Dr. Patricia Taboada-Serrano received her B.S. in Chemical Engineering from the Universidad Mayor de San Andrés (Bolivia), her M.S. from the Universidad Simón Bolivar (Venezuela) and her Ph.D. from the Georgia Institute of Technology. She began her research on interfacial and colloidal phenomena in separation and energy systems during her PhD studies at the Georgia Institute of Technology where she used molecular-scale experimental and modeling techniques to identify the assumptions responsible for the failing of classical colloids theory to depict real systems and to prove the occurrence of electrolyte-mediated like-charge attractions in colloidal systems. She obtained her PhD in December 2005. In January 2006 she joined the Environmental Sciences and the Nuclear Sciences Divisions at Oak Ridge National Laboratory as a post-doctoral researcher where she expanded her research interests towards the exploitation and utilization of gas hydrates. From July 2008 to December 2010, Patricia was an Adjunct Professor at the Universidad Católica Boliviana and Projects Manager for the Alalay Foundation and UNICEF, in her native country Bolivia. In August 2011, Patricia joined RIT as an assistant professor in the Chemical and Biomedical Engineering Department. She has taught a wide array of engineering courses at the undergraduate and graduate level.
The findings of Patricia’s research efforts have been presented in numerous international conferences and published in numerous journals. Her recognitions include a U.S. Department of State Fulbright Fellowship from 2001 to 2003. Patricia serves as reviewer for several scientific journals. She also serves in two Committees for the promotion of the participation of women in science, engineering and medicine: (1) the Inter American Network of Academies of Science (IANAS) Women for Science Working Group, and (2) the Committee for Women in Science, Engineering and Medicine (CWSEM) of the U.S. National Academies (NAS) and the National Research Council (NRC).
Patricia’s research interests are in the area of colloids and surface science, specifically within the challenges encountered in water resources management and conservation, the water-energy nexus and the water and carbon cycles. Her current research projects include the study of the physicochemical processes governing the behavior of charged species in aquatic environments, the design and development of novel water treatment and purification methods, and gas hydrates for water treatment, gas production and carbon sequestration. Research efforts involve combining analytical tools and modeling approaches at different scales, from the molecular to the macro scale, with the ultimate goal of designing pollution mitigation strategies and intensified treatment processes, and understanding environmental impacts of human activity.