Jorge Rodríguez PhD MSc FHEA

Associate Professor & Principal Investigator
Dr Jorge Rodríguez R. Associate Professor at Masdar Institute, I hold a PhD in Chemical and Environmental Engineering and MEng and BEng in Chemical Engineering by the University of Santiago de Compostela (USC) in Spain. Also a Fellow of the UK Higher Education Academy, over the years I have participated in different scientific roles in more than twenty five national and international research projects funded by the Abu Dhabi Government, UK Research Councils, the European Commission and the Spanish and Galician Governments. To date I co-authored about 40 peer reviewed IS indexed journal articles, four book chapters and in excess of 50 peer reviewed conference contributions, including invited talks, on last check my H-index was showing 17. Currently serving as Editor for the journal Water Science and Technology and as Newsletter Editor of the IWA Anaerobic Digestion Specialist Group, I regularly act also as reviewer for other scientific journals and funding agencies including the Spanish Government and the UK RCs. Among other numerous conference organisation roles I did chair the organising committee of the IWA LET2014 conference and co-chaired the scientific committee of the 13th World Congress on Anaerobic Digestion. My major current research interests are the understanding of the selective and environmental forces driving microbial communities’ behaviour for process and environmental applications. Processes I work on with grad students and collaborators include anaerobic digestion and fermentation, microbial electrochemical technologies and biological wastewater treatment and resource recovery in general.

Research Engineer

Joao Uratani

Research Engineer & Lab Technical Manager
Joao has a MSc in Water and Environmental Engineering from Masdar Institute of Science and Technology (UAE). Graduated in Bioprocess Engineering and Biotechnology from the Federal University of Paraná (UFPR), Brazil; previously worked with R&D&I in biofuel production for an agribusiness conglomerate in Brazil, and with IP management with the Innovation Agency at UFPR. Research experience in analytical biochemistry and in microalgae cultivation; broad research interests include systems biology, environmental biotechnology and emerging technologies for biofuels production.

PhD Students

Wasim Ahmed

Research Assistant & PhD Candidate
Wasim Ahmed has a MSc in Chemical Engineering from the American University in Sharjah, with a thesis titled "Modeling, simulation, and control of biotrickling filter for removal of air pollutants". He is currently working on Anaerobic Co-digestion for his PhD thesis at Masdar Institute, focused on modeling, optimization and control. Wasim has published three peer-reviewed articles. He loves to spend his free time watching movies and playing games.

Mauricio Patón

Research Assistant & PhD Candidate
Mauricio obtained both his MSc in Hydraulic Engineering and Environment and his Bachelor’s in Environmental Science from Polytechnic University of Valencia (UPV) in Spain. He has worked previously in Universitat de Lleida (Spain) and in internships at Paques (The Netherlands) and at Leibniz Universtitat of Hannover (Germany). After some working experience, he is looking forward to obtain his PhD in modelling processes involved in wastewater treatment. On his free time, he loves playing basketball and finds some peace when cooking.

MSc Students

Kulthoum A. Ismail

Research Assistant & MSc Student (WEN)
I’m Kulthoum, from Water & Environmental Engineering department. I‘ve graduated from University of Sharjah with bachelor degree in Mathematics. The reason why I chose to apply in Water and Environmental program is that I’m so passionate about applying my math background in solving different environmental problems. One of my favorite quote is: “If I feel unhappy, I do mathematics to become happy. If I am happy I do mathematics to keep happy.” [Alfred Renyi] :).

Zainab Al Mheiri

Research Assistant & MSc Student (ESM)
Zainab Al Mheiri has a bachelor in Civil & Environmental Engineering from United Arab Emirates University (UAEU), UAE. Currently, she is a Master’s student in Engineering Systems & Management (ESM) at Master Institute, and her research area is related to Water & Environmental Engineering (WEN). The reason for the combination between these two fields is, she believes that innovation happens via linking between different subjects. She believes in this quote “Be a loner, that gives you time to wonder, to search for the truth. Have holy curiosity. Make your life worth living” – Albert Einstein.

Ahmed Taha

Research Assistant & MSc Student (CHE)
To me is the name Ahmed Taha. Wielding a bachelor’s degree in Chemical Engineering from the American University of Sharjah (AUS) and an unbounded passion for science, I yearn for the development of technologies that would express the supreme elegance of the engineering sciences. As an undergraduate, I worked on the full design of a process for the synthesis of targeted chemotherapy drug delivery systems. My current interest is the design and modeling of processes that can convert waste to energy such as microbial fuel cells. When I’m off the clock, I’m always out there fantasizing a world ruled by logic only, and feeding these fantasies with role-playing video games and dark fantasy plots.

Ramis Rafay

Research Assistant & MSc Student (CHE)
Ramis has a BEng in Chemical Engineering from the University of Nottingham and some work experience in the EPC firm Mott MacDonald in Abu Dhabi. Currently in pursuit of his MSc in Chemical Engineering, his thesis and research work seeks the understanding and exploiting ecological methods for marine microalgae cultivation to maximize single cell protein. He is currently captain of the badminton team and president of music society at Masdar Institute. In his free time he can be found playing guitar, writing and recording music, cooking and enjoying good food, and loves to go on diving trips whenever he can (He’s a PADI certified Advanced Level Open Water Diver).

Former members

Masdar City, 2012

Dr Raji Kumaraswamy

Senior Postdoctoral Researcher (2012-2015)
My main interest is to combine Microbial Ecology with Environmental Biotechnology. After completing my post-graduation in Applied Microbiology (India) I joined Delft university of Technology (the Netherlands) for my PhD. I worked on Biological Removal of Nitrogen dioxides (BioDeNOx) in collaborations with two other universities in the Netherlands. Later I continued my post-doctoral research in University of Alberta, Canada. My main lab skills are characterization of microorganisms involved in Environmental Biotechnology processes using various microbial and molecular tools. In my current positions, I am mainly involved in standardization of molecular biology techniques such as PCR-DGGE, q-PCR, next gen sequencing etc. and applying these techniques to identify and characterize the microorganisms involved in lab-scale and full scale processes. My responsibilities also include co-supervising postgraduate students in their projects. Apart from my scientific interests, I am involved in projects for educating rural and tribal children in India and writing articles on education and women’s issues in the leading Indian magazines.

Dr Irina Dana Ofiteru

Senior Postdoctoral Researcher (2012-2014)
Dr Dana Ofiteru joined the Bioprocess Modeling Laboratory (EnvBioProM) as postdoctoral researcher for modeling, simulation and optimization of bioprocesses. She holds a PhD in Chemical and Biochemical Engineering from University Politehnica of Bucharest were she is currently employed as a lecturer. During 2007 – 2009 she was Marie Curie research associate at Newcastle University, UK (FP6 Excellence Grant ECOSERV). She has co-authored peer reviews journal papers with subjects including stochastic modeling of an engineered biological system, continuous culture oscillations, multi-scale modeling of biological systems, optimal control of animal cell cultures. Dr Ofiteru’s research interests cover dynamics of multi-scale biological systems, microbial community assembly, metabolic pathways analysis, optimization and optimal control.

Dr Juan-Rodrigo Bastidas-Oyanedel

Postdoctoral Researcher (2012-2013)
Dr. Juan-Rodrigo Bastidas-Oyanedel was awarded his PhD in Engineering Processes at the Laboratory of Environmental Biotechnology (LBE-INRA France) in February 2011. His research subject was the Thermodynamic modelling of Dark Fermentation. Dr. Juan holds undergraduate and Master degrees in Biochemical Engineering from the Pontificia Universidad Católica de Valparaíso (Chile). Dr. Bastidas-Oyanedel is a post-doctoral researcher for the Chemical Engineering programs at Masdar Institute of Science and Technology, Abu Dhabi. He contributes with his expertise on bioreactor design, set-up, operation and optimization; analytical methods for metabolic fermentation products monitoring (MIMS, HPLC, GC, MS); and modelling of biological systems (Mixed and Pure microbial cultures) and electron transfer phenomena. He is presently studying the structure of microbiological communities and their metabolism on dark fermentation mixed cultures, bioprocess leading to the production of hydrogen, ethanol and organic acids.

Nikita Jayswal

Research Engineer & Lab Technical Manager (2011-2013)
I graduated with a Masters degree in Water and Environmental Engineering from Masdar Institute and have been working here as a Research Engineer since October 2011. My academic interests are in the fields of Renewable Energy, Water Treatment, Green Building, Rural Development, Sociology and Politics. Recently I joined a Ugandan NGO called KYEMPAPU which I am helping to expand its outreach in the UAE. I am a travel enthusiast and enjoy hiking and exploring cultures and history, collecting shot glasses on the way. When I am not globetrotting, I usually like playing basketball or running outdoors.

Mays Atiyeh

Research Engineer & Lab Technical Manager (2011-2012)
Mays has a Master's in Water and Environmental Engineering from Masdar Institute of Science and Technology. Her research topic was in the treatment of hazardous contaminants (e.g. nitrate and perchlorate) in wastewater through microbial fuel cells (MFC).

Rashed Al Gaoud

Research Assistant & MSc Water and Environmental Engineering Student (2011-2016)
Rashed Al Gaoud has a Master’s in Water & Environmental Engineering from Masdar Institute of Science and Technology. His research topic was the spatial and temporal characterization of the microbial community within the filter medium of constructed wetlands. Rashed holds a Higher Diploma in Civil Engineering Technology and a Bachelors of Science in Engineering Management (both from the Higher Colleges of Technology). He has previously worked at the Dubai Electricity & Water Authority and Dubai Ports World, in both cases as a civil projects engineer.

Mariam M. Alkaabi

Research Assistant & MSc Student (2014-2016)
Mariam has a Bachelor of Science in Biotechnology from the University of Sharjah (UOS), UAE. She has previously worked at the Breeding Centre for Endangered Arabian Wildlife (BCEAW) under the Environment and Protected Areas Authority (EPAA), Sharjah. She is interested in the utilization of indigenous plants and microorganisms as bio-factories for the production of pharmaceuticals, proteins, and valuable chemicals. She is currently working on the production of proteins from microalgae for her Master's thesis at Masdar Institute.

Tolutola Oyetunde

Research Assistant & MSc Chemical Engineering Student (2012-2014)
Tolu has a Master's degree in Chemical Engineering from Masdar Institute of Science and Technology. Tolu is a calm, cool and collected gentleman (boy). He can’t say no to a bowl of hot noodles and eggs, especially after a hard day’s work. His hobbies include singing, making new friends and animation movies. His modeling philosophy: MATLAB is good but SIMULINK is better!

Rebeca González Cabaleiro

Visiting PhD Student from USC (Spain) (2012-2013)
I am PhD Student from the University of Santiago de Compostela, a small and beautiful town located in the Northwest of Spain. My PhD studies are focused on the mathematical modelling of anaerobic fermentations so I expend a big part of my time trying to understand the behaviour of bacteria cultures with the aim to later on control them. Since I started to work on my PhD I have been lucky to combine my pleasure of finding things out through science with the possibility to travel around the world, working in The Energy and Resources Institute (India), TU Delft (Netherlands) and nowadays in Masdar Institute.