People

Desirée Plata, Ph.D.

John J. Lee Assistant Professor, Chemical & Environmental Engineering

 

Desirée has two primary obligations to society:

(1) to help protect the quality of the air, water and soil and

(2) to help provide an education for the next generation of engineers, especially with regard to the influence of their designs on the natural world.

Desirée holds a Ph.D. in Environmental Chemistry and Chemical Oceanography from MIT and the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution. She has a B.S. in Chemistry from Union College and proudly attended Gould Academy for high school.

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(Plata CV)

Rebecca Brenneis

Ph.D. Student, Chemical & Environmental Engineering, Yale University

 

Rebecca holds a B.S. in Global Studies from The Global College of Long Island University (Brooklyn, NY), and a B.S. in Earth Science from George Mason University (Fairfax, VA). She is working to improve the detection of contaminants associated with hydraulic fracturing fluid in environmental samples. In the future, she intends to develop carbon dioxide sequestration technologies, with an emphasis on mineralization strategies.

Riley Coulthard

Ph.D. Student, Chemical & Environmental Engineering, Yale University

 

Riley holds a B.A. in Chemistry from Lewis and Clark College in Portland OR with a background in nanomaterials. She has spent two summers researching at Lawrence Livermore National Lab in the Materials Science Division. She is interested in the sustainable use and recycling of rare earth elements (REEs) and specialty metals. In particular, she works to improve technology for the reclamation of these metals from electronics waste. In the future, she plans to apply this technology to other systems in order to ensure the supply of REEs for electronics production, as well as minimizing the release of REEs into the environment during electronics waste processing and disposal.

(Coulthard CV)

Brian Drollette

Ph.D. Candidate, Chemical & Environmental Engineering, Yale University

 

Brian holds a B.S. in Environmental Science from SUNY Plattsburgh and a M.S. in Civil and Environmental Engineering from Duke University. At Yale, he is a Ph.D candidate in Chemical and Environmental Engineering under the advisement of Desiree Plata, Drew Gentner, and Jordan Peccia. Brian is interested in advanced analytical chemistry techniques for improved detection of organic compounds in the environment. His thesis is focuses on the application of comprehensive two-dimensional gas chromatography. He also studies the fate and transport of organic compounds using novel modeling techniques.

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(Drollette CV)

Mark Falinski

Ph.D. Candidate, Chemical & Environmental Engineering, Yale University

 

Mark holds a B.S. in Chemical Engineering from SUNY Buffalo. He is currently interested in employing varying treatment conditions to functionalize carbon nanotubes to elucidate relationships between function, performance, and environmental and human health effects to inform green design of these materials. He specifically plans to evaluate the performance-hazard relationship of carbon nanotubes in a fabric or polymer matrix as a potential replacement for endocrine disrupting brominated flame retardants. Mark is also co-advised by Dr. Julie Zimmerman.

Michael Giannetto

Ph.D. Candidate, Chemical & Environmental Engineering, Yale University

 

Michael received a B.S. in Environmental Engineering from Northwestern University (Evanston, IL) and a M.S. in Environmental Engineering from Yale University. Broadly, Michael is interested in the sustainable development of emerging technologies. Previously, he has used next-generation DNA sequencing to study microbial communities in various engineered environments, such as microalgae bioreactors and biofouled desalination membranes. Now, he is studying the effects of different reactants on the morphology of carbon nanotubes.

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(Giannetto CV)

Nina Jankovic

Ph.D. Student, Chemical & Environmental Engineering, Yale University

 

Nina holds a B.A. in Chemistry from Bard College (Annandale-on-Hudson, New York). She is currently assessing the influence of nanotechnology on global element cycles. She specifically aims to assemble a comprehensive understanding of the impacts of nanomaterials on geochemical processes, from material extraction to end-of-life stages. Further, she is interested in using this novel knowledge to target crucial approaches to minimize the impact of nanotechnology on human and environmental health, with a particular interest in development of end-of-life product reclamation technologies.

(Jankovic CV)

Eric Johnson

Ph.D. Student, Chemical & Environmental Engineering, Yale University

 

Eric holds a B.S. in Chemical Engineering from Rochester Institute of Technology (Rochester, NY). He is currently investigating the influence of different precursor gases on carbon nanotube (CNT) synthesis. CNTs are a promising class of nanomaterial, yet many of their large-scale uses have been prohibited by poor synthetic control, which leads to high cost and low product quality. More specifically, Eric is studying whether precursor gases can be directly incorporated into the CNT lattice during growth. This research will help develop a mechanistic understanding of CNT synthesis, which will improve the production process and provide insight into novel functionalization techniques.

Megan O’Connor, Ph.D. (2017)

Postdoctoral Associate, Chemical & Environmental Engineering, Yale Univeristy

CEO of Nth Cycle, LLC

 

Megan holds a B.S. in Chemistry from Union College (Schenectady, NY) and a Ph.D. in Civil and Environmental Engineering from Duke University. At Yale, she is a Postdoctoral Associate in Chemical and Environmental Engineering. Megan is interested in enabling a circular economy in the electronics industry, specifically working on developing a technology to recycle rare earth and specialty elements to facilitate material reuse in advanced manufacturing. 

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(O'Connor CV)

Wenbo Shi

Ph.D. Candidate, Chemical & Environmental Engineering, Yale University

 

Wenbo holds a B.E. in Environmental Engineering from Tsinghua University (Beijing, China) and a M.S. in Civil and Environmental Engineering from Duke University. He is interested in environmentally manufacturing nanomaterials, especially carbon nanotubes. He focuses on tuning carbon nanotube quality and yield through controlling gas phase composition and catalyst property. He is currently working on uncovering the carbon nanotube growth mechanisms in water-assisted and carbon dioxide-assisted carbon nanotube synthesis.

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(Shi CV)
 

Andrew Sumner

Ph.D. Candidate, Chemical & Environmental Engineering, Yale University

 

Andrew holds a B.S. in Chemical Engineering from Columbia University (New York, NY). He is currently investigating the organic composition of hydraulic fracturing fluid used in natural gas extraction. He aims to understand the subsurface formation of organic species, specifically organohalides, that have been detected in flowback water after extraction. To this end, he has developed a high temperature and pressure reaction system to study the kinetics of potential organohalide formation mechanisms in the shale-well subsurface.

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(Sumner CV)
 

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Plata Lab Alumni


Osman Karatum, Ph.D. (2016)

Postdoctoral Associate at Virginia Tech

Senior Associate at Exponent, Inc.

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Megan O’Connor, Ph.D. (2017)

Postdoctoral Associate, Chemical & Environmental Engineering, Yale Univeristy

CEO of Nth Cycle, LLC

 

Email: megan.oconnor@yale.edu

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(O'Connor CV)