Sponsored by The Canadian Journal of Chemical Engineering

The Best Graduate Student Paper Award is presented for outstanding published work by a graduate student. 

View  the Terms of Reference and list of Past Winners

The 2023 winners of the Best Graduate Student Paper Award are:

Nicholas Stiles Wilkins and Kasturi Nagesh Pai

For the paper “Optimization of pressure-vacuum swing adsorption processes for nitrogen rejection from natural gas streams using a nitrogen selective metal organic framework,” Can. J. Chem. Eng. 2022, 100(9), 2374 by Nicholas Stiles Wilkins, Kasturi Nagesh Pai, Arvind Rajendran.

Nicholas Stiles Wilkins
University of Alberta
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Nicholas Wilkins is currently working in the R&D team at Svante Inc. (Burnaby, BC) as an Adsorption Process Development Engineer. He received his PhD (Chemical Engineering) in 2022 at the University of Alberta under the supervision of Dr. Arvind Rajendran and Dr. Steven M. Kuznicki. His dissertation focused on gas-phase adsorptive separations, primarily on developments to dynamic column breakthrough methodology. In 2017, he also received a MSc (Chemical Engineering) at the University of Alberta under the supervision of Dr. Arvind Rajendran. In 2015, he received his BS in Chemical and Biochemical Engineering, with a minor in Computational & Applied Mathematics, at the Colorado School of Mines (Golden, CO). Nicholas is an active member of the International Adsorption Society, where he contributes to the society’s education committee, primarily by organizing webinars, student conferences, and tutorial papers. His research interests include: gas & vapor phase competitive adsorption equilibrium, gas diffusion in nanoporous materials, pressure/temperature swing adsorption process design & optimization, and adsorptive carbon capture.

Kasturi Nagesh Pai
University of Alberta

Kasturi Nagesh Pai is a chemical engineer specializing in adsorption-based separation processes and the utilization of machine learning and AI in chemical engineering design. Nagesh is currently working at Svante Inc in Burnaby, Canada, where he is focused on developing process modelling tools for adsorbent process design. He recently obtained a Ph.D. in Chemical Engineering from the University of Alberta, under the guidance of Dr. Arvind Rajendran and Dr. Vinay Prasad. During his doctoral studies, he was instrumental in developing a unified machine learning-based design framework for adsorption separation modelling. His research involved conducting AI-based modelling, computational screening, and experimental demonstrations of adsorption processes for CO2 capture and industrial decarbonization. In addition to his Ph.D., Kasturi also holds a Master of Science in Chemical Engineering from the University of Alberta and a Bachelor of Science in Chemical Engineering from RV College of Engineering in India. He has also worked as a Department Simulator Teaching Assistant for the Chemical Engineering Department at the University of Alberta. Prior to pursuing his graduate studies, Nagesh worked as a Process Engineer at Reliance Industries Limited in Gujarat, India. During his tenure, he played a key role in the commissioning and start-up of an air-separation plant and a purified terephthalic acid plant.

Past Winners


Tiffany Dang and Breanna Borys

University of Calgary
Society: CSChE

Ali Shayesteh Zeraati, MCIC

University of Calgary
Society: CSChE

Mohamed M. Khattab

Ryerson University
Society: CSChE

Khushaal Popli

University of Alberta
Society: CSChE

Michaela K. McGurn

Weber Manufacturing Technolgies
Society: CSChE

Chaimongkol Saengow

Queen’s University
Society: CSChE

Aida Sharif Rohani

University of Ottawa
Society: CSChE

Ali Sarvi

ROSEN Canada
Society: CSChE

Ali Shekari

École Polytechnique de Montréal
Society: CSChE

Mohammed Alaqqad

University of British Columbia
Society: CSChE