Virginia Tech: Invent the Future Department of Chemical Engineering


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Department of Chemical Engineering

Rong Tong has been selected as one of the 2017 Class of Influential Early Career Researchers

Rong Tong

October 2017. Rong Tong has been selected as one of the 2017 Class of Influential Early Career Researchers by Industrial & Engineering Chemistry Research on the basis of the quality and impact of the research. His invited review paper entitled "New Chemistry in Functional Aliphatic Polyesters" has been published in the special issue "2017 Class of Influential Researchers" in Industrial & Engineering Chemistry Research. (Ind. Eng. Chem. Res., 2017, 56 (15), pp 4207).

Department of Chemical Engineering

Hongliang Xin Recognized as Emerging Investigators 2017 in Journal of Materials Chemistry

Hongliang Xin

September 2017
Hongliang Xin was recognized as Emerging Investigators in 2017 by experts in the field of catalysis and surface chemistry in a themed issue of the Journal of Materials Chemistry A, highlighting the research being carried out by researchers in the early stages of their independent careers. The article "High-Throughput Screening of Bimetallic Catalysts Enabled by Machine Learning" outlines the collaborative work of Drs. Xin and Achenie with graduate students Zheng Li, Siwen Wang, Wei Shan Chin on machine learning models development for catalysis applications. By using quantum chemistry tools and machine learning algorithms, the researchers identified reactivity descriptors for methanol electrochemical oxidation on metal surfaces and predicted which metal elements can be added in what geometry to make the methanol fuel cells more energy efficient. This work is currently supported by the catalysis program in the National Science Foundation

Department of Chemical Engineering

The 2016-2017 Donald F. Othmer Sophomore Academic Excellence Award

Abigail Guillemart (right)

September 25, 2017     Congratulations to Abigail Guillemart, currently a chemical engineering junior, for receiving the 2016-2017 Donald F. Othmer Sophomore Academic Excellence Award. This distinguished and well deserved award is presented to a member of the American Institute of Chemical Engineers in each student chapter who has attained the highest scholastic grade-point average during his/her freshman and sophomore years.

Department of Chemical Engineering

US patent issued to Professor Chang Lu

Cao and Lu  (right)

Aug 28, 2017     Dr. Chang Lu and his former student Zhenning Cao were recently issued a US patent (9,732,377) titled "Microfluidic systems and methods for chromatin immunoprecipitation (ChIP)". The patent was on a novel microfluidic chromatin immunoprecipitation technology developed by Lu and Cao. The technology offered a superb capability for profiling genome-wide epigenomic features such as histone modifications using a tiny number of cells (as few as 100 cells). The results associated with the technology were first published in a 2015 Nature Methods paper.

Department of Chemical Engineering

Research demonstrates novel method of producing optimized polyester

Quanyou Feng (left) Rong Tong (right)

August 2017. The chemistry, known as photoredox ring-opening polymerization, has potential applications in preparing different biodegradable polyesters for plastic engineering or biomedical applications, for example.
Read the full story.

Department of Chemical Engineering

Graduate Student Awarded Research Funding

Wenhui Li

May 2017. Wenhui Li was selected to receive a Spring 2017 Graduate Research Development Program (GRDP) award based on her proposal "Solvent tuning on crystal structures and sizes of ligand-controlled synthesized colloidal Pd nanoparticles". The selection is made by the Virginia Tech Graduate Student Assembly (GSA) through peer reviews and the award consists of $1000 for her research. The GRDP is a program administered by the GSA to provide monetary support for degree contingent research conducted by Virginia Tech graduate students.

Wenhui is a third year PhD student working in Dr. Karim's group. Her PhD work focuses on understanding the role of ligands and solvents in the synthesis of colloidal Pd nanoparticles.

Department of Chemical Engineering

Lu group awarded $1.2M NIH grant to develop molecular analysis technology for cancer

Chang Lu

May 2017 Dr. Chang Lu received a NIH grant with a total of $1.2M from the Innovative Molecular Analysis Technologies (IMAT) program of National Cancer Institute (NCI). In the next three years, the grant will support their effort on advanced development of microfluidic-oscillatory-washing-based chromatin immunoprecipitation or MOWChIP-seq technology for genome-scale examination of healthy and tumor samples. MOWChIP-seq was first published by Lu group in 2015 in a Nature Methods paper for profiling epigenomes using less than 100 cells.

This new R33 project will be conducted under a collaboration between Lu group and Dr. Rong Li's group at University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio.

Department of Chemical Engineering

Undergrads form Biomedical Startup

L/R: Tucker King, Juliana Downey, Elizabeth Rebholz and Kim Wyluda

April 2017. A team of four engineering seniors including three ChE students (Tucker King, Elisabeth Rebholz, and Kim Wyluda) and one ME student (Juliana Downey) have formed a biomedical startup called Tech Wound Solutions. The students, all pursuing biomedical engineering minors, have worked on the development of "Kare Powder", an active wound care product, and a business model as part of a special-topics course on biomedical entrepreneurship taught by Prof. Mark Van Dyke.
This past year, Tech Wound Solutions competed in a number of competitions. Their win at the ACC InVenture Prize @ Virginia Tech in November 2016 led them to compete in the regional ACC InVenture Prize @ Georgia Tech in March 2017. They placed second out of the fifteen ACC schools, bringing home $10,000 to put towards their project. More recently, they took home the People’s Choice Award at the VT KnowledgeWorks’ Global Challenge, winning $5,000 in scholarship money.

Read more

Department of Chemical Engineering

Research from Tong’s group highlighted in C&E News

Rong Tong (right)

April 2017. A recent publication in the Journal of the American Chemical Society by postdoc Quanyou Feng and Assistant Professor Rong Tong has been highlighted in Chemical & Engineering News. Their work describes a new catalytic process for the synthesis of functional poly(α-hydroxy acid), or PAHA, from O-carboxyanhydride (OCA) monomers. The resulting PAHA polyesters are biodegradable polymers useful for a wide range of medical applications with biodegradable implants.
Read the full story.

Department of Chemical Engineering

Kelsey Niehoff wins VSGC scholarship for research in nanomaterial reinforced ultra high temperature ceramics

Dr. Bortner (ChE), Kelsey Niehoff , and Dr. Tallon (MSE)

Kelsey Niehoff is one of the recipients of the prestigious Virginia Space Grant Consortium (VSGC) Undergraduate STEM Research Scholarship for the 2017-2018 academic year. The VSGC Undergraduate STEM Research Scholarship Program provides scholarships to rising juniors and seniors in STEM fields who have a specific faculty-mentored research project that has NASA or aerospace relevance. Kelsey, advised by Dr. Bortner (ChE) and Dr. Tallon (MSE), is studying how the mechanical and thermal properties of porous ultra high temperature ceramics can be improved with nanomaterial reinforcements. Her research aligns with NASA's Space Technology mission directorate through applications such as re-entry and hypersonic vehicles.

Mission Statement

The mission of the Virginia Tech Department of Chemical Engineering is to educate students to become outstanding chemical engineers who possess all of the skills necessary to excel in an advanced, global society; to conduct innovative and beneficial research while training students to be the researchers of the future; and to provide service and expertise to the chemical engineering profession and society.

Chemical Engineering Program Outcomes and Objectives

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