Chemistry 139-74
Pasadena, CA  91125
(626) 585-0917 (fax)


California Institute of Technology, Pasadena, CA

January 2002 - Present

Director, Software Architecture and Design

My new role includes significant managerial responsibilities as a supervisor for the software development efforts of a 70-person research group.  Key projects include

n     VLS:  Virtual Ligand Screening.  A multi-processor, networked application for high speed screening of binding affinities between proteins and ligand targets.  The application is aimed at the proteiomic community.  My role is overall design as well as implementation of a database component.

n     MPSim:  a Massively Parallel Molecular Dynamics Simulation Package.  Currently redesigning a 10-year-old code to move from a shared memory regime to a distributed memory environment.  The code base is 100K+ lines of code, involving a large refactoring effort.

n     Icarus:  An Atomistic Structure, Visualization, and Integration tool.  Supervise development and expansion.

June 2000 - Jan 2002

Associate Scientist

In addition to previous roles, new projects include

n     The Materials Properties Database.  Designed and implemented database structure and middleware to store atomistic data at all scales of simulation including QM, MD, and mesoscale simulation.

June 1999 - June 2000

Assistant Scientist

n     DOE Basin Model Project.  A project designed to produce a 2-dimensional public domain basin model on the Windows NT platform.  Current basin models are difficult to use, requiring a great deal of in-house expertise that keeps smaller oil companies from benefiting from the software.  The DOE basin project is designed to produce a public domain model (low start-up costs) that is user friendly, and can sit on the desktop of geochemists and exploration geologists.  My role in the project is to design and implement a set of routines that improves the handling of multiphase fluid behavior.  Current methods over-simplify the composition of hydrocarbon fluids, leading to inaccurate predictions of fluid behavior.  The routines developed here will allow geochemists to predict the effects that different maturation and migration scenarios might have on bulk oil properties (such as GOR and viscosity) as well as on the concentration of geochemically-important molecules, such as biomarkers.

Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute, Woods Hole, MA

Jan 1998 - June 1999

Visiting Scientist

Development of a New Chemically-Based Maturation model

Current maturation models emphasize the physical characteristics of pyrolysis products at surface conditions.  Such physical characterization is not appropriate for predicting the phase behavior of hydrocarbons within a basin model, especially in a multi-phase environment.  Products tend to mix, and the chemical characteristics of the various fractions blend in non-linear ways.  The project focuses on determining a new scheme of pseudocomponents that are stable with respect to both maturation and phase interactions by a combination of theoretical modeling and hydrous pyrolysis experiments.

GRI Gulf of Mexico Transect

A comprehensive study of a 120 km (E-W) by 220 km (N-S) portion of the offshore Louisiana Gulf Coast.  The project investigates the fundamental physical (salt canopy, faulting, buoyancy) and chemical (capillary sealing, phase fractionation, alteration) processes that control fluid movements and compositions in a portion of an active sedimentary basin large enough to represent all important operative processes, and to test specific predictions of a new capillary sealing hypothesis.  My role involves determining the amount of phase fractionation that fluids from each of 4 study areas in the transect (EI 330, SMI 9, the Joliette field and  Tiger Shoal) have experienced, and to determine the relationship between fractionation and overpressure.

Untapped Resources

The study uses theoretical modeling, experimentation, and field calibration to improve estimates of the occurrence, volume and character of hydrocarbons reservoired in lateral, deep and/or shallow prospects surrounding current pay zones within an oil field.

Aug 1997-Jan 1998

University of Newcastle-upon-TyneNewcastle-upon-Tyne, UK

Visiting Scientist.  Addressed chemical changes in specific biomarker ratios due to fractionation phenomena.  Focused on Gas-phase fractionation of phenols and carbozoles.
Aug 1988-June 1991

O’Connell and Piper Associates, Chicago, Illinois

Head of Research

In charge of Research Activities for an options research and brokerage firm. 

n     Research and write bi-weekly research letters analyzing historical market volatility relationships.

n     Manage production of quarterly reports focusing on specific market segments.

n     Coordinate development of computer-based trading simulation seminar

n     Support sales force of Continental Bank/ First Options of Chicago by developing individually-tailored research work.

n     Authored study on comparative yields of cash and synthetic bond portfolios:  developed methodology to evaluate synthetic bond yields.

n     Developed volatility forecasting methodology which improved accuracy by 25%.


Statistical and Economic Analysis of listed futures, options, stock and stock index markets.

n     Forcast volatility for all financial market products with listed options.

n     Research extensive quarterly research reports on market volatility



Ph.D. in Geology (Phase Behavior) with minor work in Civil Engineering  (Contaminant Transport) and Economics (Microeconomics).

Dissertation:  Phase Fractionation in Sedimentary Basins.  Emphasis placed on developing a numeric model based on object-oriented code that can be easily adapted to different projects. The thesis is in three parts:

n     Maturation—an examination of maturation modeling with emphasis on developing a index of maturation that is not affected by fluid phase fractonation.

n     Phase Behavior in Natural Systems—an examination of natural processes of phase separation focusing on closed system fractionation.

n     Migration Alteration—development of a computer-based model to predict the amount and depth of fractionation that occurs in both closed and open systems.

Dynamic Enhanced Recovery Technologies

A DOE sponsored grant to the GBRN, which explores Eugene Island Block 330, Gulf Coast USA as a complete petroleum-migration system. Responsible for the Organic Alteration sections of the grant.

n      Developed maturation models (based on algorithms by Burnham, et al., and by Hunt and Cathles) that predict the evolution of hydrocarbon species from kerogen.

n      Added the ability to predict overpressured regions from hydrocarbon maturation to the basin model.

n      Developed method and algorithms to migrate the FORTRAN-based Akcess.Basin code to an object-oriented paradigm

Gas Transport of Oil: Its Impact on Sealing And The Development Of Secondary Porosity

A GRI project focusing on the formation and evolution of overpressured regions caused by gas capillary seals. Responsible for identifying (p, t, composition) conditions under which a separate gas phase can develop and form a gas capillary seal.

Cooperative Research Agreement for Natural Gas and CO2 Generation and Migration in Sedimentary Basins.

A project between Chevron Exploration and Production Company and Cornell University that concentrates on identifying the likely CO2 content, and hence the economic potential, of gas and condensate reservoirs in the China Sea. My responsibilities include predicting the multi-phase behavior of CO2-rich hydrocarbon mixtures in regional aqueous regimes.

Oct 1984 - June 1988


Sc. B. in Mathematics, with minor concentration in Economics and Physics.

Liberal Arts Education with additional course work in Computer Science, the Humanities and Social Sciences.  GPA in Major:  3.6 out of 4.0. 

National Merit Scholar, Luce Foundation Semi-finalist, Illinois Distinguished Scholar, Dean’s List (1987-1988). 

Sc. B. Project:  “An Examination of the Conflicting Roles of Management in a Profit-Maximizing Firm”.

Seminars in Sales techniques and Futures and Options Trading

Publications and Presentations

Meulbroek, P., Macleod, G. (2002), Editors, Equations of State (special edition to Organic Geochemistry), 33.

Meulbroek, P. (2002), “Equations of State in Exploration”, Organic Geochemistry 33.

Losh, Cathles, Meulbroek (2002), “Gas Washing along a regional transect, offshore Louisiana”, Organic Geochemistry 33.

 Losh, Cathles, Meulbroek (2001), AAPG Bulletin.

Meulbroek (2001), Abstracts of Papers of The American Chemical Society.

Goddard WA, Blanco M, Jang JH, Meulbroek P, Zhou YH, Diallo M, Hwang S, Tang YC (2000), “MSC/Caltech collaborations with industry on petroleum technologies”, Abstracts of Papers of the American Chemical Society, 219: 18.

Meulbroek, P., Taylor, P., Lynch, M.,  (1999),  “Phase Fractionation and Migration History of Fluids from Vermilion Blocks 14 and 39, Gulf of Mexico, USA”, presented to the 1999 European Association of Organic Geochemistry meeting, September 5- 8, 1999, Istanbul Turkey.

Losh, Steven; Meulbroek, P; Walter, L; Eglinton, L (1998), “Fluid migration in a faulted reservoir system, South Eugene Island, Block 330, offshore Louisiana”, American Association of Petroleum Geologists 1998 Annual Meeting.

Meulbroek, P; Cathles, L; Losh, S; Whelan, J (1998), “Pressure-temperature modeling of hydrocarbon phase fractionation”, American Association of Petroleum Geologists 1998 Annual meeting.

Meulbroek, Peter; Cathles, Lawrence, III; Whelan, Jean (1998), “Phase fractionation at South Eugene Island Block 330”, Advances in organic geochemistry 1997; proceedings of the 18th international meeting on Organic geochemistry; Part 1, Petroleum geochemistry,     Organic Geochemistry, vol.29, no.1-3, pp.223-239.

Meulbroek, Peter T; Cathles, Lawrence, III (1997), “A model predicting the geochemical effects of gas solution as means for secondary oil migration”, Annual Meeting Abstracts - American Association of Petroleum Geologists and Society of Economic Paleontologists and Mineralogists, vol.6, pp.83, 1997.

Meulbroek, P., Cathles, L., Whelan, J.,  (1999), “Phase Fractionation at Several Gulf of Mexico Sites: More Common than Even WE Thought”, presented to the AAPG Hedberg Conference on “Natural Gas Formation and Occurrence”, June 6-10, 1999, Durango, Colorado.

Meulbroek, P., Losh, L., Cathles, L., Whelan, J., (1999)  “Towards Including Chemical Alteration in Basin Models”, presented to the AAPG Hedberg Conference on “Multi-Dimensional Basin Modeling”, MAY 9-13, 1999, Colorado Springs, Colorado.

Meulbroek, P. (1998) “Phase Fractionation at Eugene Island Block 330”, Organic Geochemistry. 29 (1-3): 223-239.

Meulbroek, P. (1998) “Phase Fractionation in the Gulf of Mexico”, presented to the Gordon Research Conference in Organic Geochemistry, 1998, Plymouth NH. (Also chaired session).

Meulbroek, P. (1998) Session chair,  Gordon Research Conference in Organic Geochemistry, 1998, Plymouth NH.

Meulbroek, P., Cathles, L., Losh, S., Whelan, J (1998) Understanding Phase Fractionation in a Gulf of Mexico Reservoir”, AAPG abstracts.

Meulbroek, P., Cathles, L., Whelan, J.,  (1997) “Phase Fractionation in Oils from South Eugene Island  Block 330”, EAOG Proceedings.

Meulbroek, Phase Fractionation in Sedimentary Basins (1997), Ph.D. Thesis, Cornell University.

Meulbroek, P., Cathles, L., Whelan, J.,  (1996) “Predicting Hydrocarbon Compositional Changes due to Migration using  A Finite Difference Model”, AAPG abstracts.

Meulbroek, P., and Cathles, L., “Modeling Phase Fractionation in Sedimentary Basins”, presented to 210th National Meeting of the American Chemical Society, Chicago, Illinois, August 1995.

Cathles, L.,  Meulbroek , P. and J. Whelan, “Gas Capillary Seals”, presented to the Hedberg Conference on Abnormally Pressured Basins, Golden, Colorado, June 1994.