Meet Our Group

Postdoctoral Researchers

William J.R. Gilbert, ph.D.
KU Profile

William (Bill) Gilbert is currently a post-doctoral research assistant in Mark Shiflett’s laboratory. He received his Ph.D. from the University of Kansas, Department of Chemical and Petroleum Engineering in 2016. While pursuing a Ph.D., Bill received the Madison and Lila Self Graduate Fellowship and was a School of Engineering Graduate Ambassador. His graduate research focused on the development of a novel enzymatic method for degrading polyacrylamide polymer used in slickwater fracturing. Bill received a B.S. in environmental science from Haskell Indian Nations University and was named the American Indian Higher Education Consortium Student of the Year and the Midwestern Collegiate Athletic Conference Scholar Athlete of the Year. His collegiate work was interrupted in from 2003-2005 when he was deployed to Tikrit, Iraq, through the U.S. Army Reserve. Bill also participated in the Haskell/KU Bridge program and Post-Baccalaureate Research Education Program where he conducted cardiopulmonary physiology and polymer thermodynamics research.

dave-minnickDavid L. Minnick, ph.d.
KU Profile

Dave Minnick conducted his graduate work at the University of Kansas in the department of chemical and petroleum engineering from 2011-2016 as a Madison and Lila Self Graduate Fellow. The core of Minnick’s doctoral research was dedicated to leveraging ionic liquid solvent technology for the development of improved cellulosic biomass processing routes. After completing his Ph.D. with honors in 2016, Minnick was hired as a short-term post-doctoral research associate to investigate a proprietary chemical reaction for the Chevron Phillips Chemical Company as part of a joint project between the Center for Environmentally Beneficial Catalysis and Chevron Phillips. Today, Minnick looks forward to continuing industrial-academic collaborative research efforts as a post-doctoral research associate in Mark B. Shiflett’s laboratory.

Graduate Students

ambassadorslinkedinAlejandra Rocha
KU Profile

Alejandra received her chemical engineering bachelor’s degree with honors from the University of Kansas in 2014. After graduating, she worked in the process engineering industry running dynamic state simulations. After two years of industry experience, Alejandra returned to KU to pursue her Master’s degree in Chemical Engineering. She is currently investigating fluorocarbons as clathrate formers for an economic alternative to water desalination. Her career interests involve the design and development of alternative energy.

tugba-turnaoglu_2Tugba Turnaoglu
KU Profile

Tugba received her Bachelor’s degree in Chemical Engineering at Ankara University in Turkey and her master’s degree in Chemical Engineering at the University of Oklahoma. She has been a PhD student at KU since Spring 2014. During the first three years of her degree, she worked on low salinity waterflooding on carbonate reservoirs. She is currently working on ammonia absorption in ionic liquids. Her current research interests are ionic liquids, heating cooling cycles, vapor liquid equilibria, zeolites, nanofluids, surfactants and surface phenomena. As she is very enthusiastic about research, she hopes to pursue a career in research, be it in industry or academia. She also enjoy teaching and spreading scientific knowledge.

Nicholas RedingNicholas Reding 

Nicholas Reding received his Bachelor of Science in chemical engineering from the University of Kansas in 2016. Following graduation with his undergraduate degree, Nicholas currently works in the field of explosion protection, designing protection solutions for a wide range of applications. After a year of industry experience, he decided to return to KU to pursue a master’s degree in chemical engineering. His research interests include process safety, combustion science, and explosion protection (more specifically, suppression and isolation of non-standard deflagrations). Under the guidance of Dr. Shiflett, Nicholas is currently working on a study that illustrates the effectiveness of various inhibitors for the suppression of highly reactive metal dust deflagrations. Working in collaboration with Fike Corporation, his primary focus is to characterize the ability of various agents to absorb heat and limit the maximum pressure rise during contained combustion. Upon graduation, Nicholas plans to explore additional research studies with continued attention towards industry-related projects.

Senior Scientists

David R. Corbin, Ph.D.

Dr. Corbin is an adjunct senior research scientist with 32 years of industrial research experience. He has issued 62 US patents and has published more than 130 publications, in addition to co-editing two books on porous materials. His research interests include applications of inorganic materials to industrial problems, zeolites, separations, and metal oxides.

Mark A. Harmer, Ph.D.

Dr. Harmer is currently working at Sustainable Chemistry Consulting in Landenberg, PA. He has 32 years of industrial experience with several commercial products, 73 patents, and 81 publications. He is also a member of the board J. Green Chemistry, and is a NSF and DOE grant reviewer and Strategy Consultant. He is primarily interested in acid catalysis, ionic liquid applications, and biobased adhesives.

Scott C. Jackson, Ph.D.

Dr. Jackson is an adjunct senior research scientist at KU and an adjunct professor at Villanova University. Previously, he was a DuPont Senior Technical Fellow with 33 years of industrial research experience. In addition to his 41 US patents and 28 publications and presentations, he is also a recipient of the Engineering Excellence Award for the development of Extractive Distillation technology. His primary area of research interest includes fluid phase thermodynamics of biphasic systems and scale ups of liquid-liquid extraction systems.

Undergraduate Students

Katie Bauguess

Katie is currently a senior pursuing a degree in Chemical Engineering. In our lab, she is working on a zeolite project with Professor Mark Shiflett, Dr. Bill Gilbert, Dr. David Corbin and Professor Cory Berkland. She is researching several zeolite structures and their ability to bind with metals with a specific focus on iron.

Brooks Danahy

Brooks is currently a senior studying chemical engineering at KU. In the Shiflett research group he is assisting Dr. David Minnick with a project investigating gas sorption in ionic liquids. In his free time, Brooks also enjoys being a coordinator for Camp Kesem, a free summer camp for children affected by parental cancer.

Maddie Lyda

Maddie is a senior studying Chemical Engineering with a focus in biomedical engineering. In the lab, she is currently working on studying gas chromatography and various separation techniques. In her free time, she enjoys being involved in the Society of Women Engineers and the director of EXPO committee and community service for AIChE.

Sally Ritchie

Sally Ritchie is a senior studying chemical engineering here at KU. In Dr. Shiflett’s lab, she works on researching solubility of ammonia in ionic liquids with Tugba Turnaoglu, which has applications in absorption refrigeration cycles.

Michael Shao

Michael is a sophomore studying chemical engineering and economics. In Dr. Shiflett’s lab, he works with Alejandra Rocha studying desalination using clathrate hydrates and also assists Dr. Shiflett in creating ASPEN Plus guides. In his free time, Michael serves as an Engineering Senator for Student Senate, a Music Mentors Coordinator for the Center for Community Outreach, and a member of the Student Senate Finance Committee. 

Simon Velasquez Morales

Simon is currently a senior in chemical engineering at KU. He is finishing his undergraduate program this summer, and will be returning to KU for his Ph.D program in chemical and petroleum engineering. In his free time, he enjoyed partaking in the Chem-E-Car competition at the University of Tulsa where the team won for most creative design.

sofiaSofía de la O

Sofia is a senior pursuing a degree in chemical engineering with a concentration in pre-medicine. She is currently working on a zeolite project with Professor Mark Shiflett, Dr. Bill Gilbert, Dr. David Corbin and Professor Cory Berkland. Sofia is studying several zeolite structures and their ability to bind iron.  The end goal is to develop a drug to treat hemochromatosis.  In her free time, Sofia enjoys the outdoors, staying active, and serving the community.  In addition, Sofia has a passion for mentoring younger students and helping increase minority representation in STEM.

DSC_1351Austin Keller

Austin is a Junior studying Chemical Engineering and Mathematics at KU. He is currently investigating electric field assisted CO2 desorption from ionic liquids with Dr. Gilbert. In his free time, Austin is a musician and avid sports fan—playing trumpet in the Marching Jayhawks as well as the KU Volleyball band for 2 seasons.

barr2Kaylee Barr

Kaylee is a sophomore pursuing a degree in chemical engineering at KU. In Dr. Shiflett’s lab, she is studying the thermal stability of vaccines and how to use encapsulation to prevent denaturation of the proteins in vaccines during transport. At KU, she is involved in SWE, AIChE, and is one of the large event chairs for Chem Club. In her free time, she enjoys going on a run and teaching chemistry to children at Chem Club demonstrations.

dsc_1312-e1500587908941.jpgGrant Romme

Grant is currently a senior studying chemical engineering. He is researching the iron binding capabilities of zeolites and several other structures. He is researching this project with Professor Mark Shiflett, Dr. Bill Gilbert, Dr. David Corbin, Professor Cory Berkland, Katie Bauguess, and Sofia de la O.

Grant Johnson

Grant is currently a sophomore studying chemical engineering at KU. He is part of the valuable metal recovery group targeting the recycle of lithium and cobalt from mixed metal oxide batteries. Grant is working with Zakk Roy, Professor Mark Shiflett, Dr. David Minnick, and Dr. David Corbin. In his free time, he plays water polo on the KU club team and is a member of Sigma Pi.

Zakk Roy

Zakk Roy is a senior chemical engineering student at the University of Kansas. He is working with Dr. Mark Shiflett, Dr. David Corbin, and Dr. David Minnick on a project to recycle cathode materials from spent lithium-ion batteries. Outside of class, he spends time being involved with the school by serving on Engineering Student Council.

Elizabeth Hyde

Elizabeth, a junior pursuing a degree in Chemical Engineering with a focus in environmental engineering. She worked on the creation and development of the Shiflett Research website and assisted Alejandra Rocha with a techno-economic evaluation of a process of desalination using clathrate hydrates. Libby will be joining the Shiflett group again in Spring 2018.

kkao headshotKerry Kao

Kerry is a junior pursuing a chemical engineering degree with a biomedical emphasis. In Shiflett Research Group, she is a member of the iron binding zeolite project team alongside Dr. Bill Gilbert, Dr. David Corbin, and Professor Cory Berkland. She is studying different zeolite structures and their affinity to bind iron. Outside of classes, Kerry immerses herself in her role of KU Chem Club Secretary; performing chemistry demos for children and coming up with chemistry jokes to share with her peers.

david-trevino.jpgDavid Jr. Treviño

David is a junior at KU pursuing a degree in Chemical Engineering. They will be working with Nicholas Reding on characterizing suppressant agents for metal dust explosions. In their free time, David serves as President of Engineers Without Borders KU, Vice President of the Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers, and an active Fellow of the Self Engineering Leadership Program and Vann Fellowship of Economic Innovation.

Previous Students

Yadira Chavez-Arambula (Spring 2017)

Yadira graduated with a B.S. in Petroleum Engineering with a Geology minor. She contributed to the Shiflett lab by setting up and calibrating gas chromatographs with flame ionization (FID) and thermal conductivity (TCD) detectors. Additionally, Yadira created a design concept with KU logos and inspiring quotes to foster a culture of creativity and energy within the lab.

dylanDylan Flohrschutz (Summer 2017)

Dylan is currently pursuing a degree in chemical engineering at KU. He worked with Professor Mark Shiflett, Dr. Bill Gilbert, and Dr. David Corbin on a project that aims to investigate the ability of several hydrotalcites at removing sulfites from wine. In his free time, Dylan enjoys volunteering for the KU Biodiesel Initiative, spending time outdoors, and serving as vice-president of KU Math Club.

dsc_1331-e1500588515470.jpgDavid  Moeder (summer 2017)

David is currently a senior studying chemical engineering at KU. He was part of the sulfite removal group alongside Dylan Flohrshutz, Professor Mark Shiflett, Dr. Bill Gilbert, and Dr. David Corbin. The group manipulated different techniques to measure sulfites in wine, along with discovering optimal materials to remove these sulfites. David is a member of AIChE and enjoys spending his free time outdoors.

Visiting Teachers

Summer 2017

bio pic
Patrick Cannon

Patrick Cannon graduated from Johnson & Wales in Providence, Rhode Island in 2013 with a B.A. in Culinary Arts and Food Service Management. Previously, he worked for Hyatt Hotels in both San Antonio and Denver as a Sous Chef. Patrick joined the Teach for America Corps in 2016 and has been placed in Oklahoma City working at Oklahoma Centennial Mid-High School where he teaches 7th and 8th Grade Science, Anatomy, and Mathematics. Patrick has joined the Shiflett Lab through the CEBC’s Research Experience for Teacher program. Patrick’s main areas of interest are zeolites and their potential uses as well as how the methodology of research in the Shiflett Lab can be translated into lesson for the 7th-12th Grade Science classroom.

shellyShelly Robinson

Shelly is a participant in the Research Experiences for Teachers (RET) program whose goal is to expose and engage high school science teachers to the exciting research being done at the University of Kansas and take this back to their classroom. Shelly earned her BS in Biology from Southwestern College in Winfield, Kansas and a masters in Curriculum and Instruction from Saint Mary University in Leavenworth, Kansas. Shelly has 28 years of experience in the field of education with 25 of that in her current position with Santa Fe Trail High school where she teaches Biology, Earth & and Space Science and Energy Science. In her first year in the RET program Shelly worked under Dr. Susan Williams and researched the runoff potential of Hydroxyapatite which is a byproduct of the algal hydrothermal liquefaction process used to produce renewable biodiesel. As a second year RET participant Shelly is excited to work with Dr. Shiflett’s staff and to learn how sulfite and iron absorption can be implemented in her high school classroom.