Virginia Tech: Invent the Future Department of Chemical Engineering


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Department of Chemical Engineering

Outstanding Overall Presentation Award

Dr. Michael Bortner presenting the award to James Owen (right).

March, 2018     Chemical Engineering junior James Owens was recently awarded the "Outstanding Overall Presentation" Award from Rice University for his talk at the university's annual Gulf Coast Undergraduate Research Symposium (GCURS). He participated in the Chemical and Biological Engineering division with a presentation entitled "Cellulose Nanocrystal Templates for Transparent Conductive Films", a joint project between Prof. Michael Bortner (Chemical Engineering) and Prof. Johan Foster (Materials Science and Engineering).

Department of Chemical Engineering

Epigenomic tool breakthrough has implications for identifying disease processes

Sai Ma (left), a biomedical engineering and mechanics graduate student and first author of the paper, and Chang Lu, the Fred W. Bull Professor of Chemical Engineering, in their Goodwin Hall lab on Virginia Tech's Blacksburg campus. (right)

March, 2018     A major research advancement, published in the journal Nature Biomedical Engineering, titled "Cell-type-specific brain methylomes profiled via ultralow-input microfluidics" was led by Dr. Chang Lu, the Fred W. Bull professor of Chemical Engineering.

Complete Research article

VT News article

Department of Chemical Engineering

ChE Faculty and students publish two new textbooks (2018)


February 2018    The first 610-page textbook, Petroleum Refinery Process Modeling: Integrated Optimization Tools and Applications, Wiley-VCH, is written by Professor Liu and his graduate students, Ai-Fu Chang and Kiran Pashikanti. It is a pioneering and comprehensive guide to predictive modeling of integrated refinery reaction and fractionation systems for process optimization and production planning. It has received excellent reviews and strong endorsements by top academic expert and industrial practitioner in petroleum refining and process optimization, Professor Lawrence Evans of MIT and Mr. Steven Cope, ExxonMobil’s refining director for North America.

The second, 433-page textbook, Design, Simulation and Optimization of Adsorptive and Chromatographic Separations, Wiley-VCH, is written by Professor Liu and his graduate students, Kevin Wood and Yueying Yu. It is a comprehensive resource that integrates fundamental principles, industrial applications, and hands-on workshops and practice problems of commercial software tools for the design, simulation and optimization of adsorptive and chromatographic separations, such as PSA (pressure swing adsorption), TSA (temperature swing adsorption), and SMB (simulated moving bed) chromatography. The book is strongly endorsed by Dr. George Keller, chief engineer of Mid-Atlantic Technology, Research and Innovation Center, S. Charleston, WV., a top industrial expert in separation science and technology and an inventor of PSA for medical oxygen generation.

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.

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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