Post-Docs

Ruvini Dharmadasa, PhD

Ruvini Dharmadasa, PhD
Solar Energy Conversion
Ernst Hall, Room 300
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Ruvini Dharmadasa, PhD, is a Post-doctoral Associate at the Conn Center, where she synthesizes and characterizes semiconductor nanoparticles for the development of nanostructured and thin film solar cells.

She received her doctorate in Chemistry from Loughborough Univeristy, UK in 2012 and worked on the fabrication and characterization of extremely thin absorber layer (ETA) solar cells. She used a variety of growth techniques to fabricate metal oxide and chalcogenide semiconductor nanoparticles. These techniques included aerosol-assisted chemical vapor deposition (AACVD) and solution-based methods such as chemical bath deposition (CBD) and electrochemical deposition (ED). She also holds an MSc (2007) in Energy Conversion and Management from the University Of Nottingham, UK and an MEng (2006) in Chemical Engineering and Chemistry from the University Of Sheffield, UK. After finishing her doctorate, she worked as a Post-doctoral Researcher in the Department of Physics at Parma University, Italy, where she worked on the fabrication and characterization of thin film CdS/CdTe and CIGSe solar cells using closed spaced sublimation and RF magnetron sputtering.

Ruvini is the author/co-author of 7 original research papers in the area of photovoltaic device production. Her research in solar cell fabrication now includes the development of low cost solar cells. The aim is to use low temperature and atmospheric deposition techniques that are compatible with roll to roll processing technology to produce highly efficient solar cells.


Dania Alvarez Fonseca, PhD
Dania Alvarez Fonseca, PhD
Biomass Conversion
Ernst Hall, Room 300
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Dania Alvarez Fonseca, PhD, is a Post-doctoral Associate at the Conn Center, where she researches the best procedure to selectively separate pentoses from biomass using acid hydrolysis and different pretreatments.

She received her doctorate in Chemistry from the State University of Campinas (Brazil) in 2003 and worked on a project related to the development, production and evaluation of reversed-phase stationary phases (more stable at high pH) for use in high performance liquid chromatography. She also holds an MS (2001) in Analytical Chemistry from the State University of Campinas (Brazil) and a BS (1993) in Chemistry from the University of Havana (Cuba). She served as a Research Associate in the EMS Energy Institute at Penn State University from 2007 to 2012, where she was the manager of the chromatography and spectroscopy laboratories and was involved in research and service projects related to the study of fossil fuels, biofuels and refractory samples. She was also a Post-doc in the EMS Energy Institute at Penn State University, where she prepared and characterized nanocatalysts and graphitic nanofibers, tailoring their properties for potential applications in hydrogen storage and gas absorption.

Dania is the author/co-author of 13 original research papers in the areas of nanostructures, fuels and chromatography. Her current research includes the synthesis and characterization of novel nanocatalysts for applications in fuels and renewable energy. She also performs analysis of sugars, degradation compounds, and byproducts formed during biomass hydrolysis by using chromatographic methods.


Mayank Gupta, PhD
Mayank Gupta, PhD
Biomass Conversion
Ernst Hall, Room 301
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Mayank Gupta, PhD, is a Postdoctoral Associate at the Conn Center, where he conducts research on biomass conversion to C5 and C6 sugars, and electrochemical delignification of biomass.

He received his masters and doctorate degrees in Chemical Engineering from Louisiana State University Baton Rouge in 2008 and 2010, respectively. He also holds a master’s degree in Paper Science and Engineering from University of Minnesota, Twin Cities. Dr. Gupta’s previous work included modeling to estimate transport properties of porous materials; thermochemical conversion of biomass to gasoline and diesel; development, characterization, and testing of atomically tailored, electrodeposited nanowire/tube catalysts for the catalytic conversion of syngas to ethanol, higher alcohols, and hydrocarbons.

Dr. Gupta has over 8 years of R&D experience in synthesis, characterization, and testing of novel catalysts. He is the PI on NSF SBIR Phase I awards for a technology start-up, Advanced Energy Materials, LLC. In this project, he has been successful in reducing sulfur levels in fuels below 1 ppm (well beyond government regulations).

He holds a United States patent (pending) and is also the author/co-author of several original research papers in the areas of Electrochemistry, Catalysis, and Pulp & Paper Engineering. In addition, he has published a book chapter on “Catalytic processes for the production of clean fuels” in a book titled, “New and Future Developments in Catalysis: Catalysis for Remediation and Environmental Concerns” (Publisher: Elsevier). He also served as editor of the Catalysis book series, Volume 24, Royal Society of Chemistry, Cambridge, UK.


Juan He, PhD
Juan He, PhD
Advanced Energy Materials / Energy Efficiency
Ernst Hall, Room 300
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Juan He, PhD, is a Post-doctoral Associate at the Conn Center, where she researches and develops a series of new adsorbents for water vapor removal from the flow of moist air in Kentucky.

She received her doctorate in Chemical Engineering from the University of Cincinnati in 2013 and worked on several projects related to toxic gases removal, including evaluation of coal combustion flue gas emission, vapor-phase mercury, arsenic and carbon dioxide capture, and sulfur-tolerant low temperature Selective Catalytic Reduction (SCR) catalysts applications. She also holds a BS (2007) in Chemical Engineering from the Beijing University of Chemical Technology. She served as a Graduate Research Assistant in the Adsorption and Ion-Exchange Lab at University of Cincinnati from 2007 to 2013, where she researched room temperature ionic liquid coated nanochelating adsorbents for mercury and CO2 adsorption. .She was an Engineering Intern at the Karamay Oilfield of PetroChina in China during 2006 and 2007, where she worked on the liquefied natural gas (LNG) facility.

Juan is the author/co-author of three original research papers in the area of adsorption and ion-exchange. Her research in adsorption technologies now includes the synthesis of cost-effective high surface area materials for water molecules storage at certain temperatures, and the energy efficiency evaluation for the adsorption/desorption cycles using these novel adsorbents. The adsorption systems can be safely applied in household appliances design to reduce the energy consumption effectively.


Robert Lupitskyy, PhD
Robert Lupitskyy, PhD
Biomass Conversion
Ernst Hall, Room 300
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Robert Lupitskyy, PhD, is a Post-doctoral Associate at the Conn Center, where he researches novel methods and materials for preparation of photoanodes in dye-sensitized solar cells and works on new routes for conversion of industrial waste into biofuels.

He received his doctorate in Chemistry from the Clarkson University in 2009 and worked on several projects related to fabrication of responsive polymer surfaces on planar substrates and nanoparticles. He also holds an MS (1997) and a BS (1996) in Chemical Engineering from the National University “Lvivska Polytechnika”, Lviv, Ukraine. He worked as a Graduate Research Assistant in the Nanostructured Materials Group at Clarkson University from 2003 to 2009, where he developed functionalized responsive nanoparticles for applications in coatings, emulsion stabilization, and sensing. He was a Research & Development Intern at Procter & Gamble Company in Cincinnati, OH during 2007, where he worked on synthesis and application of polymer-coated nanoparticles as foam enhancers in laundry detergent formulation. From 2009 to 2010 he worked as a Post-doctoral Associate at Stevens Institute of Technology in Hoboken, NJ, where he studied the effect of aging of silver nanoparticles on enhancement of Raman scattering.

Robert is the author/co-author of 13 original research papers in the area of thin polymer films, nanoparticles, and surface modification. His research interests include application of nanomaterials for solar energy harvesting and extraction of add-value products from industrial waste.


Bill Pandit, PhD
Bill Pandit, PhD
Post-doctoral Associate, Ultrafast Transient Absorption Spectroscopy
Ernst Hall, Room 102B
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Bill Pandit, PhD, is a Post-doctoral Associate at the Conn Center, where he researches solutions for the understanding of charge transfer in dye sensitized and organic photovoltaic solar cells.

He received his doctorate degree in Physics from University of Utah, Salt Lake City, Utah, under the supervision of distinguished Prof. Zeev Valy Vardeny in April 2012. His thesis was on the study of Ultrafast photophysics of π- conjugated polymers for organic photovoltaic applications. He holds an MS (2009) from University of Utah. He also holds a MSc in Physics (2003) and BSc in Physics (1999), both from Tribhuvan University in Nepal.

Bill is the author/co-author of 5 original research papers in the area of cw/transient spectroscopy study of π- Conjugated polymer films and blends with various acceptor molecules. His research at the Conn Center is focused on the understanding of charge transfer process in dye sensitized solar cells and other novel materials that are applicable in solar cell devices.


Arjun K. Thapa, PhD
Arjun K. Thapa, PhD
Post-doctoral Associate, Energy Storage
Ernst Hall, Room 306
502-593-6357
502-852-8619 fax
Email Dr. Thapa

Arjun Thapa, PhD, is a Post-doctoral Associate at the Conn Center, where he researches solutions for the development of Energy Storage technologies.

He received his doctorate in Applied Chemistry from Saga University, Japan, in 2007. His thesis was on the development of cathode materials for lithium-ion batteries and Megalo-capacitance capacitors. He holds an M.E. (2004) in Applied Chemistry from Saga University on halogen doped LiMnx-yO2 cathode materials for lithium-ion batteries and their applications in energy storage systems at elevated temperature. He also holds a M.Sc. in Physical Chemistry (1999) and a B.Sc. in Chemistry (1995), both from Tribhuvan University in Nepal. He served as a Post-doctoral Researcher at the Advance Research Center at Saga University from 2007 to 2008, where he developed a novel energy system using graphitic carbon. In 2008, he became a Post-doctoral Researcher at Kyushu University in Japan and was a major contributor on preparations of mesoporous cathode catalyst electrodes for Lithium-air batteries and their application in energy storage systems. In 2011, Arjun came to the Conn Center as a Post-doctoral Researcher focused on energy storage systems.

Arjun is the author/co-author of 17 original research papers in the areas of capacitors, Lithium-ion and Lithium-air batteries, as well as novel cathode and anode systems. Among his awards are a Global Center of Excellence Post-doctoral Fellowship in the Department of Chemistry at Kyushu University (2008-09) and a Gold Medal for the Inter-Faculty Badminton Tournament at Tribhuvan University (1999). His research includes: synthesis of cathode catalysts and their application in rechargeable lithium-air batteries; synthesis of cathode materials for lithium-ion batteries and its application in hybrid cars, electric vehicles, and plug in electric vehicles; and the study of dual carbon batteries, capacitors, and various energy storage systems.


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