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

Manisha Choudhary, Ph.D.
Manisha Choudhary, Ph.D.

Manisha Choudhary, Ph.D.

Manisha earned her PhD and MS degrees in Chemical Engineering from Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Kharagpur, India, in 2019 and 2014, respectively. Her BS degree is also in Chemical Engineering from M.B.M. University, India. She is interested in the fate and degradation of micropollutants/emerging contaminants/endocrine disrupting compounds/PPCPs/PFAS in water/wastewater treatment processes. In her spare time, she enjoys dancing, painting, meditation, yoga and social work for child welfare.  

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

Grace Johnson
Grace Johnson

Grace Johnson

Grace is an MS student in Civil and Environmental Engineering at the University of Maine. She holds a B.S. degree in Civil and Environmental Engineering, also from the University of Maine. She is researching the extent of microplastic pollution off the coast of Maine, as well as mitigation strategies that can be implemented to reduce it. In her spare time, Grace enjoys hiking, watching movies, and playing the flute.

Zach Doherty
Zach Doherty

Zach Doherty

Zachary Doherty is a first-year graduate student pursuing a Civil and
Environmental Engineering MS at the University of Maine. His work with
the Apul Research Group involves observing and understanding the
impacts of nanobubbles in water and wastewater treatment. He was
previously awarded the CUGR undergraduate student Susan J. Hunter
Presidential Research Impact Award, for the project titled "Taste and
Odor Degradation in Water by Nanobubble-Facilitated Ultrasonication."
In his free time Zach enjoys reading, biking, and traveling.

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

Ashton is a PhD student in Civil and Environmental Engineering at the University of Maine. His MS degree is from the same Department and undergraduate degree was in Earth and Environmental Science from Susquehanna University in Selinsgrove, PA. He worked as an environmental analyst for 1 year at Nelson Analytical In Southern Maine. His  research interests lie in water treatment  and environmental chemistry. In his free time, he enjoys hiking, climbing, swimming, and playing tennis.

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

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).

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

Past Group Members

Dr. Seif Eldien worked as a visiting postdoctoral researcher in the Civil and Environmental Engineering Department at the University of Maine in 2022.

Louis Nicoloro graduated from the Civil and Environmental Engineering Department at the University of Maine, (2022) after working on a NASA funded catalyst testing project. 

Samantha Ismail, High School Student Researcher (2022) Project title: Detection and Characterization of Microplastics in Frenchman Bay. The project is a collaboration between Dr. Apul and Dr. Ross. 

Jessica Liggiero graduated from Civil and Environmental Engineering at the University of Maine, (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 University of Massachusetts 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 at Harvard University