Naydu Paola Zambrano Urrutia

PhD Students (PhD)

PhD Student



I graduated as a Chemist and as a Master of Science in Chemistry from the Industrial University of Santander (UIS) in Colombia, in 2015 and 2018, respectively. Since my undergraduate’s studies I have been part of different research groups such as GIQUE and CICAT, where I had the opportunity to develop hands-on experience at the laboratory level, that in turn, has helped me facing and solving challenges in basic and applied research. In particular, for my bachelor’s thesis, I worked with the synthesis of Al2O3-Ru and SiO2-Ru catalysts for the desulfurization of pyrolysis oil from waste tires. This research work provided me with experience in the synthesis of inorganic materials by routes such as, sol-gel, auto-combustion and growing over templates. It also allowed me to learn and use characterization techniques like XRD, XRF, TGA-DSC, SEM and N2 physisorption. The results attained from this work were presented at the XXIV International Materials Research Congress, in Cancun, Mexico, sponsored by a university research grant. For my master’s studies, I did research about the characterization of pet coke and the relationship between its chemical species and physicochemical properties, in order to increase the commercial value of the coke produced by Colombian oil companies. My master studies were sponsored in full by Ecopetrol (largest Colombian petroleum company). The results of this project were accepted for publication in the Energy & Fuels journal and were also presented at the Petrophase conference in 2017. As a result of these publications, my master’s thesis was honored with a meritorious degree award, granted by the university. During the two years of my master’s program, I strengthen my abilities in problem-solving, observation and critical thinking.

In fall of 2020 I joined KAUST as a Ph.D student in Chemical Science, working in the Multiscale Reaction Engineering (MuRe) group under Dr. Pedro Castaño supervision in the “development of a continuum-quantitative analytical workflow for complex reaction mixtures involved in catalytic processes”.

Research Interests

My main research interests lay on characterization of complex mixtures and products, specially asphaltenes, resins, pet-coke and so on using analytical chemistry techniques as FT-ICR MS, NMR, RAMAN, XPS. 

Selected Publications

“Delayed Coker Coke Characterization: Correlation between Process Conditions, Coke Composition, and Morphology” Zambrano, N.P, Duarte, L.J., Poveda-Jaramillo, J.C., Picón, H.J., Martinez-Ortega, F., Niño-Gómez, M.E. Energy Fuels, 2018, 32 (3), pp 2722–2732.


  • B.Sc in Chemistry, Industrial University of Santander (UIS), 2015.
  • M.Sc in Chemistry, Industrial University of Santander (UIS), 2018.

Professional Profile

  • 2016 – 2017: Researcher in Petroleum products characterization, Industrial University of Santander, sponsored by ECOPETROL, PTG-ICP, Piedecuesta, Colombia.
  • 2018-2019: Junior researcher (Oil & Fuels), Grupo GCA S.A.S, Bucaramanga, Colombia.
  • 2019-2020: Co-researcher (Oil & Gas), joint project 29 between NMR Laboratory (UIS) and Colombian Institute of Petroleum (ICP), Industrial University of Santander, Piedecuesta, Colombia.
  • 2020: Profesional I, Petroleomics Laboratory, Colombian Institute of Petroleum (ICP), ECOPETROL, Piedecuesta, Colombia.


Meritorious thesis, Industrial University of Santander, 2018.

KAUST Affiliations

  • KAUST Catalysis Center (KCC)
  • Chemical Science program (ChemS)
  • Division of Physical Science and Engineering (PSE)

Research Interests Keywords

Crude to chemicals Waste Upgrading