Pavani Cherukupally

Pavani-150x150 Post-doc Associate (WERL & MPML)
PhD & MEng, University of Toronto
BEng, Osmania University
Visiting Researcher, Imperial College London, UK
Office: RS 206
LinkedIn | ResearchGate

Bio Sketch

I am a curiosity-driven interdisciplinary researcher aims to remediate societal problems including water, energy, and environment using inexpensive smart materials. To that end, I combine tools and techniques from analytical chemistry, imaging, and semi-empirical models. Furthermore, I collaborate with highly motivated chemists, theorists, and engineers to reach my research goals.

Research Interests: Surface and Interfacial Science, Process and System Design, Stimuli-Responsive Polymers and Nanotech

Teaching Assistant: MIE414H1F – Applied Fluid Mechanics, MIE 312H1F – Fluid Mechanics -I, APS 106H1F – Fundamentals of Computer Programming




  • Ontario Graduate Scholarship, Province of Ontario, Canada (2017)
  • William Dunbar Memorial Scholarship in Mechanical Engineering (2016)
  • Queen Elizabeth II/Herbert A. Staneland Graduate Scholarship in Science & Technology (QEII-GSST) (2016)
  • Graduate Bursary Fund (2015)
  • Bert Wasmund Graduate Fellowship in Sustainable Energy Research (2015)
  • MIE Doctoral Fellowship, University of Toronto (2014-18)

Science Communications

  • Research Excellence Award, New York Academy of Science and PepsiCo
  • Best Poster Award (People’s Choice, 1st place), 9th Annual MIE Graduate Research Symposium, University of Toronto (2018)
  • Best Poster Award (Energy and Environmental Engineering, 1st place), 9th Annual MIE Graduate Research Symposium, University of Toronto (2018)
  • Best Poster Award, Green by Design – Recent Advances in Chemistry and Engineering (3rd place), 6th Annual Symposium of Green Chemistry Initiative, Toronto, Canada (2018)
  • Finalist, Society of Petroleum Engineers Regional Paper Contest, Calgary, Canada (2018)
  • Best Paper Award Graduate (1st place), 75th ANTEC Plastics Technology Conference, Anaheim, USA (2017)
  • Best Poster Award Graduate (5th place), 75th ANTEC Plastics Technology Conference, Anaheim, USA (2017)
  • Best Poster Presenter (1st place), 8th Annual MIE Graduate Research Symposium, Energy, Thermal and Fluid Sciences Stream, University of Toronto (2017)


  • Finalist, Hult Prize for Social Entrepreneurship Regional Competition, Lagos, Nigeria (2018)
  • Finalist, Hult Prize for Social Entrepreneurship, University of Toronto (2017)
  • Student Life Award, University of Toronto (2016)


News: Featured on U of T Engineering News Letter

Sponging Up Oil from Tailings Ponds

Project: Application of foams for water, energy, and environment

Oil sands industry is a critical component of energy infrastructure. However, it has also produced over 1 billion cubic meters of contaminated tailings. One of the greatest challenges of treating this water is the removal of dissolved and emulsified organic compounds that are detrimental to public health, wildlife habitats, and environment.

My research focuses on the application of fundamental science to design new adsorbent foams, oil/water separation process, and development of foam filter for remediation of industrial effluents. To this goal-driven project, I apply principles from physical chemistry, polymer science, chemical engineering, and process design. We work collaboratively with basic and applied science researchers to achieve a solution for this grand challenge.

Figure 1. Model oily wastewater before and after cleaning with sponge/foam

Figure 1 shows the model process-affected water before and after cleaning with the foam. The foam is also reusable for multiple cycles that performs better than the pristine foam. The total organic carbon removal of up to 99.8% is achieved.

Research Collaborators and Sponsors:  

Academia: Water and Energy Research Group, The GAO Materials Chemistry Research Group, and Interfacial Lab at the University of Toronto, Canada; Leibniz Institute of Polymer Research Dresden, Germany; Imperial College London, UK; Cornell University, USA; and Massachusetts Institute of Technology, USA.

Industry: Surface Measurement Systems, Anton-Paar, Nexen Energy, Tetra Tech, ShawCor, Gracious Living, NSERC, NRCan, DFO

Message: Our doors are open for highly motivated, passionate, and curiosity-driven researchers.