We always welcome more collaborations.

We are currently working on the following projects with our industry and other academic partners. If you need any information regarding any of these projects, please feel free to contact me directly.

In addition to general applied research that I am engaged with several oil and gas company to better characterize and enhance production by new methods from the Bakken Formation, one of the most important unconventional self-sourced reservoirs, the following summarizes the area of my current fundamental research that I conduct at the department of petroleum engineering to better understand source rocks in particular:


Cells within tissues are constantly subjected to physical forces, which cause them to dynamically adapt their mechanical properties. This process in turn contributes to disease progression, for example increase in stiffness of cancer tumors. Any change in structural properties of a cell can also hinder treatment, and alter cancer risk. Therefore, understanding structural changes that a cell will endure during cancer progression is important to determine the mechanisms that trigger the disease. We are trying to demonstrate mechanobiological variations of a cell through consecutive stages of cancer progression by using quantitative nanomechanical mapping with Atomic Force Microscope (AFM). This methodology enables us to track and diagnose cancer cells, and monitor the effectiveness of the treatment. The long-term goal of this study would be to establish a quantitative and practical diagnostic method using breast and colorectal cancer cells as a model, which can be used clinically to detect cancer in the early stages.


Understanding the nanomechanical evolution of organic matter with respect to maturity: characterizing nanomechanical characteristics of organic matter within organic-rich rocks (shales) is very challenging due to the limitation in the scale of measurements and advanced equipment availability. However, I would like to acquire AFM QNM a common analytical elastic modulus mapping instrument for biological tissues and measure organic matter elastic modulus in-situ. In order to understand how elastic modulus would change with respect to maturity, immature samples should be taken through hydrous pyrolysis or artificial maturation in the lab and then tested for mechanical properties after each stage of maturity. If we incorporate Rock-Eval geochemistry data of the same samples with the other newly developed advanced equipment known as nanoIR (nano Infrared) spectroscopy, a comprehensive understanding of changes in maturity versus alterations in molecular structure due to maturity processes can be obtained (working on this with USGS national center).


Porosity evolution in organic matter with respect to maturity: in order to understand how porosity will be created in organic matter, immature samples should be taken through hydrous pyrolysis and then samples should be examined under the microscope (high-resolution SEM) or TEM to provide us with nanopores that are not visible under regular SEM. In addition, in order to measure submicron pores quantitatively, I would like to take the samples that are gone through different stages of pyrolysis, isolate the kerogen and then measure the porosity with CNMR and Ultra Small Angle Neutron Scattering (USANS) which can reach the smallest pores nonvisible to high resolution microscopes ( working on this with SFU and China Institue of Physics).


Molecular changes in kerogen structure using the Nobel Prize-winning equipment Cryo-EM (STEM) microscopy. First, FTIR methods will be utilized to provide us with functional groups remaining in organic matter with an increase in maturity. Our current research is showing that by an increase in maturity kerogen becomes aromatized and better structured. Aromaticity in organic matter is equivalent to losing N, S, O attachments which are believed to be found in hydrocarbons. I have used CyroEM at Northwestern University to image aromatic rings that stack together in higher maturity samples. I would like to use this equipment and develop a method for molecular imaging of kerogen (with NWU Nuance center and Hitachi)


Raman spectroscopy of organic matter and various minerals: is one of the methods that can be used to provide us with molecular structure and alterations in many different materials including organic matter. G and D band position is commonly used to be related to organic matter maturity which can reflect its molecular changes. However, Raman response of organic matter includes other minor bands that are rarely studied. I would like to use data analytics and data science methods to extract more meaningful information from minor bands in Raman spectroscopy of kerogen with respect to different maturity levels (Currently working on this with Horiba Scientific).


3D printing and additive manufacturing applications in the petroleum industry and earth sciences: 3DP is one of the emerging technologies which has not been widely acquired in earth sciences. I will use 3DP technology to create samples with known porosity, permeability, and fracture properties to put various rock physics methods to the test by simplifying input parameters that go into the sample. 3DP can assist us to better understand many different rock properties and controlling processes such as geomechanical, petrophysical, geological and geophysical (currently working on this with Iowa State University). 


Although all different type of information that has been collected from organic matter by using a wide range of analytical tools, its molecular structure is still an unknown. In order to get a better understanding of kerogen or organic matter macromolecule, 3D molecular dynamic simulation (MDS) is applied to estimate physical and chemical properties for the amorphous material. We used the huge amount of data from our experimental analysis as constraints for our computational model of kerogen. This task is being done by predicting Raman, mechanical, IR response of the model and comparing it with the spectra/data that has been collected in the lab to develop the most accurate model with least discrepancy between predicted properties and measured ones. This will specifically enable us to overcome the limitation in an experimental laboratory study to estimate desired properties. The main reason for this project is to simulate the rate of gas that is adsorbed by organic matter in the presence or absence of different minerals and pore sizes to have a more efficient CO2 EOR processes, extraction of gas from shale gas or carbon sequestration.

© 2018 by UND Reservoir Dogs team.