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Chemical Engineering at Virginia Tech

Department of Chemical Engineering

ChE Doctoral Student, Sophia Orbach, has been awarded a Sigma Xi Research Award

Sophia Orbach

Congratulations to Sophia Orbach for being awarded the 2015-2016 Sigma Xi Ph.D. Research Award from the Virginia Tech Sigma Xi Scientific Research Society. This award recognizes outstanding researchers across the university. This year, the society's focus was on the environment. Sophia was nominated for her innovative research on investigating the toxicity of environmental chemicals on liver function.

Congratulations Sophia!

Department of Chemical Engineering: ChE-car

Virginia Tech wins Chem-E-Car poster presentation award and finishes 6th in International Car Competition

ChE Car 2015 Team

Complete article

Department of Chemical Engineering: Oyama

Oyama named AAAS Fellow

Professor S. Ted Oyama has been named a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS)

Oyama, also on faculty at the University of Tokyo, was recognized for his research in catalytic fuel processing, selective oxidation of hydrocarbons, volatile organic compound elimination, steam reforming, and membrane processes. He has been a pioneer in the development of heterogeneous catalysts and advanced inorganic membranes.

See full announcement here.

Department of Chemical Engineering

Karim and Coworkers Featured on the Cover of Chemical Communications

Cover for ChemComm 2015

A recent paper published in the Journal of Chemical Communications by Prof. Ayman Karim and coworkers has been chosen by the editors as the Back Cover for the December 2015 Issue. The paper describes a novel concept for upgrading the vapors generated from the pyrolysis of biomass to fuel precursors without external hydrogen supply. The concept uses a hierarchically structured catalyst with steam reforming and hydrodeoxygenation functionalities being deposited in the micropores and macropores, respectively. The hierarchical structure restricts the larger, more valuable molecules from reaching the active site (e.g. Pt) for steam reforming in the micropores where the smaller oxygenates react to generate H2. The H2 generated from small oxygenates in the micropores is used to hydrodeoxygenate the large molecules in the macropores (on PtFe), thereby eliminating the need for external H2 supply and improving the carbon efficiency of the process.

Karim's collaborators include Junming Sun from the Gene and Linda Voiland School of Chemical Engineering and Bioengineering at Washington State University (WSU), Xi Li, James Rainbolt, Libor Kovarik, Yongsoon Shin from Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, and Yong Wang who serves in a joint position between WSU and PNNL.

Department of Chemical Engineering: Liu-ADP

Chemical engineering faculty member Y.A. Liu wins Virginia Professor of the Year honor

Congressman Morgan Griffith (Virginia, 9th District) invites Professor and Mrs. Y. A. Liu to the U.S. Capital on November 19, 2015 and congratulates Professor Liu to receive the U.S. Professors of the Year Award as Carnegie Foundation Virginia Professor of the Year for 2015.

Y.A. Liu, who holds an Alumni Distinguished Professorship, is the 2015 Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching Virginia Professor of the Year.
The Council for Advancement and Support of Education (CASE), part of the Carnegie Foundation, administers the highly selective U.S. Professors of the Year program.
"My teaching philosophy is to challenge our undergraduate students to maximize their potential and achieve excellence in both their school work and in their future careers, while providing them with the necessary tools and motivation for life-long learning," Liu said.

Complete article

Department of Chemical Engineering

Spotlight on Achievement Archive

Personal experiences drive Bobby Hollingsworth to make a difference in medicine

Bobby Hollingsworth helps with research aimed at reducing side effects of treatment through new combinations of therapies. He also uses software to investigate a recently discovered anti-HIV therapeutic and how it inhibits HIV entry into cells.

Read full story here.

Department of Chemical Engineering

ChE Doctoral Student, Sophia Orbach, selected by the Society of Toxicology to be a "Gold Level Award Recipient"

Sophia Orbach

Congratulations to Sophia Orbach for being selected by the Society of Toxicology to be a "Gold Level Award Recipient" based on her meritorious abstract submitted to their 2015 conference "FutureTox III Bridges for Translation—Transforming 21st Century Science into Risk Assessment and Regulatory Decision-Making". Sophia's abstract is entitled "Hepatotoxicity Testing in Multi-cellular 3D Organotypic Liver Models and Their Potential for High-Throughput Studies". Her work focuses on the design of a 3D organotypic liver model. These liver models were assembled using automated procedures and scaled down to a 96-well plate. The potential of this high-throughput platform is being investigated for toxicity evaluations and drug-drug interactions.

Congratulations Sophia!

See additional article from Computational Tissue Engineering

Department of Chemical Engineering

Chemical Engineering Seniors Won National Competition for Safety in Process Design

Left - right: Coogan Thompson, Mai Ngo and Jared Klein
with their design course professor, Y. A. Liu.

Three Virginia Tech chemical engineering seniors from the class of 2015, Coogan Thompson of Grundy, VA, Mai Ngo of Blacksburg, VA, and Jared Klein of Sterling, VA, have won the national competition for safety in process design sponsored by the American Institute of Chemical Engineers.

The student group participated in the 2015 AIChE national student design competition to develop an inherently safe process for the removal of acid gases from a natural gas stream. The group won the Safety and Health Division Award for Inherently Safe Design.

This is the second year in a row that a Virginia Tech team has captured the same top award in safety in process design sponsored by the national chemical engineering professional society.

The student team will receive the award at the AIChE annual conference in Salt Lake City in November.

Chemical engineering professor Y. A. Liu taught these students their senior design courses. He credits this success to the hard work and intelligence of the students. Coogan, Ngo and Klein are now doctoral students at the University of Wisconsin, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and Princeton University, respectively.

Department of Chemical Engineering: Erdogan Kiran

Erdogan Kiran to deliver a keynote at international symposium

Professor Erdogan Kiran

Erdogan Kiran, professor of chemical engineering at Virginia Tech, will deliver a keynote lecture at an international symposium focusing on undergraduate research in Seoul, South Korea.
The symposium, "ISSF 2015 - The 11th International Symposium on Supercritical Fluids," is scheduled for October 11-14.
See complete article here

Department of Chemical Engineering

Xin and Achenie combine machine learning with quantum mechanics for catalyst discovery

Xin (l) and Achenie (r)

Two chemical engineering faculty members, Luke Achenie and Hongliang Xin, along with Xianfeng Ma and Zheng Li from Xin's research group , authored the article "Machine-learning-augmented Chemisorption Model for CO2 Electroreduction Catalyst Screening" in the Journal of Physical Chemistry Letters. This is the first example of learning from data in catalysis, which could significantly accelerate materials discovery. You can read more at AlphaGalileo, EurekAlert, or NewsWise.

Department of Chemical Engineering

Rajagopalan has received a $350,000 grant from the National Science Foundation's Chemical, Bioengineering, Environmental, and Transport Systems (CBET) Division

Padma Rajagopalan

Professor Padma Rajagopalan has received a $350,000 grant from the National Science Foundation's Chemical, Bioengineering, Environmental, and Transport Systems (CBET) Division to study integrated tissue engineering. The gastrointestinal (GI) tract and the liver are organs in the body that absorb and metabolize a portion of ingested chemicals and nutrients. As such, they serve as defense mechanisms against harmful chemicals and pathogens. The metabolism of a wide range of chemicals, drugs, and pharmaceuticals is mediated by the dual and complementary actions of the gastrointestinal (GI) tract and liver. However, there is a significant lack in understanding how integrating tissue mimics of these organs function cohesively.This project focuses on engineering an integrated GI and liver tissue to obtain information on how these organs work in unison to metabolize chemicals.

Department of Chemical Engineering

Othmer Award goes to Finkenauer

Blake Finkenauer

Blake Finkenauer, a junior chemical engineering student from Yorktown, Virginia, is the recipient of the 2014-2015 Donald F. Othmer Sophomore Academic Excellence Award, presented by the American Institute of Chemical Engineers. The Othmer Award recognizes the sophomore who maintained the highest scholastic standing of any member of the AIChE student chapter. In addition to his academics, Finkenauer has provided service through VT Services for Students with Disabilities, participated in residential learning communities on campus, interned with NASA Langley, and worked as a co-op with DuPont in Richmond. The award consists of a certificate and a complimentary copy of Perry’s Chemical Engineers’ Handbook.

Department of Chemical Engineering

Baird Elected Fellow of the Society of Rheology

Don Baird
Alexander F. Giacco Professor of Chemical Engineering

Professor Don Baird, the Alexander F. Giacco Professor of Chemical Engineering at Virginia Tech, has been elected a Fellow of the Society of Rheology. Fellow status in the society recognizes members who have a history of distinguished scientific achievement, significant technological accomplishment, and outstanding scholarship in the field of Rheology. Fellowship status is awarded to no more than 0.5% of the membership in any given year.

Congratulations Don!

Department of Chemical Engineering

Baird Elected AIChE Fellow

Don Baird
Alexander F. Giacco Professor of Chemical Engineering

Professor Don Baird, the Alexander F. Giacco Professor of Chemical Engineering at Virginia Tech, has been elected a Fellow of the American Institute of Chemical Engineers (AIChE). Fellows are elite members of the AIChE who have been practicing chemical engineering for 25 years or more with demonstrated long-term excellence. Fellow status in the AIChE is a recognition of professional attainment, and significant accomplishment in engineering.

Professor Baird, a member of the AIChE since 1978, has served the Institute in a number of capacities, most recently as a member of awards committee of the Materials Engineering and Science Division (MESD) of the AIChE.

After receiving his PhD in Engineering Mechanics with a minor in Chemical Engineering from the University of Wisconsin in 1974, Baird worked as a research engineer for the Monsanto Company before joining the chemical engineering faculty at Virginia Tech in 1978. He has published over 180 refereed journal articles and is the primary author of a polymer processing textbook that is widely used around the world. He is a recognized expert in the fields of polymer science and polymer/plastics engineering.

Department of Chemical Engineering

Professor Chang Lu awarded NIH grant

Chang Lu

Professor Chang Lu has received a $423,000 R21 grant from the National Human Genome Research Institute of the National Institutes of Health, together with his collaborator Dr. Kai Tan from University of Iowa. The team will use the grant to develop microfluidic tools to study epigenomics at the single cell level. Epigenomics refers to the genome-wide study of epigenetics - the machinery that turns on and off gene activity.

Department of Chemical Engineering

Alumni Start New Business

Christine and Aaron Holley

Two of our 2010 ChE alumni, Aaron and Christine (Sargent) Holley, have opened the Wasserhund Brewing Company, a brewery and restaurant in Virginia Beach. Congratulations and best wishes to Aaron and Christine on their new venture. Read the full article from The Virginian-Pilot, and visit the Wasserhund webpages.

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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