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

Postdoctoral Researchers

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

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
Busra Sonmez

Busra Sonmez

Busra is a Ph.D. student in Environmental Engineering co-advised by Dr.James Reuther of Chemistry at the University of Massachusetts Lowell. Her research focuses on exploring infinitely regeneration of carbon adsorbents and edge functionalized graphene oxide. Her BS and MS degrees are in Environmental Engineering from Middle East Technical University, Turkey. Her MS thesis title was “Removal of Imidacloprid from Wastewaters by Ozonation and Photo-Ozonation”. In her free time, Busra enjoys joining dance classes, exploring historical places and trying various World cuisines. She mostly spends her leisure time reading and learning about different subjects such as self-development and psychology.

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

Jessica Liggiero
Jessica Liggiero

Jessica Liggiero

Jessica Liggiero is an incoming senior in Civil and Environmental Engineering at the University of Maine, expecting to graduate in the spring of 2022. She is participating 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.

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

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