TWEI Faculty

Sepehr Arbabi, Ph.D., is an Associate Professor and Acting Chair of Department of Chemical Engineering at the University of Texas-Permian Basin. Dr. Arbabi received all his degrees from the University of Southern California (USC) with B.S. (first class honor) and M.S. in Mechanical Engineering and Ph.D. in Chemical Engineering. He worked as a Research Associate at Stanford University in Petroleum Engineering Department for 5 years. He has more than 18 years of industrial experience in the upstream oil/gas industry working for Mobil, ExxonMobil and Shell. His last title at Shell was principal reservoir engineer and was focal point contact responsible for reserves of Shell Joint Venture company Aera Energy in California. At this capacity, he coordinated all internal and external reserves calculation and reporting. He was a lead consultant on a multi-million dollar EOR project in 2016 for UK consulting firm LR-Senergy where he advanced the project and coordinated technical work of three reservoir engineers. The team delivered a successful field development plan which is implemented in the field today. His research interests are broad and include practical problems of transport (flow, mass, heat, stress) in porous media, multi-physics modeling and simulation, CO2 recovery and storage from oil/gas operations, EOR modeling and simulation, process optimization under environmental constraints and produced water treatment technologies. He has 60 technical articles (external and internal) in referred journals and conference proceedings including three papers in Physical Review Letters; 2100+ citations, and 2 Patent Awards. He is the recipient of UT rising STARs grant award of $300,000 in 2018.

Joonghyeok Heo, Ph.D., is an Associate Professor in the Department of Geosciences at the University of Texas - Permian Basin. His research topics include surface and groundwater contamination, environmental geology, carbon sequestration, and hydrological issues with combining field, laboratory and modeling. Dr. Heo works with interdisciplinary data to evaluate spatial and temporal variations in groundwater, surface water, soil, topography, and statistical analysis of the climate with an emphasis on hydrogeology. He has recently focused on understanding the hydrogeological issues and water-energy nexus (water used for energy production) in Permian Basin, Texas. His research group has high-performance computers, modeling simulation software, GPS, GIS and remote sensing applications, field equipment, instruments for water chemistry and laboratory analysis.

He was previously a research fellow at the University of Michigan - Ann Arbor. He has a Ph.D. in Geology and Geophysics from Texas A&M University - College Station, where he conducted research for Water, Energy, and Environmental Studies. Please see his faculty profiles and read highlights of his recent work on his google scholar.

Dr. Jordan’s research on sociology of water brings her skills related to research methods related to social analysis of utilizing brackish or produced water (BPW) for irrigation on food and forage crops based on strategies developed to overcome barriers of adoption and acceptance of using brackish water amongst different groups, from farmers to consumers. This analysis is conducted through survey preparation to evaluate the current knowledge and acceptability of BPW, the factors which influence stated willingness, and possible marketing or public education approaches to increase acceptability. Also, identifying social perceptions related to feasible circumstances for which a transfer of brackish water from produced and ground water for safe agricultural production is economically attractive.

Dr. Jordan is involved in the efforts to inform and extend the generated research knowledge to farmers, regulators, policy makers, tribes, energy industry, and other stakeholders through outreach activities. She studies the interrelationships between macro and micro dimensions of water use behaviors which allows for an understanding to emerge on how the dialectical relationships can shape outreach and extension policies and agendas.  She educates stakeholders related to acceptance of wastewater reuse. Spiritual and cultural valuations, recreational valuation and associated tourism economies, and the availability of water for future generations are all areas of extension and outreach that are addressed.

Lastly, Dr. Jordan is prepared to develop a multi-institutional curriculum to educate a wide range of students in a broad range of related disciplines. This entails collaborative efforts with stakeholder entities including engineers, soil and biology scientists, social scientists, students, tribal nations, regulators, and policy makers. The curriculum is to include a capstone project (e.g. poster presentation, panel-discussion) at a field day workshop, symposium or conference. The education material will include a course of learning that will be provided to other institutions as a wholly online comprehensive course pack with readings, lectures, assignments, projects, evaluation and print on demand materials.

Dr. Rajib Mukherjee is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Chemical Engineering. He holds the Dean’s Faculty Fellowship (DFF). He received a $300,000 grant from the UT System STARs Program for developing water-energy nexus laboratory and high-performance computing laboratory for process systems engineering. He earned BTech from AU College of Engineering, India and MTech from IIT Kanpur (IITK), both in Chemical Engineering (ChE). He holds a Ph.D. in ChE, graduated from the Process Systems Engineering Laboratory at LSU (2010). He conducted postdoctoral research at United States Environmental Protection Agency (US EPA) as an ORISE postdoctoral fellow.

Dr. Mukherjee’s research interests include Sustainability, Water-Energy Nexus, Data analytics using machine learning (ML), multi-resolution and multivariate statistics, algorithm development for sustainable chemical process design, optimal scheduling of fracking operations, process integration and optimization under uncertainty. Dr. Mukherjee has published 27 research articles in peer-reviewed journals, has several conference proceedings and a state-of-the-art book on engineering sustainability, “Measuring Progress Towards Sustainability: A Treatise for Engineers”, Springer, November, 2016, ISBN-13: 978-3319427171.

Dr. Milka O. Montes is an Associate Professor and Chair of the Department of Chemistry at the University of Texas Permian Basin located in Odessa, Texas. She is an analytical and environmental chemist by training and her research revolves around the development of produced water filtration techniques as well as the synthesis, characterization, and applications of noble metal nanoparticles. She obtained her Chemistry Doctoral Degree from the University of Texas at El Paso in 2010, and her postdoctoral work was on the implications of nanomaterials on aquatic environments from the University of California Santa Barbara.

Dr. Montes is highly engaged in research activities and professional organizations. She is a member of the Texas Academy of Science, American Chemical Society, Gamma Sigma Epsilon Xi Zeta Chemistry Honor Society, and SACNAS. She also serves as the Campus Director of the NSF-funded UT System LSAMP Program at UT Permian Basin, which allows participation of undergraduate students in their Summer Research Academy under STEM. As an active member of the Permian Basin Local Section of the American Chemical Society, she promotes undergraduate research in chemistry locally throughout Odessa and Midland, Texas. She is a Board member of the Peer-Led Teaching Learning International Society and the Texas Academy of Science.

Dr. Bibian Ogbuji holds a joint appointment as an Assistant Research Professor for the Texas Water and Energy Institute and the Department of Mechanical Engineering in the College of Engineering at The University of Texas Permian Basin. Her research emphasizes the development of the database and the application of data analytics and machine learning to predict the spatiotemporal variability of contaminants in produced water. These predictive analytic models will enable the development of treatment technologies for produced water. Dr. Ogbuji areas of expertise include machine learning, data analytics, programming, big data, platform implementation evaluation, digital strategy, database development, data processing, and visualization. She holds a Ph.D. in Computer Science from Brunel University London and M.Sc. in Strategic Information Technology Management from London South Bank University, both in the United Kingdom. Dr. Ogbuji has over eight years of professional experience in teaching, research, and industry. She has conducted extensive scholarly work on social media strategy (SMS) and developed an SMS framework using Practice theory to provide insights into the platform evaluation process. This work resulted in book and conference proceedings publications. Dr. Ogbuji is the program coordinator for the Semester/Summer Undergraduate Research in Engineering (SURE) program, which provides an opportunity for students and faculty to work on research projects. She leads the Girls in Engineering (GiE) programs to inspire young women to pursue professions in engineering, educate girls on different engineering career pathways, increase social equality, and advance innovation. Dr. Ogbuji is the faculty advisor for the National Society for Black Engineers (NSBE) and Society of Women in Engineering (SWE) UTPB Chapter.

Dr. Uddin has received his Ph.D. in Mechanical and Energy Engineering from the University of North Texas (UNT) in 2016 and a Bachelor’s in Mechanical Engineering from Bangladesh University of Engineering and Technology (BUET) in 2011. Dr. Uddin is currently working as an assistant professor in the Department of Mechanical Engineering at the University of Texas Permian Basin (UTPB). His research interest includes computational materials science, multiscale modeling with molecular dynamics simulations, sustainable energy, computer-integrated manufacturing, and mechanical design. Currently, he is working on mathematical modeling of a solar still to harvest clean water from produced/flow backwater by using available solar energy. Dr. Uddin is working on developing engineered and functional polymers as porous media to treat produced water using his computational materials science tools.