People

Michael Baldea

Michael Baldea
Principal Investigator

Michael Baldea is Henry Beckman Professor in the McKetta Department of Chemical Engineering, and a core faculty member in the Institute for Computational Engineering and Sciences (ICES) at The University of Texas at Austin. He obtained his Diploma and M.Sc. in Chemical Engineering from "Babes-Bolyai" University in Cluj-Napoca, Romania, and a doctorate in Chemical Engineering from the University of Minnesota. Prior to joining The University of Texas, he held industrial research positions with Praxair Technology Center in Tonawanda, NY and GE Global Research in Niskayuna, NY.  His research interests include the dynamics, optimization and control of process and energy systems, areas in which he has co-authored three books, five book chapters and over 200 peer-reviewed journal and conference articles. Dr. Baldea is Executive Editor of Industrial & Engineering Chemistry Research.

Selected awards and distinctions:

  • Model Based Innovation Prize from Process Systems Enterprise – runner up (2019)
  • AIChE Institute Award for Excellence in Industrial Gases Technology (2019)
  • Computers & Chemical Engineering (CACE) 2018 Best Paper of the Year (2019)
  • Excellence in Review Award, Industrial & Engineering Chemistry Research (September 2017)
  • Outstanding Young Researcher Award, Computing and Systems Technology Division of AIChE (June 2017)
  • Excellence in Review Award, Industrial & Engineering Chemistry Research (September 2016)
  • Frank A. Liddell, Jr. Centennial Fellow in Chemical Engineering, UT Austin (September 2016)
  • Visiting Professor, Zhejiang University, Hangzhou, China (March 2016)
  • NSF CAREER award (2015-2020)
  • American Chemical Society Editors’ Choice Paper (January 2015)
  • Moncrief Grand Challenges Faculty Award, Institute for Computational Engineering and Sciences (2014)

 

 

Postdoctoral scholars

Nha Tran
Postdoctoral Fellow

Nha Tran is a postdoctoral researcher at the McKetta Department of Chemical Engineering, The University of Texas at Austin. He obtained his doctorate in mathematics at Louisiana State University in Fall 2021. His formal research focuses on developing and applying advanced numerical techniques, modeling, and problem-solving for mathematical models in engineering and science, including fracture mechanics and optimal design. Previously, he earned his Master of Science in Computational Engineering from the Ruhr University of Bochum, in collaboration with the Vietnamese German university, and his Bachelor of Science in Mathematics & Computer Science from the Vietnam National University Ho Chi Minh City - University of Science. Nha is co-advised by Drs. Brian Korgel and Michael Baldea.

Graduate students

Fernando Lejarza
PhD student

Fernando, originally from Córdoba, Argentina, graduated cum laude from Rice University in 2018 with a Bachelors of Science degree in Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering and a minor in Computational and Applied Mathematics. His past experience includes studying crude oil phase behavior to mitigate asphaltene deposition, as well as developing gold nanocluster-based technology for the visual detection of toxic metal ions in drinking water. His current research interests are control and optimization of dynamic supply chain networks of perishable items.

Kyeongjun Seo
PhD student

Kyeongjun graduated from Sogang University, South Korea in 2015 with a Bachelor of Science in Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering. Kyeongjun also received his Masters’s degree from Sogang University in 2018. His previous research included mass transfer/solubility studies of methane in aqueous solution and bio-inspired catalyst for oxidation of alkane. He also conducted a process design project in the Korea Process Simulation Olympiad and developed a thermodynamic package during the internship at AspenTech, which led him to pursue more advanced studies in optimization and modeling.

Ioannis (Giannis) Giannikopoulos
PhD student

Giannis graduated in 2018 with an Engineering Diploma in Chemical Engineering from National Technical University of Athens, Greece. For his undergraduate thesis, he worked on a Computational Fluid Dynamics problem; the simulation of tin oxide film chemical vapor deposition. His research interests revolve around modeling, simulation and optimization chemical process systems. Right now, he works for CISTAR and his research involves the modelling of the US Refining and Chemical Manufacturing Industry.

Alkiviadis (Alkis) Skouteris
PhD student

Alkiviadis (Alkis) graduated from the National Technical University of Athens in 2018 earning a Chemical Engineering Diploma (5-years degree) with highest honors. His undergraduate studies focused on process and systems engineering with a slight inclination towards bio-processes. His diploma thesis research project involved the development of an innovate computational framework for the Model Order Reduction of a Chemical Vapor Deposition process by employing CFD simulations and mathematical techniques including Artificial Neural Networks. Currently, he is working on a project within CISTAR, where he is studying the US petrochemical industry and its reaction to inserting new technologies (utilizing shale gas), which is achieved by employing network modeling and optimization techniques.

Xin Tang
PhD student (CSEM program)

Xin graduated in 2020 with a BS in Chemical Engineering and Computational Science, Magna cum Laude, from Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology, Indiana. For undergraduate research, she worked on computational phylogenetics, optimization of biochemical production, and analytical methods for packed bed reactors. Her current research interests include computational modeling and simulation, optimization as well as machine learning.

Joshua Hammond
PhD student

Joshua graduated from Brigham Young University in 2021 with a Bachelor of Science in Chemical Engineering. While an undergraduate, his research focused on dynamic optimization applied to autonomous infrastructure monitoring. His current research interests include reduced order models, clean energy, and energy storage. Josh is co-advised by Drs. Brian Korgel and Michael Baldea.

Jorge Martorell
PhD student

Jorge graduated from the University of Houston in 2017 with a BS in Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering with University Honors. His previous experience includes process and controls engineering in chemical manufacturing as well as undergraduate research in the phase relationships of metal alloys. His current research interests include modeling and optimization of carbon capture processes. Jorge is co-advised by Drs. Michael Baldea and Gary Rochelle.

Adhika Retnanto
PhD student

Originally from Indonesia, Adhika graduated from the Georgia Institute of Technology in 2021 with a Bachelor of Science in Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering and a minor in Computing and Intelligence. His past research experience includes studying machine learning applications in the development of catalytic processes. His current research include in modeling and optimization of novel energy systems. Adhika is co-advised by Drs. Michael Baldea and Mark Stadtherr. 

Jihun Jeong
PhD student
Jihun graduated from Brigham Young University in 2018 with a Bachelor of Science in Chemical Engineering. For undergraduate research, he studied catalyst preparation methods for Fischer-Tropsch synthesis. His current research interests include modeling and optimization of chemical processes.
Busra Abdulkadiroglu
PhD student

Busra graduated from Bogazici University with a BS in Chemical Engineering in 2022. She worked on modeling lithium-sulfur batteries for three years as an undergraduate and published her first paper. Her current studies focus on modeling and optimization of batteries. She is co-advised with Dr. Venkat Subramanian.

Eivarth Caballero
PhD student

Eivarth obtained a BSc in Chemical Engineering (1998) and a MSc in Chemical Engineering (2014) from the Universidad Industrial de Santander, Colombia.  He has over 20 years of experience as a process engineer in the Oil, Gas and Refining industry.  He is proud of mentoring young engineers in process modeling for downstream optimization. He served as Lecturer for Process Simulation, Petroleum Refining, Synthesis and Process Design courses.

 His research interests include the energy transition, carbon capture and decarbonization, design and control of intensified processes and process integration, monitoring and optimizing process performance aided by process simulation models, data visualization and digital twins.

Jong Hyun (Ethan) Rho
PhD student

Ethan obtained a BSc in Chemical Engineering from Seoul National University in 2020, and worked as a Research Engineer for Samsung SDI until joining UT Austin in August 2022.

Sophia B. Shi
PhD student

Sophia obtained a BSc, Summa cum Laude, in Chemical Engineering (minor in Industrial and Systems Engineering) from North Carolina State University in 2022. She is co-advised by Drs. Brian Korgel and Michael Baldea.

Shashank Venkatesan
PhD student

Shashank obtained an integrated BTech / MTech in Chemical Engineering from IIT Madras in 2022.

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