My research focuses on several interconnected areas within the field of chemistry, with a particular emphasis on environmental applications and the synthesis of porous materials. Here is an organized and refined list of my research interests:
Environmental Applications of Industrial Minerals:
- Investigating the utilization of industrial minerals such as zeolites and clays for environmental remediation processes.
- Exploring their potential in water, air, and soil treatment to address pollution challenges.
Synthesis and Manufacturing Techniques of Porous Materials:
- Developing novel techniques for the production of porous zeolitic-like framework materials, including MOFs (Metal-Organic Frameworks) and ZIFs (Zeolitic Imidazolate Frameworks).
- Investigating the synthesis of synthetic zeolites, nano-zeolites, nanomaterials, and nano composites with tailored properties and enhanced functionalities.
Drug Delivery Systems on Porous Zeolitic Materials:
- Exploring the potential of porous zeolitic materials as carriers for controlled drug delivery.
- Investigating their properties and interactions with pharmaceutical compounds to optimize drug release profiles.
Carbon Dioxide (CO2) Capture using Solid-State Porous Materials:
- Investigating the use of solid-state porous materials for the efficient capture and storage of CO2.
- Exploring the design and synthesis of tailored materials with high selectivity and capacity for CO2 capture.
Heterogenous Catalysts based on Porous Materials:
- Designing and synthesizing nano catalysts utilizing porous materials as support matrices.
- Investigating their catalytic properties and applications in various chemical transformations.
- Layers and Membranes based on Porous Material (e.g. SPME):
- Studying the properties and applications of porous layers and membranes for selective separation processes.
- Exploring their potential in areas such development of SPME for air sampling, gas separation and water purification.
Natural Zeolites and Clays:
- Characterizing, modifying, and studying the properties of natural zeolites and clay minerals.
- Exploring their diverse applications in areas such as adsorption, ion exchange, and catalysis.
Air Pollution Measurement, Analysis, and Control (environmental and workplace- Industrial hygiene):
- Conducting research focused on air pollution, including the measurement, analysis, and control of air pollutants.
- Exploring innovative approaches and technologies for mitigating the adverse impacts of air pollution.
By investigating these interconnected research areas, my goal is to contribute to the development of sustainable solutions and advancements in environmental science, catalysis, and materials synthesis.
Some of the ongoing projects
Using industrial minerals including zeolites and clay minerals to remove nutrients from contaminated water and wastewater to control lake eutrophication
Lake eutrophication is becoming a serious environmental problem not only in Canada but also worldwide. The main objective of this research program is to develop efficient, inexpensive and eco-friendly mineral-based adsorbents to uptake nutrients (N and P) from contaminated water streams.
Using Natural and modified zeolites to modify the composting process
Composting has become one of the most common methods for solid waste management because of its low operational cost and limited environmental impact. Nutrient loss and generated malodors during the course of composting are considered as a drawback of this process. We use natural and modified zeolites to improve the composting process in order to control malodors emission and produce a value-added compost with higher nutrient contents.
Development of a zeolite-based antibacterial compound for water purification
The World Health Organization estimates that 84200 people die each year as a result of drinking water contaminated with harmful bacteria (WHO2018). We developed a modified natural zeolite that is demonstrating the effective elimination of bacteria in contaminated drinking water.
Addressing the Concern of Cyanobacteria Toxin Production: Methods of Prediction, Detection, Quantification, and Management of Microcystins
One of the significant issues caused by eutrophication in water bodies is a surge in toxin concentrations from cyanobacteria. This is worldwide issue that invariably affects isolated and resource-poor communities such as the small localities of Northern BC the most. Therefore the mitigation of toxins, particularly the most harmful, such as hepatotoxin Microcystin-LR to a level acceptable under Canadian (<1.5 ug/L) and universal (the WHO provisional standard of 1.0 ug/L) guidelines is of the utmost importance for public health. Due to seasonal variations, instrument availability and the type of infrastructure available, strategies for toxin management need to be adapted to suit the needs of the communities served where variables such as cost-efficiency, simplicity and fast turnaround time are crucial. The purpose of this study at the Northern Analytical Laboratory Services at the University of Northern British Columbia is to provide a comprehensive protocol to deliver an appropriate approach toward maintaining Microcystin-LR concentrations as a whole. To predict whether an algal bloom could cause a toxin overload, qPCR was used to analyze the abundance of toxin producing gene McyE, HPLC-MS with ELISA was used conjunctively to detect and quantify Microcystin-LR in the water, and Mn-modified zeolites were tested for toxin removal. Presently the goal is to develop a robust protocol that can have wide ranging applications not only in Microcystin-LR attenuation but that could be also applied to other toxins and causal compounds implicated in eutrophication such as ammonia and phosphates.
Chemical Analysis of Particulate Matter (PM10 and PM2.5) and Volatile Organic Compound (VOCs) Air Contaminants
In this project, we developed analytical protocols for accurate sampling and measurements of the targeted air pollutants. PM2.5 samples are analyzed for their chemical composition (i.e. toxic trace elements) by ICP-MS and VOC samples are analyzed by GC-MS using SMPE sample preparation technique in order to assess their potential source of emissions.