Snell Professor of Engineering

Associate Dean for Research, College of Engineering

Alshawabkeh Hosts Local High School Students through Young Scholars Program

L to R: Mentor Dr. Ljiljana Rajic, Young Scholar Ian McGregor, and Young Scholar Amrita Sridhar

L to R: Mentor Dr. Ljiljana Rajic, Young Scholar Ian McGregor, and Young Scholar Amrita Sridhar

This summer, PROTECT Principal Investigator and co-Director Akram Alshawabkeh hosted two local high school seniors as part of the Young Scholars Program (YSP) organized by Northeastern University’s Center for STEM Education.  The program was created to provide opportunities for hands-on research to high school juniors and seniors in the Boston area. Alshawabkeh’s hosted scholars, Amrita Sridhar of Boston University Academy and Ian McGregor of Boston College High School, were able to engage in research related to groundwater remediation over the course of the month-long summer program. Each scholar shared some information about themselves as well as their thoughts on the program upon completion.

Amrita Sridhar is a senior with hopes of pursuing a degree in chemical engineering and/or environmental engineering in college. She says that applying for YSP was something that she hoped would allow her to “participate in scientific research and gain exposure to different scientific career paths.” Amrita speaks highly of her experience in the program, stating that interning in Dr. Alshawabkeh’s lab under the guidance of Dr. Rajic was “phenomenal.”  She also says that the experience allowed her to “learn a tremendous amount about novel approaches to groundwater remediation, the research process, and working collaboratively in a lab.”

Ian McGregor is a senior and member of the rowing team, Model United Nations, and Bipartisanship Club. Ian says that he has “always been interested in science and engineering,” but, until taking part in YSP, was never afforded the opportunity to work in a laboratory. Prior to this summer, Ian was considering pursing a degree in the STEM field in college, but he wanted to discover if he would enjoy the research process. Ian shared that learning was definitely something he was able to accomplish, stating that “During my summer at Northeastern as part of the PROTECT Center, I met friendly and supportive mentors, learned about new fields of research, and experienced what it is like to do real research.” Ian further expressed the impact working with the PROTECT Center has had on him by stating “I am very grateful to have participated in the program because I gained invaluable new skills, and I am now considering pursuing engineering in college.”

Prof. Alshawabkeh Welcomes NSF REU Student

Andre GonzagaThis summer, Boston University undergraduate Andre Gonzaga will be joining Professor Alshawabkeh’s lab. Andre is part of the NSF’s Research Experiences for Undergraduates program, which offers competitive placement in research labs around the country. Below, Andre shares his hopes for the summer program.

My name is Andre Gonzaga. I am a rising sophomore at Boston University studying Biomedical Engineering with a concentration in Nanotechnology. I was born in a small town in Minas Gerais, Brazil, and moved to the United States when I was 12 years old. It was not until mid-way through high school that I developed a deep interest for engineering. It is certainly a challenging path, but a fulfilling one as well. The ability to help others through technological advances is the ideal marriage between a meaningful and a rewarding line of work, which is what I have always envisioned for my life.

The chance to engage in purposeful research in Prof. Alshawabkeh’s lab as part of the REU program at Northeastern University is invaluable. It is an awesome opportunity to learn as well as to contribute to a very important project. I will be helping Shirin Hojabri with reaction modeling of electrochemical remediation. Mathematical models are vital to any research since they provide knowledge on what will happen before actual experiments take place. In this case, they are key to describing and understanding the groundwater treatment process.

I hope by the end of my experience here this summer I will have a clear insight into how research works, which will be crucial in deciding what career path I want to pursue in the future. But most importantly, I hope that my work in the PROTECT Center is valuable to the team and can eventually be used to help people in parts of the world where contaminated water is an unfortunate reality.

Welcome, Andre!

PROTECT Project 5 presents at UMass Amherst, MA

PROTECT Project 5  Associate Research Scientist Lily Rajic and trainee Shirin Hojabri presented their work at the 30th Annual International Conference on Soils, Sediments, Water, and Energy October 19-22, 2015, in Amherst, Massachusetts. This is a national conference that attracts 600-800 attendees, which includes a wide variety of representation from state and federal agencies, military, a number of industries including railroad, petroleum, transportation, utilities, the environmental engineering and consulting community and academia.

ShirinHojabri presented her work on numerical modeling of electrochemical processes, specifically predicting pH changes during  electrochemical  treatment of contaminated groundwater with electrode polarity reversal. Polarity reversal is used to both improve the removal of contaminants from groundwater and enhance the electrodes performance.









LilyRajic gave a talk about trichiloethylene removal from simulated groundwater by utilization of bipolar electrodes mode; a cost-effective electrochemical technology that is easy to implement and maintain.

Position Opening in the PROTECT Center – Postdoctoral Research Associate

Experienced research scientist or engineer with a focus on environmental health, specifically one or more of the following: health informatics; geospatial informatics and environmental/hydrology modeling. This individual will work closely with scientists from different disciplines across multiple institutions to analyze large, complex environmental/biological datasets.

For more information follow this link:

Want to get involved with NIH-funded research looking at the impact of environmental contamination on human health?

The PROTECT Center is looking for research assistants from now until the end of September to assist with research tasks (e.g. developing electrochemical remediation technologies, preparing and editing scientific manuscripts).  Pay rate of $15/hour (note, funding available is specifically to support women undergraduates).

Interested students should send an email with resume and/or other background credentials to Ljiljana Rajic, PROTECT Associate Research Scientist,

PROTECT Project 5 Trainees Present at SWIM 2015


From left to right: Roya Nazari, Noushin Fallahpour, Shirin Hojabri and Ljiljana Rajic

On May 20th 2015, PROTECT trainees Shirin Hojabri, Roya Nazari, Noushin Fallahpour and Dr. Ljiljana Rajic attended the Symposium on Water Innovation in Massachusetts (SWIM), held at Northeastern University. SWIM, organized by the New England Water Innovation Network (NEWIN) and Northeastern University, brought together international water experts and leaders to learn about advances in water technology and discuss advances expected in the coming years. Trainees presented and discussed the innovative groundwater remediation technology developed by Project 5.

More news about PROTECT at SWIM here.

Rajic at MIT Water Night

WP_20150305_16_39_20_ProOn Thursday, March 5th, Associate Research Scientist Lily Rajic presented recent accomplishments on groundwater contamination and solar powered remediation at MIT Water Night. MIT Water Night is a flagship research showcase organized by MIT water club where scientists and research groups present their latest achievements and research on water-related fields. More than 50 participants from MIT, Tufts and Northeastern attended the event to discuss their research and establish new collaborations in a relaxed and friendly atmosphere.