Silicon Carbide as Permanent Susceptor Bed in Ex Situ Microwave Remediation of Petroleum-Impacted Soils. Case Studies in Chemical and Environmental Engineering 4: 100116.

Bozkurt, Y., Apul, O.G.  2020. Critical Review for Microwave Pretreatment of Waste Activated Sludge Prior to Anaerobic Digestion. Current Opinion in Environmental Science and Health. 14: 1-9.

Bozkurt, Y., Lafaille, R., Lu, D., Zhang, X., Giles, R., Apul, O.G. 2021. Effects of carbonaceous susceptors during microwave pretreatment of waste activated sludge and subsequent anaerobic digestion. Bioresource Technology Reports 13: 100641.

Selected Presentations:

Bozkurt, Y., Lu, D., Zhang, X., Giles, R., Apul, O.G. Nano-enabled Pretreatment of Waste Activated Sludge prior to Anaerobic Digestion. Sustainable Nanotechnology Organization Conference, November 2019, San Diego, CA (Oral Presentation).

Bozkurt, Y., LaFaille, R., Zhang, X., Yu, T., Giles, R., Apul, O.G. Nano-Enabled Pretreatment of Waste Activated Sludge Prior to Anaerobic Digestion. Gordon Research Conference: Environmental Nanotechnology, June 2019, Newry, ME (Poster Presentation). 

Bozkurt, Y., Zhang, X., Giles, R., Apul, O.G. Minimization of Biosolids by Microwave Pretreatment of Waste Activated Sludge Prior to Anaerobic Digestion – Critical Review. University of Massachusetts Lowell Student  Symposium, April 2019, Lowell, MA (Poster Presentation).

Arsalan Khalid (2019 Alumnus, MS)
Arsalan Khalid (2019 Alumnus, MS)

Arsalan Khalid (2019 Alumnus, MS)

Thesis: Removal of Organic Contaminants of Incipient Concern from Water by Graphitic Adsorbents

Publications:

Khalid, A., Rowles, L.S., Ateia, M., Xiao, M., Moses, I., Bello, D., Karanfil, T., Saleh, N., Apul, O.G.* 2020. Mesoporous activated carbon shows superior adsorption affinity for 11-nor-9-carboxy-Δ9-tetrahydrocannabinol in water. Clean Water (Nature Partner Journal) 

Saleh, N., Khalid, A., Tian, Y. Ayres, C., Sabaraya, I., Pietari, J., Hanigan, D., Chowdhury, I., Apul, O.G. 2019. Degradation and removal of poly- and per-fluoroalkyl substances from aqueous systems by nano-enabled water treatment technologies. Environmental Science: Water Research and Technology. 5: 198-208. (Journal Cover, selected for the Best Papers 2019 Collection).

Apul, O.G., Rowles, L.S., Khalid, A., Karanfil, T., Richardson, S., Saleh, N. 2020. Transformation potential of 11-Nor-9-Carboxy-Δ9-tetrahydrocannabinol during its passage through engineered water treatment systems: A perspective. Environment International. 137: 105586.

Selected Presentations:

Khalid, A., Pagsuyoin, S., Bello, D., Karanfil, T., Apul, O.G. Adsorption of Δ⁹-tetrahydrocannabinol by Carbon-Based Nano Adsorbents. 256th American Chemical Society National Meeting and Exhibition. August 2018, Boston, MA (Oral Presentation).

Khalid, A., Tian, Y., Ayres, C., Sabaraya, I.V., Pietari, J., Chowdhury, I., Saleh, N.B., Apul, O.G. Removal of Poly- and Per-fluoroalkyl Substances (PFAS) from Natural Waters. Cabot Corporation, Student Material Research Symposium. May 2018. Billerica, MA (Poster Presentation). 

Khalid, A., Rowles, L.S., Apul, O.G., Saleh, N. Readily Deployable Electrospun Polymer/Nanocomposite Cartridge for Lead Removal from Drinking Water Distribution Pipelines. University of Massachusetts Lowell, Francis College of Engineering Prototyping Competition. December 2017. Lowell, MA (Poster Presentation/Best Poster Acc. to Crowd Voting).

Undergraduate Researchers

Louis Nicoloro
Louis Nicoloro

Louis Nicoloro

Louis Nicoloro is a senior studying Chemical Engineering at the University of Maine, expecting to graduate in Spring 2022. He is assisting on a project testing a catalyst/carbon mixture to be used in gas masks. In his free time Louis enjoys surfing, snowboarding, hiking, and spending time outdoors

Zachary Doherty
Zachary Doherty

Zachary Doherty

Zachary Doherty is a rising senior in Civil and Environmental Engineering at the University of Maine with an expected graduation date in Spring 2022. He is a researcher at Apul Research Group working on understanding the impacts of nanobubbles in water treatment and it's possible applications. In his free time Zach enjoys reading, biking, and traveling outside the U.S..

Past Undergraduate Researchers

Jessica Liggiero graduated from Civil and Environmental Engineering at the University of Maine, in the Spring of 2022. She  participated in a summer research project to search for microplastics off the coast of Maine. The project is a collaboration between Dr. Apul and Dr. Ross.

Jana Latayan, Undergraduate Researcher from UMass Amherst Chemical Engineering (2018-2020) Project title: High-Resolution Capacitive Deionization for Selective PFAS Removal. Co-advised by Dr. Ertan Agar and Dr. Sheree Pagsuyoin.

Joe Egitto, Undergraduate Researcher from UMass Lowell Mechanical Engineering (2018-2020) Project title: High-Resolution Capacitive Deionization for Selective PFAS Removal. Co-advised by Dr. Ertan Agar and Dr. Sheree Pagsuyoin.

Matthew Tengtrakool, High School Student Researcher (2019) Project title: Repeated Use of Carbon Additives during Microwave Remediation for Targeted Heating of Petroleum Hydrocarbons. Currently an incoming freshman at Harvard University