Virginia Tech: Invent the Future Department of Chemical Engineering


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Chemical Engineering at Virginia Tech

Department of Chemical Engineering

A Message from the Department Head

Welcome to the Virginia Tech Chemical Engineering home page.

This is an exciting time in the department’s history. We are on the threshold of a period of substantial growth driven by a strong demand for our undergraduate major, a recent endowment, and new space in the soon-to-be-completed Signature Engineering Building.

To accommodate the demand for our undergraduate program and to enhance our efforts in graduate education and research, we plan to increase the size of our tenure-track faculty by more than 30% over the next few years. The department currently has ongoing searches to fill three new faculty positions: one at the Assistant Professor level, a second at an open rank, and a third endowed chair at the rank of Professor.

In 2011 the department received a bequest of $8.6 million from the estate of alumnus Robert Hord. The endowment from this bequest is being used to establish new Ph.D. fellowships to enhance our graduate program and attract top students from around the nation. The endowment will also support the Robert E. Hord Endowed Chair in Chemical Engineering for which a search is ongoing.

We are looking forward to the move to our new home in the Signature Engineering Building within the year. Construction is on schedule for completion in early 2014, with occupancy sometime in the spring of 2014. Chemical Engineering will occupy the laboratory and office space on the 2nd and 3rd floors of the west wing. Progress on the new building can viewed on the webcam.

To our many loyal alumni, I would like to express my sincere thanks for your support of our program through financial donations and commitments of your time to our departmental mission. Your support plays an increasingly important role in our ability to provide a quality experience to our student population. Please keep in touch. If you are in the area, I encourage you to stop by for a visit. I look forward to showing you around our new facilities after our move. If you are unable to make it back to campus we would still very much like to hear from you. Please take a moment to update us using the Alumni Information Form accessible through the "ChE Alumni" link on the right hand side of our website.

David F. Cox
Professor and Department Head

Department of Chemical Engineering

ChE undergraduate program ranked #20 by US News & World Report

We are pleased to announce that the chemical engineering undergraduate program at Virginia Tech has been ranked 20th in the nation in the 2014 US News & World Report college rankings.

Read the complete VT News item here.

Department of Chemical Engineering

Rajagopalan Wins Dean’s Award for Research Excellence

Padma Rajagopalan

Professor Padma Rajagopalan has been selected to receive a Dean's Award for Research Excellence for 2014 in recognition of her outstanding research in hepatic tissue engineering. The award will be recognized at the annual College of Engineering reception and awards ceremony on May 7th.

Department of Chemical Engineering: Chang Lu

Two NIH grants to Dr. Chang Lu

Chang Lu

Dr. Chang Lu has been recently awarded two new grants from National Institute of Biomedical Imaging and Bioengineering (NIBIB) of NIH. Both projects are related to the application of the ultrasensitive microfluidic molecular assays developed in Lu’s lab to study biomedical processes. In a $1.3M, 4-year R01 grant with Lu as the principle investigator, Dr. Lu will work with Dr. Liwu Li (Biological Sciences of VT) and Dr. Kai Tan (University of Iowa Carver College of Medicine) to examine temporal dynamics in epigenetic and transcriptional regulations during atherosclerosis development using single live mice. In a $422K, 2-year R21 project, Dr. Tan and Dr. Lu (serving as multiple PIs) will profile the epigenomes involved in stem cell differentiation.

Department of Chemical Engineering

Virginia Tech Wins Chemical Engineering Competition

Chem-E-Car Team

Virginia Tech's Chem-E-Car team earned first place in the 2014 American Institute of Chemical Engineering student event held at the University of Virginia on March 29. The competition tests the ability of the undergraduate team to design, build, and control a vehicle which is both powered and stopped by a chemical reaction. Seventeen teams representing fifteen other prestigious universities competed. This is the second year in a row that the Hokies have placed in the competition as the team finished second in 2013. The team will head to the national competition in Atlanta in November 2014.

Virginia Tech's team consisted of two seniors: team leader Meredith Cook of Fort Worth, Texas and Amy Wang of Chantilly, Va., two juniors: Coogan Thompson of Grundy, Va., and Jessica Kersey of Gloucester, Va., one sophomore: Yining Hao of Chengdu, China and one freshman: Bobby Hollingsworth of Springfield, VA. All are chemical engineering majors. Their faculty advisor is Peter B. Rim, the Joseph H Collie Distinguished Visiting Professor of Chemical Engineering.

The challenge of the competition is to have an autonomous vehicle travel a prescribed distance and carry a given weight, both variables which are provided only 1 hour prior to the competition. Rim commented that "the precision the team exhibited was remarkable given all of the chemical reaction variables they needed to manage". He also noted that "the team had the best two runs of the day, reflective of a high level of knowledge and preparation". The team is grateful for the alumni support of Steve Cope of Exxon-Mobil, who graciously provided funding for the project, and Joe Collie, who funded the Collie Professorship.

Department of Chemical Engineering

Bortner and Durrill receive "Favorite Faculty" nominations

Professors Durrill and Bortner

Each year, students living on campus are allowed to recognize faculty "who have positively impacted their learning experiences at Virginia Tech." Housing and Residence Life, a department within the Division of Student Affairs, recognizes these outstanding faculty members annually through the "Favorite Faculty" Program. This year's recipients include two members of the Chemical Engineering department: Dr. Michael Bortner and Dr. Preston Durrill. Congratulation Mike and Preston!

Department of Chemical Engineering

Achenie Elected AIChE Fellow

Luke Achenie

Complete article

Department of Chemical Engineering: Oyama

Oyama Receives Award from the American Chemical Society

Prof. S. Ted Oyama has been selected to receive the 2014 Distinguished Researcher Award from the Division of Energy & Fuels of the American Chemical Society for his work in the area of heterogeneous catalysis and inorganic membranes.

See full announcement here.

Department of Chemical Engineering

Christine Mays receives 2014 Howe Award

Christie Mays

Complete article

Department of Chemical Engineering: Erdogan Kiran

Kiran Organizes International Workshop on Supercritical Fluids and Energy

Professor Erdogan Kiran

With funding from the National Science Foundation, Professor Erdogan Kiran organized an international workshop on supercritical fluids and energy. The workshop was held in Campinas, Brazil during December 8-11, 2013, and brought together more 100 researchers from 20 countries.
See complete article here

Department of Chemical Engineering: Honors Award

Loufakis Awarded Scholarship

Despina Nelie Loufakis

Graduate student, Despina Nelie Loufakis, was recently awarded a scholarship by the Gerondelis Foundation for her academic performance and research activities. The scholarship carries a cash prize of $5000. Nelie is a fourth year graduate student working with Dr. Chang Lu on development of microfluidic devices for cellular analysis.

Department of Chemical Engineering: Honors Award

Work of Seo and Ducker Highlighted in PRL

D.J. Seo and Professor William Ducker

Graduate student D.J. Seo and Prof. William Ducker's recent paper in Physical Review Letters entitled "In Situ Control of Gas Flow by Modification of Gas-Solid Interactions" was chosen as an editor's suggested reading and highlighted on the PRL website as a "focus article" spotlighting exceptional research.

Department of Chemical Engineering

Thompson receives Othmer Award

Coogan Thompson

Complete article

Department of Chemical Engineering: Honors Award

ChE Students, Mays and Kimmerly, receive scholarships from Honors Program

Dr. Terry Papillon (Director, University Honors Program), Christine Mays, Veronica Kimmerly, Dr. Michael Bortner (ChE Honors Advisor)

Two chemical engineering seniors, Christine Mays and Veronica Kimmerly, have been awarded University Honors Academic Merit Scholarships. This scholarship program, established last spring, provides funding to rising sophomore, junior, and senior Honors students from any VT department who have distinguished themselves by going above and beyond the traditional high academic standards of the Honors Program.

Congratulations Christy and Veronica!

Department of Chemical Engineering

ChE Welcomes New Undergraduate Advisor and Lecturer

Michael Bortner

Dr. Michael J. Bortner has joined our department as the new ChE Undergraduate Academic Advisor and Lecturer. Dr. Bortner earned his B.S. degree at Penn State, and his M.E. and Ph.D. degrees at Virginia Tech, all in Chemical Engineering. Prior to coming back to Virginia Tech, Dr. Bortner worked for ten years in process and product development as Vice President of Manufacturing Process Development at NanoSonic, Inc., and Senior Process Engineer at Nuvotronics LLC. He also serves as an Adjunct Professor in the MSE department here at VT.

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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