Epling Group Members

Members of Environmental Catalysis Lab


Bill Epling

Professor, Department Chair

B.S. Virginia Tech, 1992​
Ph.D. University of Florida, 1997​
Post-Doc Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, 1997-1998​

Bill received his PhD from the University of Florida in 1997 and his BS from Virginia Tech in 1992, both in Chemical Engineering. He followed a relatively unique career path that has given him a broad perspective in the field of environmental catalysis, including catalyst design, manufacture, characterization and application. This was gained by working across a spectrum of locations; a national lab (Pacific Northwest National Lab), a catalyst manufacturing company (EmeraChem), and an engine manufacturer (Cummins Inc) before he returned to academia (University of Waterloo, University of Houston and now University of Virginia). His research has most recently focused on diesel and natural gas engine emissions reduction, catalyst degradation and utilization of natural gas in the production of value-added chemicals.

Graduate Researchers

  • Yu-Ren Chen

    Yu-Ren Chen

    PhD Student

    BS degree in Chemical Engineering from National Taiwan University 2015

    Institute of Atomic and Molecular Sciences, Academia Sinica, Taiwan 2016 – 2017

    Research: Yu-Ren's research focuses on the interactions of sulfur poisoning and hydrothermal degradation over Cu-SSZ-13 catalysts for NH3 selective catalytic reduction reactions. After hours, Yu-Ren enjoys hiking, boardgames, chess, and good food.

  • Silvia Marino

    Silvia Marino

    PhD Student

    B.S. in Chemical Engineering from the University of Politecnico di Milano 2012

    M.S. in Chemical Engineering from the University of Politecnico di Milano 2015

    Research: Role of Rh atoms versus particles in three way catalysis

  • Natalia Diaz Montenegro

    Natalia Diaz Montenegro

    PhD student

    B.S. in Chemical Engineering from the University of Florida 2018

    Research: Reduced Precious Metal Catalysts for Methane and NOx Emission Control of Natural Gas Vehicles

  • Sugandha Verma

    Sugandha Verma

    PhD student

    B.E. (2018) MBM Engineering College, Chemical Engineering

    M.Tech. (2020) Indian Institute of Technology, Chemical Engineering

    Research: Sugandha's research focuses on understanding the kinetics and mechanism of N2O formation on supported metal catalysts using DFT and experiments. Outside of research she enjoys drinking coffee with Silvia.

  • Zhouran Gan

    Zhouran Gan


    B.S. in Materials Science & Engineering, Tianjin Polytech University 2012

    M.S. in Environmental Science, University of Shanghai for Science & Technology 2015

    Ph.D. in Chemical Engineering, The University of Alabama in Huntsville 2021

    Research: Propylene ammoxidation using forced dynamic operations and light alkane dehydrogenation.

  • Poonam Rani

    Poonam Rani


    B.Sc. in Chemistry Honours, Panjab University, India, 2011

    M.Sc. in Chemistry Honours, Panjab University, India, 2013

    Ph.D. in Chemistry, Indian Institute of Technology Ropar, India, 2014-2019

    Post Doc. Fellow, Charles University, Czech Republic, 2020-2022

    Research: Synthesis and catalytic applications of inorganic and organic-inorganic hybrid porous framework. Currently, Poonam is studying the impact of fuel and oil additive components on the selective catalytic reduction reaction (SCR) over Cu/SSZ-13 catalyst.

  • Surya Pratap Singh Solanki

    Surya Pratap Singh Solanki

    Visiting Researcher

    B.Tech. in Chemical Engineering, Indian Institute of Technology Roorkee 2015

    Manager Reliance Industries Limited, Navi Mumbai 2015-18

    Ph.D. in Chemical Engineering, University of Houston 2018-Present

    Research: Surya has been working to understand NOx adsorption on palladium exchanged zeolites and currently a visiting researcher from Prof. Lars Grabow's group and currently he is studying methane partial oxidation under dynamic reaction conditions. He likes to go on hikes, play cricket and is a Formula-1 fanboy.

  • Umberto Iacobone

    Umberto Iacobone

    Visiting Researcher

    B.S. in Energy Engineering, Politecnico di Milano - 2015

    M.S. in Energy Engineering, Politecnico di Milano - 2018

    Ph.D. In Chemical Engineering, Politecnico di Milano - 2018-present

    Research: Umberto's framework activity are NOx abatement technologies from heavy-duty engines, with two main research areas: NH3-SCR and PNAs. Concurrently, he is working on the kinetic modeling of PNA transient adsorption/desorption phases, to verify and extend the current mechanistic understanding of these promising systems. In his free time he enjoys to practice martial arts, go to the gym/pool and do scuba diving; also, a Formula-1 fan (forza Ferrari!). 


  • Ryan Zelinsky

    Now at Volvo

  • Carlos Weiler

    Now at Intel

  • Lai Wei

    Now at Cummins Inc.

  • Fatima Mahnaz

    Studied the Chemical Engineering PhD program at Texas A&M 

  • Sergio Monila-Ramírez

    Returned to Spain in December 2021.

  • Kevin (Yuntao) Gu

    Now at General Motors

  • Costanza Preziosi

    Returned to Italy in 2018

  • Marina Cortés-Reyes

    Professor in the University of Málaga

  • Yasser Jangjou

    Now at GlaxoSmithKline plc (GSK)

  • Monique Shauntá Wilburn

    Now at BASF

  • Annelisa Tosti

    Returned to Italy in 2017