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PSE Best Ph.D. Award 2022

26 December, 2022

By Taruna Rapaka

KAUST Ph.D. student Tuiana B. Shoinkhorova recently had her research recognized at the PSE Best Ph.D. Award Ceremony on 8th December 2022, an event annually organized by PSE to celebrate excellence in the division.

The award is intended to encourage and recognize the outstanding Ph.D. thesis in the division. The basis for this award is the overall evaluation of the dissertation work, from document to defense to evaluation by external peer reviewers, followed by internal voting by the division to decide on the best Ph.D. thesis. 

This year eight students were nominated for the PSE Best Thesis Award: Fangwang Ming from Prof. Husam N. Alshareef's Functional Nanomaterials & Devices lab, Reem Alghamdi, and Nedah Alkattan from Prof. Nikos Hadjichristidis' Polymer Synthesis lab, Abdullah Alsalloum from Prof. Osman Bakr's Functional Nanomaterials lab, Naila M. Raboudi from Prof. Abdulkader M. Afifi's Arabian Plate Geology Group, Mohnnad Hussin Alabsi from Prof. Kuo-Wei Huang's  lab, Mickael Rodrigues Da Silva from Prof. Hong Inn's Computational Reacting Flow lab and Tuiana B. Shoinkhorova from Prof. Jorge Gascon's  Advanced Catalytic Materials lab.

The awardee - Tuiana Shoinkhorova - obtained her Ph.D. degree under the supervision of Professor Jorge Gascon at the Advanced Catalytic Materials lab. Subsequently, she joined the KAUST Catalysis center as a post-doctoral fellow. At the beginning of 2023, Tuiana will start her new research career as a senior research specialist at Dow Chemicals, in the Netherlands.

Tuiana's research focuses on synthesis and functionalization, zeolites, materials chemistry, crude oil, and heterogeneous catalysis; her thesis entitled "Formulation of Zeolite-based Catalysts for Hydrocarbon Processing" is a result of her research at the Advanced Catalytic Materials lab.

The primary outcome of my Ph.D. is developed thinking

"To be nominated for the PSE Best Thesis award is an honor; I acknowledge KAUST for the unique atmosphere where we can grow very fast in a scientific way and acknowledge this international environment because this international corporation and experience are quite important nowadays," said Tuiana after being called on the stage.

"About my Ph.D. thesis (Editor's note: Formulation of Zeolite-based Catalysts for Hydrocarbon Processing," for crude to a chemical process to methanol hydrocarbons) in a nutshell, we demonstrated that the direct transformation of crude oil to chemicals like olefins and aromatics as the primary precursor of plastics is possible in one step process when the correct reactor configuration and catalyst formulation are chosen."

"The main outcome of my Ph.D. work is a developed way of thinking and mindset, as it is now not so scary to discover new things. All these things wouldn't have been possible without my advisor", Tuiana added. "Thanks a lot to KAUST for these inspiring four years."

Tuiana, congratulations on your well-deserved achievement! The PSE Division wishes you many more successes in the future.