Current Members


Berlyn Mellein

Berlyn Mellein joined Professor Mark Shiflett’s research group as a Research Associate in January 2020. Dr. Mellein received her B.S. from the University of California, Santa Barbara in 2003 and her Ph.D. in Chemical Engineering from University of Notre Dame in 2008.  For her doctorate, she studied the anti-solvent ability and solvatochromatic effects of CO2 in ionic liquid/organic mixtures. She then joined DuPont, where she contributed to programs ranging from increasing production capacity by studying fundamental properties of polymer fibers to studying oxalate chemistry for TiO2 and Fe2O3 production. Dr. Mellein is currently working in collaboration with ExxonMobil to better understand thermophysical properties and vapor liquid equilibria of hydrocarbons in aqueous salt solutions.

Postdoctoral Researchers

Raj New Pic Profile 1986 Resize.jpgRajkumar Kore
KU Profile

Dr. Rajkumar Kore has been working as a Senior Researcher with Dr. Mark Shiflett’s research group since May 2018. His current research interests are design ionic liquids (IL) for catalysis, separation, materials development, etc. Prior to joining Dr. Shiflett’s group, Dr. Kore worked as a postdoctoral research scientist with Prof. Robin D. Rogers’ group at The University of Alabama from November 2014 to April 2018. There, he worked on multiple IL-based projects, led a team of research postdocs on an industrially sponsored project (from Reliance Industries) and developed several homogeneous and heterogeneous ILs used for catalysis and separation processes. Dr. Kore completed his Ph.D. degree in chemistry from Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Ropar with Prof. Rajendra Srivastava, from 2010 to 2014. His doctoral study was primarily focused on the development of ILs as well as porous materials like hierarchical zeolites for catalysis. Prior to his Ph.D., he worked as a research assistant on development of a continuous process for biodiesel in the Indo-US project in NCL Pune from 2009 to 2010. He has 34 research articles (with 708 citations), 4 US patents granted and filed 3, 15 notice of invention submitted on new catalysts, and multiple other works under review.

Hannes Schmidt

Hannes Schmidt received his PhD in mechanical engineering from the University of Rostock in 2019 for experimental analyses of thermodynamic seawater properties at PTB, the national metrology institute of Germany. Hannes’ results sparked a multidisciplinary discussion on oceanographic standards and enable reliable thermohaline circulation and climate predictions. In Dr. Shiflett’s working group, Hannes is researching the interaction of refrigerants with low global warming potential and lubricants in collaboration with the Chemours Company, in order to advance climate-friendly chilling processes.

Carlos Castor Jr

Dr. Carlos Castor received his Bachelor of Science in Chemical Engineering from the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro (UFRJ), Brazil. He completed his Master and Doctor’s degree in Chemical Engineering at UFRJ. During his doctorate, Dr. Carlos Castor worked on several research projects in cooperation with some international petrochemical companies, more specifically related to the polymerization processes under Prof. Jose Carlos Pinto leadership and guidance. In 2015 Dr. Carlos Castor worked as a post-doctorate at Tulane University for development and implementation of an Automatic Continuous Online Monitoring and Control Platform for polymerization reactions under Prof. Wayne Reed leadership. From February 2016 to October 2019, he worked as Research Engineer under Prof. Pinto leadership at the Polymer Engineering Laboratory (LabPol). Dr. Carlos Castor joined the Dr. Allgeier and Dr. Shiflett’s research group in November 2019 to develop a continuous polymerization process on different scales. He has experience in chemical reactors, micro-reactors, batch and continuous processes, in particular in the area of modeling/simulation of polymerization processes.

Graduate Students

Al-barghouti_Karim_2046Karim Al-barghouti

Karim obtained his Bachelor of Science in Chemical Engineering from the University of South Florida in May of 2020. In the summer of 2019, Karim worked under the mentorship of Professor Aaron Scurto as an REU student at KU. His work focused on analyzing thermal properties of refrigerants and ionic liquid mixtures. In August of 2020, Karim rejoined KU to pursue a PhD in Chemical Engineering under the direction of Professor Aaron Scurto. His current work focuses on transport properties of refrigerants and ionic liquid systems.

Abby-HeadshotAbby Harders

Abby graduated summa cum laude from Bethel College in 2020 with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Chemistry and Mathematics. She is currently pursuing a PhD at the University of Kansas in the Shiflett Research Group. Abby is a member of Project EARTH, a project focused on identifying sustainable processes for the selective separation of hydrofluorocarbon (HFC) refrigerant mixtures. Her research is centered on using membranes for the separation of HFC mixtures that contribute to global warming.

Kalin Baca

Kalin Baca received her Bachelor of Science in Chemical Engineering with a concentration in Bioengineering in May of 2018, Master of Science in Chemical Engineering in December 2019 and Master of Business Administration in December 2019 from the University of New Mexico. She is currently pursuing her PhD at the University of Kansas as a student in the Shiflett Research Group. Her research is focused on the separation of hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs) using ionic liquids.

Nicole Montoya

Nicole Montoya graduated with her B.S. in Chemical Engineering with a concentration in Bioengineering from the University of Kansas in May of 2019. She joined the Shiflett lab in January of 2020 to pursue her M.S in Chemical Engineering. Her research focuses on the thermal stabilization of vaccines using mesoporous silica in order to eliminate the need for a cold chain transport and increase global vaccine impact. Other research interests include drug delivery and biomaterials.

averma.jpgAnkit Verma
KU Profile

Ankit received his bachelor’s degree in Chemical Engineering from Indian Institute of Technology Madras, India in 2016. He was admitted for his PhD at KU in fall 2016 as a Chancellor’s Fellow. During the first two years of PhD he has worked on development of carbon nanotubes based high surface area materials. Under the guidance of Dr. Shiflett, Ankit is currently working on metal separations from mixed metal oxides. Upon graduation, he plans to pursue a career in industrial research.

Nicholas RedingNicholas Reding
KU Profile

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.

Andrew Yancey

Andrew earned his Bachelor of Science in Chemistry from Baylor University in 2019. He is currently working toward earning a M.S in Chemical Engineering and later plans to pursue a PhD while at KU. His initial research focuses on the development of zeolites and other porous media for the selective separation of hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs). Upon graduation, he plans to pursue a career in industry.

Ethan Finberg

Ethan Finberg graduated with a B.S. in Chemical Engineering from The University of Kansas in 2019. Following graduation, Ethan was hired by the Chemical & Petroleum Department and began working with Dr. Shiflett as an instructor for the Senior Chemical Engineering Laboratory course. Ethan continues to teach this course and, as of January of 2020, began research with Dr. Shiflett in pursuit of a M.S. in Chemical Engineering. Ethan’s graduate research involves modeling and building an extractive distillation column to separate refrigerants using an ionic liquid solvent.

Francisco Cunha

Francisco is a Masters student from Instituto Superior Técnico in Portugal working on his MsC dissertation in Dr.Shiflett’s lab, focusing on the use of ionic liquids to separate refrigerant R-410a into less harmful components. While pursuing his degree, he also did some lab work researching the properties of DES. During his free time, he works as a coordinator for a political party in his home country, while spending the remaining time writing, reading and playing video games.

research technologist

Matthew Torres-MaksimowiczMAtthew Torres-Maksimowicz

Matthew Torres-Maksimowicz received his Master’s in Project Management from the University of Kansas in 2017 and Bachelor’s in Mathematics from the University of Kansas in 2007. Matthew has experience with lab testing, troubleshooting, instrumentation, maintenance and repair, and fabrication in a research environment. He also designs and 3D prints a wide range of objects for prototyping or functional use. Matthew is currently working as a research technologist for the Shiflett Research group.

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.

leffewKenneth Leffew, Ph.D.

Dr. Leffew is an adjunct professor at Villanova University.  He retired from DuPont in 2016, where he held the highest technical position in the company, DuPont Fellow.  In his 41 year career there, he was involved in the discovery, development and commercialization of numerous polymer processes and products, including Neoprene, PET for bottle resin, PMMA, Ethylene copolymers, polymers for optical disks, color copier toner, OLED devices, flexible solar cells and methanol fuel cells.  He received DuPont’s Engineering Excellence Award four times and is inventor on 29 US Patents and has over 60 publications and presentations.  His interests include polymerization reactor design, polymer process synthesis and processing, advanced process control and product design.

Undergraduate Student RESEARCHERS

AwilsonAnna Wilson

Anna is currently a senior studying chemical engineering with a biomedical focus. She is researching the iron binding properties of zeolites as well as other structures with Professor Mark Shiflett, Dr. David Corbin, Professor Cory Berkland and Kerry Kao. Anna was born in Tulsa, Oklahoma and moved to Wichita, Kansas 4 years ago. In her free time, Anna is involved in AICHE and SWE on campus and is passionate about ceramics. She is also a fellow of the Self Engineering Leadership Program and Vann Fellowship of Economic Innovation.

Erin Sturd

Erin is currently a junior studying chemical engineering at KU. In her free time, Erin serves as the Vice President of Campus Relations of Engineering Student Council and as a varsity member of the KU Crew Rowing Team. She is also a part of the University Honors Program and the KUEST ONE Scholars Program.

Teresa soraoka

I am currently a junior pursuing a degree in Chemical Engineering. I am studying the effects of ionic liquids on hair and I hope to continue working in the cosmetology field of Chemical Engineering throughout college and after graduation. I am also involved in iHAWKE and a new scholarship program at KU called KUEST ONE.

Brian Kirchhoff

Brian Kirchhoff is a junior studying chemical engineering at the University of Kansas. With the Shiflett Group, he is researching the creation of Cold-Chain Independent Vaccines using Inorganic Vehicles under the supervision of Dr. Picking. Outside of the lab, Brian is a member of the SELF Fellowship, Engineers Without Borders, AIChE, and the Engineering Student Council. In his free time, Brian enjoys hiking, swimming and spending time with friends

Leslie Laguna

Leslie is a senior studying Chemical Engineering with a Biomedical focus. At KU Leslie is involved with Chem Club and the Multicultural Scholars Program. In her free time Leslie enjoys reading, baking, and binging TV with her cat.

Eric Hartman

Eric is a junior at the University of Kansas majoring in chemical engineering with a premedical focus. In Dr. Shiflett’s lab, he exercises his passions for chemistry and medicine as a member of the Vaccine Encapsulation Project; a project which seeks to utilize porous materials in order to inhibit protein denaturation under the conditions of vaccine transport. At KU, Eric is heavily involved with fraternity life, being the Director of Interfraternal Relations on the Junior Interfraternity Council and serving as the Community Service Coordinator and Philanthropy Chairman for his own fraternity, Delta Tau Delta.

Rhianna Roth

Rhianna is currently a senior pursuing a degree in Chemical Engineering with a Biomedical emphasis. In Dr. Shiflett’s lab, she works on Project Protium and Project Tritium studying membrane permeability with Erin Sturd. Rhianna also serves as the Vice President of the ​Jayhawk Club Water Polo team.

Greta Olsen

Greta is a junior at KU studying chemical engineering with an environmental focus. In Dr. Shiflett’s lab she will be working on refrigerant separation in order to decrease their global warming potentials. As a member of the University of Kansas Swim and Dive team, Greta competes in butterfly and sprint freestyle events. In her free time, she enjoys reading and being outdoors.

Catherine Dehaemers

Catherine is currently a senior pursuing a degree in Mechanical Engineering with a minor in Visual Art. In Dr. Shiflett’s lab, she works on the removal of sulfites from wine. Using CAD modeling and 3D printing, she is developing a prototype device which will filter the wine. Outside of class, she is a member of Chi Omega sorority, and she participates in KU Women’s Club Soccer and serves as an Undergraduate Engineering Ambassador

Sophia Terian

Sophia is a sophmore, born and raised in Kansas City, studying chemical engineering with an environmental emphasis. She currently works on researching the iron binding capacities of zeolites and other materials with Dr. Mark Shiflett, Dr. David Corbin, and Professor Cory Berkland. Sophia is a member of Engineers Without Borders and the University Honors Program. In her free time, she enjoys painting, poetry, and practicing piano and French.

Jake Wagner

Jake is currently a junior studying chemical engineering at the University of Kansas. In Dr. Shiflett’s lab, Jake works with Michael Shao in helping create Apsen Plus guides. On campus, Jake is involved as a college Younglife leader, is the financial officer of Jayhawk Rocket Design, and is part of the University Honors Program. In his free time, he enjoys golfing, hiking and fishing, cooking, and hanging out with friends.

Lucia Matamoros

Lucia is currently a sophmore studying chemical engineering with an environmental concentration. She will be working in the ionic liquid portion of Project EARTH, which focuses on the separation of hydrofluorocarbon refrigerants that have a high global warming potential. Lucia is part of the University Honors Program and a member of the Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers (SHPE). In her free time she enjoys reading, swimming, and watching movies.