PhD Students

Sara Chergaoui
Sara Chergaoui is an aspiring researcher in the field of membrane engineering. Upon the completion of her Bachelor's studies at Al Akhawayn University in Morocco, she joined the Erasmus Mundus Master in Membrane Engineering in Autumn 2018. A program that totally met her expectations, not only had it allow for gaining fundamentals on membranes and research, it also facilitated learning about different cultures -- each semester took place in a different country around Europe: France, Czech Republic, Portugal and Belgium. This was not her first time indulging in an overseas-study program, she spent her sixth undergrad semester in Virginia Tech, USA. Enjoying academia, research and traveling is addictive, so naturally, she will happily continue with doctoral studies in the field of membranes where she studies the impact of membrane characteristics on enzyme reactivity and co-crystallization.

Kamyll Dawn Cocon
Kamyll Dawn Cocon had finished her master’s degree at Université Catholique de Louvain, under the formation of Chemical and Materials Engineering in September 2021. Previously, she finished her bachelor’s degree in Chemical Engineering at Mindanao State University-Iligan Institute of technology, Philippines. Feeling the need to widen her horizons and further her training, she decided to study in Europe, known to be one of the centers of innovation. Her desire for combining engineering and doing something for the planet had led her to pursue a doctorate study about CO2 capture and valorization in October 2021, under the supervision of Professor Patricia Luis Alconero. She is currently developing an integrated system for CO2 capture and valorization, mainly focusing on the design of biocatalytic membrane contactors.

Mar Garcia Alvarez
was graduated as mechanical engineer at the National Polytechnic Institute (Mexico). She worked for two years at the oil and gas industry where she became aware of the environmental effects of activities based on the use of fossil fuel. Then she decided to continue her career in an environmental subject and she was awarded with a scholarship from the National Council of Science and Technology of Mexico (CONACYT) to study a Master degree in Environmental Sciences and Management at the Université catholique de Louvain (Belgium). During her master program she gain interest towards specific subjects such as climate change, environmental pollution and remediation solutions. Therefore, she decided to start her doctoral studies under the supervision of Prof. Patricia Luis at UCLouvain. The overall objective of the PhD is the capture of CO2 from flue gases using membrane technology and bio-enzymes as catalysts by mimicking nature to convert CO2 into valuable chemicals.

Vercus Lumami Kapepula
In 2005, graduated in organic chemistry at the University of Kisangani and since 2007, I was hired as a researcher at the Department of Hydrochemistry of the Hydrobiology Research Center in Uvira / R.D.Congo.
M.Sc Environmental Diploma obtained in 2014 at the University of Burundi / Bujumbura, during which I developed a comparative study of the energy recovery of fermentable waste in pyrolysis and gasification through the Predictive model.
In 2017, I started my doctorate in chemistry and environment at the University of Burundi / Bujumbura under the supervision of Professors Bart Van der Bruggen (KULeuven), Patricia Luis Alconero (UCLouvain), Théophile Ndikumana (University of Burundi / Bujumbura) and Dieu-donn Musibono (University of Kinshasa / DRC). The research interest is in the structure and properties of materials and, the innovative membrane synthesis for the separation of heavy metals in wastewater by nanofiltration and reverse osmosis.

Wuhib Zeine Ousman
obtained his bachelor degree in Environmental Health Science from Jimma University, one of the government Universities in Ethiopia. Then, he became academic staff in the same university. After two years, he got the Netherlands Universities Foundation for International Cooperation (NUFFIC) scholarship to study masters degree in Environmental science at UNESCO-IHE Delft Institute for Water Education, The Netherlands. During his master study he got adequate knowledge and skill in the area of water and waste management, climate change and environmental pollution and control. After completing his master’s studies, he returned back to his former employer, Jimma University and he has been working as academic staff in the department of Environmental Health Science and Technology. He teaches different environmental science courses, advising students’ research projects and involved in other extracurricular activities. Besides, he attended different national and international short-term trainings on water, sanitation and waste management. Currently, he is performing his doctoral studies at UCLouvain and Jimma University under the supervision of Prof. Patricia Luis and Prof. Esayas Alemayehu, aiming at the development of new hybrid systems for fluoride remediation from drinking water sources in the rift valley.

Marie-Charlotte Sparenberg
graduated in 2018 in Chemical and Material Science Engineering at UCLouvain (Belgium). She chose the option "Chemical and Environmental Engineering" because she feels really concerned about climate change and wants to actively contribute to the protection of the environment. She is now doing a PhD under the supervision of Prof. Patricia Luis Alconero in the same university. Her research focuses on the development of a new membrane-based system for CO2 capture from flue gases coming from combustion processes. The system mainly involves amino-acids, pressure-driven membranes and membrane contactors and aims at converting CO2 into valuable crystals.

Gilles Van Eygen
Gilles Van Eygen graduated as a chemical engineer at KU Leuven (Belgium) in 2020, with a specific focus on process engineering. He started a joint PhD between UCLouvain and KU Leuven in September 2020, under the supervision of Prof. Patricia Luis Alconero and Prof. Bart Van der Bruggen (KU Leuven). His research focuses on the use of membrane-based affinity separations for industrial chemical applications.
More specifically, polymeric and hydrophobic ceramic membranes will be tested for a variety of membrane extraction applications, in benchmark with liquid-liquid-extraction.

Xiao Xu
completed his master program in Chemical Engineering at Chongqing University (China). During his master program, he aimed to optimize the production process of a factory in order to increase productivity and efficiency and minimize wastewater discharge. The factory’s wastewater discharge could be reduced through process optimization, but organic solvents in the wastewater were not effectively recovered. In order to improve this situation, Xiao proposed pervaporation for solvent recovery. Pervaporation is an advanced liquid separation technology, possessing high selectivity, efficiency, simplicity, flexibility and cost-effectivity. Xiao started his doctoral program in 2019 under the supervision of Prof. Luis, focusing on the preparation of membranes containing MOFs, COFs or other porous materials for pervaporation of organic mixtures.

Senior scientists / postdoctoral researchers

Yusak Hartanto, Dr, Postoctoral researcher
Dr. Yusak Hartanto completed his PhD in Chemical Engineering at the group of bionanotechnology laboratory, University of Adelaide in 2016 with a thesis on the development of thermoresponsive microgels as draw agents for FO desalination process. He then worked at KU Leuven as a postdoc in membrane technology group between 2018 and 2020 on forward osmosis and organic solvent nanofiltration projects. On March 2020, he joined Prof. Patricia Luis group as a postdoc researcher to work on biocatalytic membranes for CO2 capture.