Lead R&D Manager, Senior Research Scientist
career in science and he’ll tell you about his insatiable curiosity and supportive mentors. But it was something else that kicked his interest level into hyperdrive. “My father used to take me to Star Wars and Star Trek films – I think Star Wars was the one that got a lot of people inspired and fascinated by science,” Abhishek says. Abhishek couldn’t grow up to be a Jedi Knight, but what he calls the “big visions” presented by science fiction left an impression on him. He ultimately made his own real-life story into a science career that’s helping sustain the natural resources here on Earth. He’s motivated to solve significant challenges facing humanity: the long-term availability of energy and water. “My story is energy and water,” he says. “The energy-water nexus intrigued me even before I worked for Dow. I’ve always been fascinated by water, how it fits into sustainability, and how we can use that science in ways that can lead the human race in a better direction. My research in graduate school was about sustainable energy.” Abhishek’s work with Dow has fit well with this fascination. By helping Dow develop ECO technology, he addressed a major challenge in water purification: making the process energy-efficient. ECO does just that, reducing the energy needed for the process by as much as 50 percent. With energy such a costly and valuable resource, the technology can get more water to people in need. Taking Pride in the End Result To Abhishek, the practical value of Dow’s chemistry – how it will ultimately benefit the end user – is just as important as the work itself. It’s a philosophy that has long influenced his approach to science. “Whenever I am thinking about the next chemistry we should be working on, the challenge is understanding how it could be applied to a current market need,” Abhishek says. “If that need isn’t there, then we aren’t doing the right thing.” After all of the research and hard work spent addressing those needs, seeing how the results impact real people is a gratifying experience. One memorable example for Abhishek was seeing a Dow reverse osmosis system used in a friend’s home to purify water. “There was an instant pride that came to me,” Abhishek says. “That level of satisfaction is very hard to get.” Abhishek credits his application-oriented approach to the mentorship of his graduate adviser at Virginia Tech University, the late James E. McGrath. McGrath is considered a father of polymer science.
Chemical Technology Chemical process engineering chemical safety and management reservoir engineering