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Jean-François Louf

Principal Investigator, CV

Jean-François is an Assistant Professor at Auburn University in the Chemical Engineering department. He did both his undergraduate and graduate work in France (Nice - Lyon - Marseille). Later on, he worked as a postdoc at Virginia Tech with Sunny Jung, at CNRS Grenoble (France) with Philippe Marmottant, at the Technical University of Denmark with Kaare H. Jensen, and at Princeton University with Sujit S. Datta.

Jean-François is French and, as a result, loves red wine (be careful! he's picky) and food. He also loves thrills and doesn't hesitate to go very high to sky dive/hike the highest mountains, or also very deep to scuba dive in the seven seas.


Shankar Kharal

Postdoctoral Associate

Shankar Kharal is a postdoctoral researcher at Auburn University. He received his undergraduate degree from Tribhuvan University in Nepal, MS in Physics from the University of Louisiana at Lafayette, and PhD in Chemical Engineering from Rowan University in New Jersey. His research revolves around investigations of complex multiphasic fluid dynamics and the interfacial phenomena with the broad goal of establishing principles for control over soft materials.

Shankar enjoys playing volleyball in his free time. Other arts he enjoys include creative writing, interior design, gardening, and pattern recognition. Aside from that, he enjoys cooking with his wife and traveling to new places.

Tofayel Ahammad Ovee

Graduate student

Tofayel is a graduate student (Phd) of Chemical Engineering, Auburn University. He had 09 years of industrial Experience with different organisations. He worked for Chevron Corporation as Operations Specialist (oil & gas), for Krisenergy Ltd. as control Room Specialist (oil & gas), lead acid battery manufacturering and polymer processing industry. He completed his bachelor in chemical engineering and polymer science from Shahjalal University of Science and technology, Bangladesh. During his bachelor he did his research with wastewater characterization.


He was involved with Chevron Diversity and inclusion committee during his job. He loves traveling, swimming, and cricket, movie, TV series.

Tori Phillips

Graduate student

Tori Phillips is a graduate student in chemical engineering at Auburn University. She graduated with her bachelor’s in chemical engineering from the University of Alabama in Huntsville in spring of 2021. She has a particular interest in materials engineering and botany. She enjoys seeking answers to many different “why” questions and feels that curiosity is very important to research.


Tori is often found on the weekends hanging out with her elderly dog Maggie while tackling new art projects. She has a vast collection of houseplants that fill all corners of her apartment. She loves visiting new places, especially if she is able to come home with a good story from her adventure. In her free time, she loves planning fun outings with her friends, trying new restaurants, and searching the clearance sections at stores for good deals.


Joshua Green

Graduate student

Joshua is an undergraduate student in Chemical Engineering at Auburn University and plans to graduate in 2023. Joshua enjoys working problems and finds interest in the medical field. He has worked in compounding pharmacy for six years and is a member of the Auburn Chapter of the Biomedical Engineering Society.


Joshua grew up in north Alabama living on the river he enjoys fishing and swimming. In his free time likes to read, as well as spend time with friends playing pickleball or racquetball. Joshua also enjoys hiking and gardening.


Tori McDermott

Undergraduate student

Tori is an undergraduate student in Chemical Engineering at Auburn University. She plans to graduate from Auburn in 2025. Tori has a particular interest in Biomedical Engineering and problem solving. She enjoys learning more about the Chemical Engineering by being a member of the Auburn University chapter of the American Institute of Chemical Engineers.


Tori grew up in Nashville, TN where she loves listening to country music. Tori also loves spending time hiking in the Smokey Mountains. Some of her other interests include running, reading, and volunteering as a member of Auburn’s Beat Bama Food Drive.


Ethan Wavra

Undergraduate student

Ethan is an undergraduate student in Chemical Engineering at Auburn University. He plans to graduate in 2025 and then attend medical school. Besides chemical engineering, Ethan has taken French since grade school, and he plans to complete his minor at Auburn. He also serves as a college of Engineering SGA Senator.
Ethan grew up in Birmingham, AL. Most of his free time is spent hanging out with his friends, playing tennis, or traveling. He hopes to visit every country in the world before the end of his life. He also enjoys working on personal projects. Along with his roommate, he has managed to build a working flamethrower, trebuchet, and forge over the past 3 years.


Nicolas Ulrich

Undergraduate student

Nicolas is an undergraduate in Chemical Engineering at Auburn University and plans to graduate in 2024. He has Co-op experience as a Process Engineer at Argos Cement LLC. He is also currently working part-time at a startup called Automation Media Group.


Nicolas is from Athens, AL and grew up spending most of his time in the outdoors. These days camping, hiking, working on his car, reading and playing soccer are his favorite hobbies.

Mari Miles Dempsey

Undergraduate student

Mari Miles is an undergraduate student at Auburn University, studying Chemical Engineering, specializing in Biomedical Engineering. After graduation, she hopes to travel and explore the world to better understand it. She has a great interest in using engineering to improve healthcare.


Mari Miles has lived her whole life in Auburn, Alabama. She grew up as a dancer, but now enjoys reading, going on walks, and most of all, spending time with her family.

William Johnson

Undergraduate student

Will is an undergraduate student in Chemical Engineering at Auburn University and plans to graduate in 2025. He recently had an internship with ExxonMobil in Baton Rouge. He enjoyed the oil and gas industry and hopes to pursue a career in it after graduation.


Will grew up in Mobile, AL. When Will isn’t studying or in class, you can find him exploring outdoors, especially on trails. He also enjoys hanging out with friends and reading a good book.

Isabella Perez

Undergraduate student

Isabella Perez is an undergraduate student at Auburn University majoring in Industrial & Systems Engineering, with plans to graduate in 2026. After graduation, Isabella plans to pursue Biomedical Engineering both in a graduate program and professionally. She has had a love for research for many years and hopes to use the skills she has developed in that time to improve the world of prosthetics. She also hopes to be part of an international exchange student program in the near future.

Isabella enjoys swimming, playing guitar, reading, listening to music, and playing board games. However, her favorite pastime is being in the company of the people she cares about.

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Bennett Milton 

Undergraduate student

Bennett is an Undergraduate Student in Chemical engineering and plans to graduate in 2025, and hopes to go into the power production industry after graduation. He is interested in the environmental impact of power production and hopes to find ways to make power production processes more sustainable. Bennett holds an interest in problem solving and enjoys undergraduate research as a means to explore topics that interest him.

Bennett Grew up in Birmingham, Alabama. He was a band student growing up; but now he enjoys working out, playing with his dog, and spending time with friends and family. While prioritizing his studies, he has participated in four seasons with Auburn’s Marching Band and he currently holds a part-time Facility Supervisor position at Auburn University’s Recreation Center as well.

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Clay Williams

Undergraduate student

Clay is an undergraduate student in Chemical Engineering at Auburn University and plans to graduate in December of 2025. Clay recently co-oped with Indorama Ventures in Decatur, Alabama at their PTA production plant. Clay hopes to join the Nuclear Power Industry after he graduates.

After class, Clay enjoys rock climbing, listening to music, watching football, or hanging out with friends.

Past members

Setareh Heidari - grad student

Taylor Sorell - undergrad student

Molly McNair - undergrad student

Jebril Toumi - intern student

Jacob Thornton - undergrad student

Jay Griggs - undergrad student

Fiona Gambin - intern student

Samantha Banas - intern student

Kevin Label - intern student

Colin Lainey - intern student

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