Meet the Mentors

The following mentors are available to help with students  for CEVE 307.

Mason Tomson


Professor Tomson holds a BS degree in Chemistry and Mathematics and a Ph.D. in Chemistry. He teaches courses and does research on all aspects of organic and inorganic chemical fate and transport, with emphasis on aquatic processes. His research has focused around two themes, fate and transport of organic and inorganic chemicals in the environment and mechanisms of mineral scale formation and control.  He has published over 300 papers and books and holds several patents.  His research team was one of the first (circa 1978) to prove that ground water could be readily contaminated by organic chemicals from the surface; then developed and demonstrated the concepts of facilitated (enhanced) transport via dissolved organic carbon and more recently of irreversible (resistant) desorption of chemicals from soils and sediments.  Chemicals that prevent mineral formation, called scale inhibitors, are used in nearly all industrial water treatment as well as in nearly every and oil or gas well in the world and Prof. Tomson has developed one of the only fundamental theories of how these chemicals work. Prof. Tomson is also leading an effort to establish a joint program between Rice University and Nankai University, in Tianjin, China, on sustainable environmental development.

Contact: (please include course No. in subject line), or Keck Hall 119.

Questions that are interesting to Dr. Tomson include:

  • What chemicals are in produced water and what are the major concerns about these components, inorganic, organic, biological, and radiological?
  • How far do heavy metals and oil compounds transport in the water and subsurface?

Raquel A. Silva

raquel silva


Raquel A. Silva recently earned her PhD in Environmental Sciences and Engineering at The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Her doctoral research was on “climate change, air quality and human health” and she focused on quantifying the global mortality impacts of ambient air pollution. She holds a Master’s in Environmental Management and Policy and she completed an MBA program and graduate coursework in Environmental Education.


Areas of expertise:

  • Global air quality modeling using the MOZART-4 chemical transport model;
  • Health effects of air pollution, particularly ozone and fine particulate matter (PM2.5);
  • Impacts of climate change on air quality and human health;
  • Health impact assessments at global and regional scales.

Quazi Ziaur Rasool

Quazi Rasool

Quazi Ziaur Rasool is a PhD student with Dr. Daniel Cohan in his second year at Rice. His focus is currently on improving Nitrogen oxide emissions estimates from soils in computational models used by federal agencies like US EPA for policy making. While studying impacts of his model updates on ozone and particulate matter, he has also looked at bio-fertilizers/biochar as a prospective mitigation measure in place of N based fertilizers, which contribute to the nitrogen oxide emissions from soil. Quazi completed his M.S. degree in Environmental Engineering and Management at the Indian Institute of Technology – Kanpur.


Areas of expertise and interest:

  • Air Quality , Atmospheric processes
  • Meteorological, emission, field observation and satellite data
  • Agriculture, environment, climate and energy
  • ‘Biochar’: environmental & energy perspective
  • Biosphere-Atmosphere interactions (soil, water and air)
  • Sustainable agricultural practices
  • Land Use change
  • Climate change

Amanda San Miguel


Amanda San Miguel is a graduate student in Dr. Cohan’s group. She holds a B.S. in Chemical Engineering from Texas A&M University and is originally from El Paso, Texas. She spent 10 years working in the oil and gas industry as an environmental engineer for Marathon Oil Company in Houston and in Anchorage, Alaska. She is interested in the nexus between climate, air quality, energy, and economics.


Areas of expertise include:

  • U.S. environmental regulations, policy, and compliance
  • Clean Air Act and air/greenhouse gas regulations
  • Air/greenhouse gas emissions
  • Oil and gas industry


Lauren Stadler


Dr. Lauren B. Stadler is an Assistant Professor in Civil and Environmental Engineering studying sustainable biological wastewater treatment processes. Her research focuses on advancing water reuse and energy recovery from wastewater using a multi-disciplinary approach that combines microbial ecology, environmental chemistry, and sustainability assessment. Lauren received her Ph.D. and M.S. from the University of Michigan in Environmental Engineering and worked in environmental consulting designing algae pond systems for wastewater treatment.


Questions that are interesting to Dr. Stadler include:

  • How much energy do we use to treat our water?
  • How much energy is there in wastewater? How much is recoverable?
  • Where are the largest inefficiencies and losses in our water-energy system?
  • How does water use contribute to climate change? How will climate change impact water quality and availability?


Ayan Majmudar


Ayan Majmudar is a graduate student working with Dr. Cohan for his final project, as part of the Engineering Professional Master’s Program at Rice University. He completed his B.S. in Civil Engineering from Northeastern University in Boston, MA. His interests include renewable energy, water efficiency, and overall site sustainability. He holds an Engineer-in-Training certification, as well as a LEED Green Associate credential.


Areas of Expertise and Interest:

  • LEED Sustainability
  • Land Development
  • Site Remediation
  • Climate Change

Shayak Sengupta


Shayak Sengupta is currently a Fulbright-Nehru scholar at the Indian Institute of Technology, Kanpur. His research in India aims to quantify the cost of air pollution control technologies at Indian coal power stations as well as their effect on ambient air quality, through a combination of field visits, atmospheric modeling, and publically available data. Shayak graduated with a B.S. in Civil and Environmental Engineering from Rice University, where his undergraduate research focused on carbon footprints (life cycle analysis) of municipal alternative fuel vehicles and natural gas.

Current Interests:

  • Energy choices and policy and their effect on air quality and climate
  • Policy-relevant environmental science and engineering
  • Energy, air quality, and climate in the developing world, especially India
  • Life cycle assessment/carbon footprinting

Rui Zhang

Dr. Rui Zhang is a postdoctoral research associate working with Dr. Cohan at Rice. His research focuses on understanding the impact of air pollutants and bio-aerosols on air quality, climate change as well as human health using modeling approach. Zhang received his Ph.D. in Applied Mathematics from the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology and his M.S in Environmental Science from Peking University.
Questions that are interesting to Dr. Zhang include:
  • How do emissions from vegetation and soil alter the regional air quality with the changing climate?
  • What are the ozone and particulate matters variation trends for megacities in the U.S. and their linkage with emission controls?
  • Can we verify China’s clean energy initiative using the observed tracer gas total column concentrations from space?
  • How do we model the spatial-temporal variation of pollens during flowering season and their impact to human health?