Desiree Louise Plata

Desiree Louise Plata

Adjunct Assistant Professor in the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering

Appointments and Affiliations

  • Adjunct Assistant Professor in the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering

Contact Information

  • Office Location: Box 90287, 127B Hudson Hall, Durham, NC 27708
  • Office Phone: (919) 660-5209
  • Email Address:


  • Ph.D. Massachusetts Institute of Technology, 2009

Research Interests

The focus of my work is on improving the development of novel chemicals and engineered systems to include environmental objectives, along with traditional performance and cost metrics. In particular, I seek to (1) predict and mitigate environmental damage through physiochemical understanding of material reactivity, prognostic fate models, and geochemical analyses, and (2) design benign syntheses via mechanistic understanding of chemical reactions used in industrial processes. Currently, I am excited about carbon-based nanomaterials and energy harvesting technologies.

Courses Taught

  • CEE 691: Independent Study: Advanced Topics in Civil and Environmental Engineering
  • CEE 890: Special Readings in Civil and Environmental Engineering

Representative Publications

  • O’Connor, MP; Zimmerman, JB; Anastas, PT; Plata, DL, A Strategy for Material Supply Chain Sustainability: Enabling a Circular Economy in the Electronics Industry through Green Engineering, ACS Sustainable Chemistry and Engineering, vol 4 no. 11 (2016), pp. 5879-5888 [10.1021/acssuschemeng.6b01954] [abs].
  • Hoelzer, K; Sumner, AJ; Karatum, O; Nelson, RK; Drollette, BD; O'Connor, MP; D'Ambro, EL; Getzinger, GJ; Ferguson, PL; Reddy, CM; Elsner, M; Plata, DL, Indications of Transformation Products from Hydraulic Fracturing Additives in Shale-Gas Wastewater., Environmental Science & Technology, vol 50 no. 15 (2016), pp. 8036-8048 [10.1021/acs.est.6b00430] [abs].
  • Liggio, J; Li, S-M; Hayden, K; Taha, YM; Stroud, C; Darlington, A; Drollette, BD; Gordon, M; Lee, P; Liu, P; Leithead, A; Moussa, SG; Wang, D; O'Brien, J; Mittermeier, RL; Brook, JR; Lu, G; Staebler, RM; Han, Y; Tokarek, TW; Osthoff, HD; Makar, PA; Zhang, J; Plata, DL; Gentner, DR, Oil sands operations as a large source of secondary organic aerosols., Nature, vol 534 no. 7605 (2016), pp. 91-94 [10.1038/nature17646] [abs].
  • Petersen, EJ; Flores-Cervantes, DX; Bucheli, TD; Elliott, LCC; Fagan, JA; Gogos, A; Hanna, S; Kägi, R; Mansfield, E; Bustos, ARM; Plata, DL; Reipa, V; Westerhoff, P; Winchester, MR, Quantification of Carbon Nanotubes in Environmental Matrices: Current Capabilities, Case Studies, and Future Prospects, Environmental Science & Technology, vol 50 no. 9 (2016), pp. 4587-4605 [10.1021/acs.est.5b05647] [abs].
  • Karatum, O; Steiner, SA; Griffin, JS; Shi, W; Plata, DL, Flexible, Mechanically Durable Aerogel Composites for Oil Capture and Recovery., ACS Applied Materials and Interfaces, vol 8 no. 1 (2016), pp. 215-224 [10.1021/acsami.5b08439] [abs].