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Defne Apul, PhD, PE
The University of Toledo
Department of Civil Engineering
Google Scholar Profile
Defne Apul CV.pdf
Professor Apul received her MS from Michigan Technological University and her PhD from University of New Hampshire. She joined the University of Toledo in 2004. Professor Apul developed and teaches undergraduate level Sustainability Engineering and graduate level Life Cycle Engineering courses. Her other current offerings include Freshmen Orientation for Civil Engineers, Professional Development for Civil Engineers, and Fluid Mechanics for Civil Engineers. Her research spanned a wide variety of environmental topics from recycled material use in road construction to surface water quality, geochemical modeling, and risk assessment. Her current research is on sustainable design and analysis of engineered systems with recent projects focusing on water, energy, and food sustainability. Professor Apul is also interested in engineering education research. Please feel free to contact professor Apul if you would like to find out more about our activities.
Please read my
from graduate students if you are planning on joining our team. Here are also two files with some summary info and frequently asked questions regarding doing a PhD in our department.
Ilke Celik, PhD Student
I graduated from the department of Chemical Engineering from Middle East Technical University (METU) in 2011. After graduation, I worked for the Association of Cement Manufacturing of Turkey as a construction material certification expert. At the end of the one year field experience, I decided to quit job and pursue further education in the environmental field. I obtained an MS in environmental engineering from METU in 2014. During my master degree, I worked in Air Quality and Anaerobic Digestion Labs as a research assistant.
I joined Dr. Apul’s team in January, 2015. My research area is life cycle assessment of third generation PV cells. This project is funded by NSF, Sustainable Energy Pathway Program and we are collaborating with the Wright Center for Photovoltaics Innovation and Commercialization. (
. I believe Toledo has a perfect academic environment for students to get engaged in research and personal development.
Henry Rodriguez, MS Student
I am currently a part time student in the Master of Science in Civil Engineering program at the University of Toledo. I began my studies in Fall 2014. I joined the Sustainability Engineering Lab in January 2015. My Masters’ thesis work relates to LCAs of rainwater harvesting systems, primarily focused on the environmental impacts associated with rainwater harvesting storage tank sizing.
I received my Bachelor of Science in Civil Engineering from Carnegie Mellon University in May 2011. I worked for a soils testing lab for a short period of time, before my current position of Stormwater Technician for the City of Lima Stormwater Utility, where I am responsible for the design and inspection of stormwater infrastructure projects and the enforcement of stormwater regulations. I am a certified E.I.T., CPESC, and CESSWI.
Sonia Barakoti, MS Student
I joined University of Toledo in the spring of 2016. At UT, I joined Dr. Apul’s team and my research is focused on water infrastructure sustainability. I will be involved in analyzing the sustainability of infrastructures by the use of concept of resilience and diversity of infrastructures. I believe UT has a pleasant university ambience and excellent facilities for research.
I received my BS in civil engineering from Pulchowk Campus, Tribhuvan University (TU), Nepal in 2013. I started my career with a co-op at a hydropower company for one year in Nepal. After that I worked in an NGO as well as a consultancy. During that phase, I sharpened my knowledge to solve the practical based problems through experience of working with infrastructure and water resource specialists. I worked as a volunteer engineer with Nepal Engineers’ Association and also with National Development Volunteer Services under Nepal Government for the infrastructural damage assessment in affected areas.This experience provided me some valuable professional skills in civil engineering including leadership quality.
Deniz Ece Uzunogullari, MS Student
I graduated from Middle East Technical University in 2014 with having Environmental Engineering degree. I worked for 2 years following my graduation. I gained experience on designing water, wastewater and stormwater systems for small and mid scale settlements. I started my master degree in fall 2016 in the Civil Engineering Department at the University of Toledo. Furthermore, I am a part of sustainability lab and working with Dr. Apul.
Brooke Mason, BS Student
have been a part of the Sustainability Engineering Lab at the University of Toledo since May 2015. I am currently working on an undergraduate research project under the supervision of Dr. Defne Apul. My research entails completing several life cycle assessments of different single walled carbon nanotube photovoltaic cell configurations. This project is funded by the National Science Foundation's Sustainable Energy Pathway Program in collaboration with the
Wright Center for Photovoltaics Innovation and Commercialization
I received a Bachelor of Arts degree in Environmental Policy and Analysis from Bowling Green State University in May 2008. I served as UT’s sustainability specialist for three years, working to cultivate a culture of sustainability on campus. I left that position in May 2015 to finish my Bachelor of Science degree in Environmental Engineering with an intended graduation date of December 2016. I hope to continue with my masters at UT upon graduation and to continue research in sustainability engineering.
Elizabeth McIlwee, BS Student
Elizabeth McIlwee is a third year Civil Engineering undergraduate student originally from Lakewood, Ohio. She is a member of the Roy and Marcia Armes Engineering Leadership Institute, American Society of Civil Engineers, and serves as Treasurer for the Society of Women Engineers and Vice President of Facility Operations for Alpha Chi Omega Fraternity. She is heavily involved in community service on and off of campus and is the district Lieutenant Governor for Collegiate Kiwanis International. As well as campus activities, she works for the Office of Residence Life as a Resident Adviser. Elizabeth is extremely passionate about sustainability and environmental engineering. Two of her co-ops have been focused on environmental water engineering. She is working on research with Dr. Apul and her graduate student Ilke Celik to understand metal toxicities of photovaltaic cells. Elizabeth hopes to continue her pursuits in sustainability engineering in the upcoming years.
Emily Briese, BS Student
I am currently a first-year environmental engineer with a focus on renewable energy production, consumption, and sustainability. Additionally, I believe this field has the capacity to assist in the growth of food, both urban and rurally. I look forward to the incorporation of both of these components in my upcoming work on Photovoltaics and the water and solar energy nexus.
Kayla Piezer, BS Student
I am a second-year undergraduate student at the University of Toledo. I am working towards my Bachelor of Science degree in both Environmental Engineering and Chemical Engineering and a minor in the Spanish language. I joined Dr. Apul’s research team in January of 2017. I will be focusing on Ecological Network Analysis (ENA) as a tool to measure the environmental benefits of agriculture in regards to urban and conventional systems. I am excited to apply mathematical models to better understand the relationships between different sectors of food production
Doctor of Philosophy Level
1. Maria Diaz, Ph.D., A Modeling Approach towards Understanding Solid-Solution Interactions of Metals in Biosolids (Degree earned: 5/2010)
2. Raja Chowdhury, Ph.D., Life cycle analysis of road construction materials. (Degree earned: 8/2009)
3. Jill Shalabi, Ph.D., Agent based modeling of wetland processes. (2011-2012)
4. Chirjiv Anand, Ph.D., Life Cycle Analysis of Decentralized Sanitation Technologies. (Degree earned: 12/2013)
5. Ruqun (Susie) Wu, Ph.D. Social LCA of PV systems (2013-2014)
6. Jay Devkota, PhD, Life Cycle Assessment of Rainwater Harvesting Systems at Building and Neighborhood Scales and for Various Climatic Regions of the U.S. (Degree earned:12/2015)
Master of Science Level
1. Eugene Luther Miller, MS, A mass balance approach for characterizing the source of metals in roadway runoff. (Degree Earned: 12/2005)
2. Vivek Jain, MS, Mass flux relations for metals in road environments. (Degree Earned: 3/2008)
3. Faisal Fahd, MS, Risk assessment of steel slag use in road construction (Degree Earned: 12/2008)
4. Chirjiv Anand, MS, Decision making in byproduct reuse scenarios (Degree Earned: 12/2008)
5. Pratibha Sapkota, MS, Modeling diffusion using an agent based approach (Degree Earned: 4/2010)
6. Andrew Wright, MS, A comparative sustainability analysis of vegetated swales, retention ponds, and detention ponds (Degree earned: 4/2011)
7. Hannah West, MS, Life cycle assessment of rainwater use for irrigation and toilet flushing (Degree earned: 4/2011)
8. Joseph Blake Quinton, MS, Inverse energy modeling of Toledo firestations (Degree earned: 4/2012)
9. Justin Batt, MS, Net zero water in buildings (Degree earned: 5/2014)
9. Thelma B. Rodriguez-Winter, MS, Environmental and economic assessment of urban water systems (Degree earned: 4/2014)
10. Robert Phillips, MS, Incorporating Urban Stormwater Pollution from Land Occupation into Life Cycle Impact Assessment (Degree earned: 12/2015)
1. Anne Francis, Laboratory experiments and computer modeling of leaching from contaminated sediments, Summer 2005, Spring 2006.
2. Valerie Wollet, Summer 2005, Laboratory technician
3. Tim Fry, Life cycle analysis of recycled pavement, Spring 2006, Summer 2006
4. Rachel Rudolph, Multi-criteria decision analysis for a life cycle assessment model, Spring 2006, Summer 2006.
5. Tim Smith, Development of a distance learning module on water engineering for Toledo Public Schools, Summer 2007.
6. Joe Sapp, Development of a distance learning module on water engineering for Toledo Public Schools, Summer 2007.
7. Eddy Saab, Teaching introduction to water engineering to junior high students using distance learning, Fall 2007.
8. Hannah West, Integrated water management system design for Collier addition building on Health Sciences campus of UT, Fall 2008, Summer 2009, Fall 2009.
9. Lee Robinson, Integrated water management system design for Collier addition building on Health Sciences campus of UT, Fall 2008.
10. Neale Mahon (Department of Environmental Sciences), Case analysis of composting toilets, Summer 2009.
11. James Pietryzcki, Variability analysis of EEAST, Summer 2011.
12. Yu Liu, Spring/Sumer 2011, Analysis of cities that use rainwater harvesting to flush toilets.
13. Dan Johnson, Spring/Summer 2014, Environmental analysis of tin sulfide thin film cells.
14. David Martin, Fall 2013/Spring 2014, LCA of rainwater harvesting systems.
, Spring 2013-Spring 2014,
LCA of CZTS/Zn3P2
EPBT of PV systems
16. Kelley Davis, LCA of rainwater harvesting systems in different types of buildings, Fall 2014, Spring 2015
17. Kristin Bostleman, Resiliency in water system, Summer 2015
18. Meghan Annesser, Resiliency in food system, Summer 2015
19.Dylan Gasch, Water Infrastructure Sustianability, Fall 2015
20. Elizabeth Osborn, Life cycle assessment of urban agriculture, Summer 2016
21. Jasmine Randle, Social ecosystem services of urban agriculture, Summer 2016
High School Level
Southview High School, Life cycle assessment of Southview High School Operations, Fall 2007, Spring 2008.
Justin won several awards on his life cycle assessment work.
Allison Clausius (Southview High School, 2015 graduate)
Energy and greenhouse gas inventory of Southview and Northview High Schools
, Fall 2012-Spring 2013
Environmental impact comparison of CZTS with other PV technologies, Summer 2013
Allison is currently a sophmore at Sylvania Southview Highschool. In 6th grade she found out about a team at her junior high called, the Energy Team. This team educated others about the benefits of switching home appliances to limit CO2 emissions and to lower energy bills. After participating in this group for 3 years, she moved onto high school and did not have a way to express her "green" side in school. When she became a sophmore, she enrolled herself in Science Research, a class at Southview dedicated to exploring different areas of science and conducting experiments/ analyses. Initially she had not thought about completing a project related to energy conservation, but after exploring different topics she decided that it was the direction she wanted to go. Allison's project with Dr. Apul and Jay Devkota involved doing an energy and greenhouse gas inventory for Sylvania high schools. Allison also completed a research study on environmental comparison of CZTS with other photovoltaic technologies.
Sustainability Engineering Lab participates in the 2014 Borchardt Conference at the University of Michigan supported by the Michigan Section of AWWA and others. Dr. Apul had an oral presentation and Susie, Jay, Robert, and Jenny presented posters of their research at the conference. Nice work team!
Sustainability Engineering Lab Enjoyed the Momo Party in December 2013. Thanks, Jay!
Momo folded by the Sustainability Engineering Lab. Very original!
The correct way to fold momo
Good job team in folding the momo.
I am really proud of these students! They have a broad set of skill sets!
Sustainability Engineering Research Group in 2010 December
Hannah presenting her and Lee's research at Sigma Xi 2008 Conference
Chirjiv Anand, MS Student at the 2008 AWMA conference
Maria, Defne, and the biosolids sample, 2008
I am excited to begin my study here and study this most interesting and interdisplinary topic.
I am a second-year undergraduate student at the University of Toledo. I am working towards my Bachelor of Science degree in both Environmental Engineering and Chemical Engineering and a minor in the Spanish language.
I joined Dr. Apul’s research team in January of 2017. I will be focusing on Ecological Network Analysis (ENA) as a tool to measure the environmental benefits of agriculture in regards to urban and conventional systems. I am excited to apply mathematical models to better understand the relationships between different sectors of food production
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