Environmental Chemistry Research Group

Meet the Environmental Chemistry Team

Dr. Rubasinghege is committed to building and maintaining a diverse research team. His aim is to assist each team member in developing a strong research foundation so that each individual’s challenges are a result of their scientific ability rather than their gender, race, or disabilities.  We believe in the importance of developing creativity, critical thinking, scholarship, and independence as successful traits in our team.

Gayan R. Rubasinghege

 

Assistant Professor

Department of Chemistry

New Mexico Institute of Mining and Technology

222 Lopez Hall

801 Leroy Place

Socorro, NM 87801

 

Phone: 575-835-5129

Fax: 575-835-5215

Gayan earned his B.S. in Chemistry at the University of Kelaniya, Sri Lanka (2005), and Ph.D. in Chemistry at the University of Iowa with Vicki H. Grassian (2011). After receiving his doctorate degree, he started his career as a Postdoctoral Research Scholar at the University of Iowa. During this time he was also rewarded the opportunity to work as a visiting assistant professor at the Department of Chemistry. Thereafter he was offered Assistant Professor of Chemistry at Saint Cloud State University, MN. In August 2014, he began his independent research career at NMT. Gayan is the recipient of several awards including A. Lynn Anderson Award for Excellence in Graduate Research (2010) and nominated for the Graduate College D.C. Spriestersbach Dissertation Prize (2012). His research group activities include simulated laboratory studies to discover hidden reaction pathways and mechanisms of complex environmental processes, understand molecular level insights of surface chemistry and photochemistry of mineral oxides and engineered nanoparticles, and develop of catalytic systems for wastewater treatments.

Eshani Hettiarachchi

 

Third Year Graduate Student

Department of Chemistry

Lopez Hall 110

New Mexico Institute of Mining and Technology

 

Eshani earned her B.S. in Chemistry at the University of Peradeniya, Sri Lanka (2015) with minors in Geology and Molecular Biology & Biochemistry, and joined the Ph.D. program in Chemistry at New Mexico Tech in spring 2016. She joined the Environmental Chemistry Research Group in the summer of the same year. Her research focuses on surface chemistry and photochemistry of environmentally relevant surfaces. Among those, studying atmospheric processing of Fe-bearing mineral-dust aerosols to better understand current biogeochemical cycles and understanding the interactions between heavy metals (mainly Uranium) in desert dust and lung fluids involves both natural dust and proxy studies. She is also passionate on studying metal organic frameworks (MOFs) for their selective gas adsorption as a way of sequestrating CO2 and chemical catalysis of metal porphyrin for conversion of methane to methanol in ambient conditions. Eshani earned outstanding graduate teaching assistant award in 2017.

Nishanthi Ellepola

 

First Year Graduate Student

Department of Chemistry

New Mexico Institute of Mining and Technology

 

Nishanthi is a first year graduate student in the Department of Chemistry at NMT. She completed her Graduate ship in Chemistry Degree in 2009 at Institute of Chemistry, Sri Lanka. Then, graduated with the Masters in Applied Organic Chemistry in 2012 at the University of Colombo, Sri Lanka. Before joining the PhD program, she worked as an Advanced Level Chemistry teacher at the Villa College International, Male, Maldives. Nishanthi is also a registered pharmacists of Ceylon Medical College Council of Sri Lanka. Her PhD project mainly focuses on degradation and long-term health effects of Pharmaceuticals and personal care products (PPCPs). She also works on a collaborative project with Dr. Tello-Aburto to synthesis identified degradation products of PPCPs.

Milton Das

 

First Year Graduate Student

Department of Chemistry

New Mexico Institute of Mining and Technology

 

Milton Chandra Das, is a first year graduate student of Chemistry at New Mexico Tech. Prior to join NM Tech he completed a Bachelors and Masters degrees in Chemistry at Dhaka University, Bangladesh. While pursuing Bachelors and Masters, he was involved in few projects related electrochemistry. After joining group spring 2018, he started working in a brand new project to investigate methane to methanol conversion  using graphene based organometallic catalysts.

Andrew Chen

 

Senior undergraduate

Department of Petroleum Engineering

New Mexico Institute of Mining and Technology

 

Andrew is a senior undergraduate student, pursuing a Bachelors in Petroleum Engineering, with a minor in Chemical Engineering at the New Mexico Institute of Mining and Technology. He joined the Environmental Chemistry research group in Spring 2015 as a student research assistant. Andrew’s current research involves studying the environmental impact on Pharmaceutical and Personal Care Products (PPCPs) in the presence of common minerals and solar flux that may produce potentially toxic secondary products via degradation. Besides studies related to PPCPs, Andrew is interested in studying the retention of industrially relevant surfactants via core flooding and HPLC Analysis. Andrew has teaching experience for CHEM 121 Laboratory Class at New Mexico Tech and High School Microeconomics Class at Oak Ridge High School, El Dorado Hills, CA.

Sabino Maldonado-Torres

 

Junior undergraduate

Biomedical Science Program with Chemistry Option

New Mexico Institute of Mining and Technology

 

Sabino is a junior undergraduate student in the Biomedical Sciences program. He joined the Environmental Chemistry Research lab in the winter of 2015 where he focused his time in directing and conducting the toxicological studies on PPCPs. Sabino later continued this project while participating in the NM-INBRE- sponsored NISE summer program. He has presented his works as a poster and an invited student speaker at the 2016 and 2017 annual NM INBRE conference, respectively. Furthermore, the research conducted in the lab has opened his doors to internship at Yale School of Medicine in the summer of 2016.

Former Group Members

Former Graduate Students:

1. Hom Nath Rijal - Pursue a PhD student at University of Miami, FL

 

2. Omar Hurub - Works as a chemist in an indutrial position.

Former Undergraduate Students:

1. Chase Kicker - Finishing his B.S. degree at New Mexico Tech

 

2. Sean Standiford -  Finishing his B.S. degree at New Mexico Tech

 

3. Zane Arias

 

4. Sarah Bockisch - Works in an industrial position

 

5. Shaylene Paul

 

ADMINISTRATIVE ASSISTANT

GAYAN R. RUBASINGHEGE

Assistant Professor of Chemistry

New Mexico Institute of Mining and Technology

Department of Chemistry

801 Leroy Place

Socorro, NM 87801

Bethany Jessen

New Mexico Institute of Mining and Technology

Department of Chemistry

801 Leroy Place

Socorro, NM 87801

Phone: 575-835-5129

Fax: 575-835-5215

Phone: 575-835-5263

Fax: 575-835-5364

Copyright © 2018 The Environmental Chemistry  Research Research Group. All rights reserved.