Our Team

Lab Director

Dr. Shantanu Jathar is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Mechanical Engineering at Colorado State University whose research interests lie at the intersection of energy and the environment. His research group leverages laboratory experiments, field measurements, and numerical models to study the emissions, evolution, and properties of fine particles (or aerosols) arising from energy and combustion sources. He is married to an electrical engineer and has two bouncy kids. In his spare time, he likes to run, bike, try new coffee, and play the bansuri.

Postdoctoral Researchers

Kelsey Bilsback

Kelsey is currently a Postdoctoral Researcher in Mechanical Engineering. Kelsey is currently implementing a process-level model for secondary organic aerosol (simpleSOM-MOSAIC) in WRF-Chem to better understand the contribution of aerosol precursors and processes to SOA formation. Her work has focused on energy conversion technology and policy, with an emphasis on emissions, aerosol chemistry, exposures, and climate/health impacts. During her PhD, she developed the Firepower Sweep Test and helped lead field campaigns to evaluate cookstove emissions in Uganda, India, China, and Honduras. As a postdoc, she has also used global chemical-transport models to examine the air quality, health, and climate impacts of solid-fuel use and energy transition policies.

  • Ph.D. Mechanical Engineering, Colorado State University
  • B.A. in Physics, Boston University

Graduate Students

Charles He

Charles is currently a Ph.D. student. Charles is developing and applying process-level models to study the formation and properties of secondary organic aerosol from model VOCs and  VOC mixtures.

  • B.S. Mechanical Engineering, Carnegie Mellon University
  • M.S. Civil and Environmental Engineering, Carnegie Mellon University
Sreejith Sasidharan

Sreejith is currently a Ph.D. student. Sreejith is developing parameterizations to study the secondary organic aerosol formation from VOCs present in volatile chemical products. When not working, Sreejith likes to read, cook, and practice yoga.

  • B.Tech. Chemical Engineering, Amrita Vishwa Vidyapeetham
  • M.S. Chemical Engineering, Carnegie Mellon University
Abe Dearden

Abe is currently a Ph.D. student. Abe is studying both the short- and long-term physicochemical evolution of organic aerosols in laboratory fires. In his spare time, Abe enjoys mountain biking, camping, and working on his car.

  • B. S., Atmospheric and Oceanic Science, University of California Los Angeles
Dylan Giardina

Dylan is currently a master’s student. Dylan is designing and evaluating autonomous low-cost sensors to measure ozone pollution on dairy farms. In his free time, Dylan enjoys cooking and power-lifting.

  • B.S. Mechanical Engineering, Colorado State Unviversity

Undergraduate Students

Spencer Jordan

Spencer is currently an undergraduate student studying Civil and Environmental Engineering. Spencer is using a computational fluid dynamics code to study aerosol transport and processes in various atmospheric instruments. In his spare time, Spencer likes to road and gravel bike, spend time outdoors, and cook meals with friends.


Postdoc/PhD (alphabetical)

  • Ali Akherati (8/15-4/21), PhD Mechanical Engineering (co-advised by Jeff Pierce)
    • Ali used box and three-dimensional models to study the formation and evolution of secondary organic aerosol from novel precursors in urban environments, biomass burning emissions, and wildfire plumes. Ali is currently a postdoctoral scholar with Prof. Mike Kleeman at the University of California Davis.
  • Wayne Chuang (6/18-03/20), Postdoctoral Scholar
    • Wayne helped develop computationally-efficient representations to simulate the chemistry and microphysics of organic aerosols in chemical transport models. Wayne currently works with the Regional Air Quality Council in Colorado.
  • Anna Hodshire (8/14-12/19), PhD Atmospheric Science (co-advised; primary advisor: Jeff Pierce)
    • Anna used box and three-dimensional models to study the evolution of atmospheric aerosols in diverse environments, including forests, remote ocean, and smoke plumes. Anna is currently a research scientist with Handix Scientific.

MS (alphabetical)

  • Shiva Chenna (8/16-5/19), MS Mechanical Engineering
    • Shiva’s MS thesis focused on using artificial neural networks to model the fuel economy and tailpipe emissions from light-duty passenger vehicles. Shiva works as an engineer for Apple in Cupertino, CA.
  • Sailaja Eluri (9/15-1/17), MS Mechanical Engineering 
    • Sailaja’s MS thesis developed and applied two semi-explicit chemistry and thermodynamic models to predict the formation and composition of secondary organic aerosol from diesel exhaust. Sailaja is currently a PhD student at the North Carolina State University in Rayleigh, NC.
  • Abril Galang (1/15-1/17), MS Mechanical Engineering
    • Abril’s MS thesis involved the use of neural network models to predict fuel economy and emissions from electric and hydraulic hybrid vehicles.  Abril currently works as an engineer at Toyota in Ann Arbor, MI.
  • Naman Sharma (1/17-12/18), MS Mechanical Engineering
    • Naman’s MS thesis examined the influence of fuel, engine load, and emissions control on the oxidative reactivity of diesel exhaust particles. Naman currently works at Woodward Inc. in Fort Collins, CO.

BS Thesis (alphabetical)

  • Dylan Giardina (8/19-5-20), BS Mechanical Engineering
    • Dylan’s BS thesis focused on the design and development of a low-cost ozone sensor to provide long-term, autonomous measurements of regional ozone pollution.
  • Mikaela Henness-Wilson (5/17-12/18), BS Mechanical Engineering
    • Mikaela’s BS thesis involved the development and application of statistical models to predict criteria pollutant emissions from on-road mobile sources.
  • Christopher Heppding (8/15-5/16), BS Mechanical Engineering
    • Chris designed, fabricated, and tested an selective catalytic reduction (SCR) system for a Tier 3 diesel engine and helped measure isocyanic acid emissions resulting from the SCR chemistry. Chris currently works as an engineer at Air Squared in Denver, CO.
  • Brandon King (1/17-5/18), BS Mechanical Engineering
    • Brandon’s BS thesis used an environmental chamber to study the formation of secondary organic aerosol from next-generation biofuels. He is currently a PhD student at the Colorado School of Mines in Golden, CO.
  • Zachary Lustig (8/19-5/20), BS Mechanical Engineering
    • Zach performed vertical profile measurements of the particle sized distribution using an unmanned aerial vehicle using an optical particle counter. Zach is currently a graduate student studying fabrication of photovoltaic cells at CSU.
  • Abbie Maben (6/19-5/21), BS Mechanical Engineering
    • Abbie deployed optical particle spectrometers in Fort Collins to study the spatiotemporal variability in particle size distributions and analyzed urban air quality impacts from the lockdowns mandated during the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • Scott Parmelee (8/19-5/20), BS Mechanical Engineering
    • Scott’s BS thesis involved the design and development of a prototype to simultaneously measure fluoresced and scattered light from airborne particles. Scott is currently an engineer with Maxar Technologies in San Francisco, CA.

 Undergraduate Researchers (alphabetical)

  • Liam Lewane (8/15-7/18), BS Mechanical Engineering
    • Liam designed, built, and maintained the CSU environmental chamber and played an important role on all diesel engine-related projects.
  • Ben Platt (5/17-7/17), BS Mechanical Engineering
    • Ben performed chamber experiments to quantify secondary organic aerosol mass yields from a suite of biofuel substitutes for gasoline.
  • Gabe Rodriguez (5/17-7/17), BS Mechanical Engineering
    • Gabe helped analyze particle size distribution data from several different instruments deployed during the FIREX campaign at the Fire Sciences Lab in Missoula, MT.
  • Cody Vanderheyden (8/15-5/17), BS Mechanical Engineering
    • Cody helped measured and analyze aerosol emissions from diesel engines and cookstoves and also led the design of a portable, low-cost, variable dilution system for combustion emissions.
  • Jonathan Boualavong (5/15-7/15), BS Biomedical Engineering 
    • Jonathan used an electrochemical microfluidic sensor to measure the oxidative load of diesel and biodiesel particulate matter (PM) emissions.

Senior Design (reverse chronological)

  • Alex Lieberman, Vance Payne, Joshua Weller, Kepler Worobec (8/18-5/19), BS Mechanical Engineering
    • Alex, Vance, Josh, and Kepler designed, built, and tested a light-weight instrument package to perform particle size distribution measurements using an unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV). Their instrument package allowed for a flight time of ~20 minutes and should enable measurements of airborne particles aloft, including those in wildfire plumes.
  • Alex Gabriel, Ian Huber, Aaron Radack, Jonathan Sharf, Keith Syrstad, Kyle Tallakson (8/16-5/17), BS Mechanical Engineering
    • Alex, Ian, Aaron, Jon, Keith, and Kyle designed and built a low-cost, standalone, field-deployable ozone monitor using the MiCS-2614 sensor. Their monitor cost about ~$200 and offered excellent performance against ambient reference analyzers (within 10%). Preliminary deployments with this monitor suggested modest spatiotemporal differences in ozone concentrations within the city of Fort Collins, CO.
  • Collin Babcock, Matt Houghton, Alex Mitchell, Kyle Roberts, Ashlee Sanchez (8/15-5/16), BS Mechanical Engineering
    • Collin, Matt, Alex, Kyle and Ashlee designed, developed and constructed a low-cost, low-power, portable and autonomous, ambient air quality monitor that measured carbon dioxide and three other criteria pollutants (carbon monoxide, nitrogen dioxide and ozone). Their air quality monitor could measure near-ambient to elevated concentrations of pollutants, was accurate within 20% (at room temperature and dry air), lasted ~7 days on a single charge and cost about $750.

Alex Lieberman, Vance Payne, Joshua Weller, Kepler Worobec

Alex Gabriel, Ian Huber, Aaron Radack, Jonathan Sharf, Keith Syrstad, Kyle Tallakson

Collin Babcock, Matt Houghton, Alex Mitchell, Kyle Roberts, Ashlee Sanchez