Department of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering.
Dr. Vargas is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering at Rice University and the principal investigator of the laboratory on Petroleum Thermodynamics and Flow Assurance. Prior to his current appointments, he was an Assistant Professor in the Department of Chemical Engineering at the Petroleum Institute and the Manager for the Flow Assurance Research and Development Program of Abu Dhabi National Oil Company (ADNOC), in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates. Dr. Vargas has been the recipient and co-recipient of several teaching and research awards in Mexico, US and UAE. He is currently a member of the National Researchers System of the National Council for Science and Technology (CONACYT) in Mexico and he is co-chairing the Upstream Engineering & Flow Assurance Forum of the American Institute of Chemical Engineers (AIChE). Dr. Vargas holds a Ph.D. degree from Rice University, and M.S. and B.S. from Monterrey Tech, in Mexico.
Rocio Doherty is originally from Mexico where she was an Assistant Professor at the Monterrey Tech for 12 years. In 2006, she moved to Tampa, Fl where she worked in the construction and water industries as R&D Chemist. She also worked at Link-Systems Inc, a company dedicated to develop educational material for different universities. She is the Laboratory Manager at Vargas Research group since July 2014.
Dr. Doherty research experience includes the synthesis and characterization of polymers for chemical encapsulation, and the formulation and testing of additives for a number of chemical products and materials. She has been responsible for the development of laboratory techniques for quality control, certification and field diagnostics and for the coordination of research activities of multidisciplinary groups. Dr. Doherty holds a Ph.D. degree in Chemistry and a M.S. in Environmental Engineering from Monterrey Tech, in Mexico.
Postdoctoral Research Associate
Dr. Garcia-Bermudes' research experience involves the study of heterogeneous reactions in oil suspensions, the formulation of chemical additives to disperse solids in oil systems, and the development of testing methods based on optical microscopy.
Miguel is currently studying and characterizing industrial chemicals used for asphaltene inhibition as well as developing enhanced algorithms for phase behavior modeling.
Postdoctoral Research Associate
Dr. Tavakkoli's research experience includes using SAFT equation state for predicting asphaltene phase behavior at reservoir conditions, investigation of rheological behavior of oil-asphaltene systems, prediction of asphaltene deposition in wellbore, understanding of asphaltene-metal surface interactions using QCM-D experiments and simulation of 3D – two-phase flow through porous media.
Mohammad's most recent work has been developing a method for analyzing asphaltene phase behavior using novel methods performed in a standard lab environment. His latest work is published in Energy & Fuels and can be found on our Publications page.
Renato's current research is focused on developing fundamental understanding of the phase behavior of asphaltenes, which is a potential problem in oil production. He is interested in understanding the effect of solvents, water, electrolytes and asphaltene polydispersity on the phase behavior, rheology and morphology of asphaltene particles and their suspensions, in a wide range of temperatures and pressures.
Caleb's research interests are in the development of rigorous modeling methods for phase and rheological behavior of complex polydispersed systems, for which the tools of advanced equations of state, transport methods and optimization algorithms for parameter estimation are combined and implemented in a user-friendly environment for easy portability and deployment.
Fei is currently revisiting the old solubility theories to better handle non-electrolyte mixtures composed by unlike molecules with significant differences in size and shape. The goal is to develop a general procedure that can make use of optical properties and density of liquids to predict cohesive energy and solubility behavior at high pressures and temperatures. Fei will also explore the applications of this work to modeling CO2 capture, adhesion phenomena and reservoir fluid behavior.
Shayan's research project is on the development of cost/effective methods for large-scale asphaltene separation from crude oils and the identification of potential uses of raw asphaltene nano-aggregates and derived products via chemical and/or physical alterations.
Jun's work is focused on the development of a new generation of asphaltene inhibitors based on electro-static repulsion and disruption of the mechanism of asphaltene aging. He also investigate the relation between corrosion and asphaltene precipitation and deposition, and is interested in the development of integrated methods for simultaneous mitigation of these two problems.
Betty is interested in developing modeling methods that combine Computational Fluid Dynamics and Phase Equilibria Thermodynamics to better understand the flow of multiphase/multicomponent systems in porous media at high pressures and temperatures. One of her project objectives is to assess the potential impairment caused by asphaltene deposition in the near-wellbore region of oil reservoirs.
Sara's research is focused on the development of novel techniques for separation and physicochemical characterization of crude oil systems, using chromatographic and spectroscopic methods. In our method, we account for the polydisperse nature of asphaltenes and Sara's goal is to develop faster, cheaper and more reliable techniques for crude oil analysis.
Jieyi is currently working in the development of modeling methods for the rheological behavior of asphaltene suspensions and the interfacial phenomena of asphaltene / maltene / water systems. He is also interested in the implementation of these models in conjunction with an equation of state modeling framework for simultaneous determination of the phase behavior, asphaltene precipitation tendency and transport properties of these complex mixtures.
Narmadha’s research is focused on the development and integration of advanced numerical schemes for the thermodynamic modeling of multi-phase coexistence and flow dynamics in complex geometries.
Aisha is interested in developing integrated strategies for the prevention of asphaltene deposition, through optimization of operating conditions and utilization of cost/effective mitigation strategies.
Yousef is interested in the simulation of the phase behavior of petroleum systems at high pressures and temperatures, with special emphasize on the design and optimization of enhanced oil recovery strategies.
Mohammed is currently working on the development of a new generation of tools for computer-aided analysis of PVT properties and flow assurance problems, with unprecedented predictive capabilities and user-friendliness.