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School of Chemical & Biomolecular Engineering

Microneedle Patches for Flu Vaccination Prove Successful in First Human Clinical Trial

ChBE Undergrad Ranking Rises to #3 (page 1) Spotlight: ChBE Alumni in Academia (page 3)

Contents 1

Strength and Breadth: ChBE by the Numbers


RAPID Institute, Algenol


Alumni in Academia


Research Features: Microneedle Patches, Carbon Molecular Sieve Membranes


In the Lab


Faculty News


Alumni Features/News


Student News/Honors

Think Big. Solve Big.

A Message from DAVID SHOLL, John F. Brock III School Chair Have you stopped to think recently about how integral chemical engineering is to the society we live in? When you drive somewhere, the fuel you use was made by chemical engineers. Much of the food we eat is processed and packaged safely due to chemical engineering. The pharmaceuticals you take may have been developed by chemists, but they are produced by chemical engineers Have you had a package delivered to your home from Amazon? The packaging material and probably key components of whatever you ordered were made by chemical engineers. Without chemical engineering, our society would cease to function. This simple observation reminds me of the importance of what we do every day in the School of Chemical

& Biomolecular Engineering – we train students and researchers who will become tomorrow’s technology leaders. This 2017 edition of the School’s magazine describes many of the wonderful things that are happening on campus and among our alumni around the world. You can read about the extraordinary research of our new faculty, the impact that ChBE alumni are having around the world as chemical engineering professors, the story of a ChBE-led clinical trial for flu vaccines, and much more. It would be a pleasure to hear from you or have you visit campus in person. Please drop me a line ( to let me know how ChBE has impacted your life or inform me when you are in Atlanta and would like to visit. .

About ChBE Established in 1901, the School of Chemical & Biomolecular Engineering (ChBE) is one of eight schools in the College of Engineering at the Georgia Institute of Technology. Ranked among the top 10 engineering programs in the nation for both its graduate and undergraduate programs by U.S. News & World Report, the School is one of the oldest and most diverse programs in the country. The mission of ChBE is to provide students with the intellectual

basis to be educated citizens, to prepare them for successful careers, and to advance the science and technology that form the basis of chemical and biomolecular engineering. ChBE faculty members are involved in a comprehensive range of topics in education, research, and commercialization, with a strategic focus on energy & sustainability, biotechnology, materials & nanotechnology, and complex systems.



U.S. Department of Energy Funds Process Intensification Institute Led by AIChE, Georgia Tech, SRNL, and Partners In early 2017, the Rapid Advancement in Process Intensification Deployment (RAPID) Manufacturing Institute of the American Institute of Chemical Engineers (AIChE) became the newest, and tenth, member of the nation’s network of Manufacturing USA Institutes. AIChE developed the RAPID Institute proposal in collaboration with the Savannah River National Laboratory (SRNL) and Georgia Tech after the DOE called for the establishment of a Manufacturing Innovation Institute on Modular Chemical Process Intensification for Clean Energy Manufacturing. RAPID began with 75 companies, 34 academic institutions, seven national laboratories, two other government laboratories, and seven non-governmental organizations from all regions of the country. These partners have committed to cost shares that leverage DOE’s $70 million contribution over five years, with total project spending exceeding $140 million. RAPID’s

partners come from energy-intensive industries and range from small to large enterprises. Professor David Sholl of Georgia Tech’s School of Chemical & Biomolecular Engineering served as RAPID’s interim CTO and is the lead of the Modeling and Simulation Focus Area. He says that “RAPID will bring together an elite community of industry, academic, and national lab partners to allow for efficient technology development in U.S. chemical manufacturing.” A DOE statement says: “Our investment in this cross-cutting technology is an investment in the future of manufacturing in the U.S. As we expand the Manufacturing USA network, we provide greater

“RAPID will bring together an elite community of industry, academic, and national lab partners to allow for efficient technology development in U.S. chemical manufacturing.”

opportunities for businesses of all sizes to solve their toughest technology challenges and unleash major savings in energy-intensive sectors like oil and gas, pulp and paper-making, and other industries.” For more information, visit

Algenol/Tech Biocrude Project Reaches Major Milestone Georgia Tech is part of a team that won a $6.25 million grant from the Department of Energy to advance the state of the art in algal production and biofuel processing with the end goal of a sustainable, economically viable biofuel intermediate. The project has passed the first and most important gate review, the Validation gate. This frees up the bulk of the funds for the main project. Tech’s partners on the project include team leader Algenol Biotech LLC as well as the National


Renewable Energy Laboratory and Reliance Industries Limited. Project partners propose producing algal biofuel intermediates (BFI) from cyanobacteria at an annualized rate of more than 4,000 gallon/acre per year, reducing the carbon footprint by at least 60 percent compared to gasoline while reducing the energy expenditure of biomass harvesting, dewatering, and hydrothermal liquefaction integration up to 10 percent. Georgia Tech will work with

Algenol to examine the current state of commercial readiness of Algenol’s system for BFI production and provide guidance for system innovations required to enable commercial deployment. The principals from Georgia Tech are Professors Matthew Realff (ChBE) and Valerie Thomas (ISyE), whose work concentrates on lifecycle analysis, techno-economic analysis, and process engineering. Drs. Ron Chance and Paul Roessler are the principal investigators for the project.


Alumni Making Global Impact in Academia ChBE’s PhD alumni have long excelled in a wide range of industries. Increasingly our graduates are choosing to pursue and finding success in academic careers as well. Since 2000, more than 130 of ChBE’s PhD alumni and past postdoctoral fellows have obtained faculty positions at many leading institutions around the world. U.S. institutions include: • Arizona State University • City College of New York • Clemson University • Drexel University • Louisiana State University • Massachusetts Institute of Technology • North Carolina State University • Northeastern University • Notre Dame University • Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute • Texas Tech University • University of California, Riverside • University of Connecticut • University of Florida • University of New Hampshire • University of Oklahoma • University of Puerto Rico at Mayagüez • University of Wisconsin

International institutions include: • Hong Kong University of Science and Technology • Imperial College London • Indian Institute of Technology Bombay • Koc University • Korean Advanced Institute of Science and Technology • Nanyang Technological University • National Taiwan University • National University of Singapore • Shanghai Jiaotong University • University of Sydney

Preparing Future Faculty Members ChBE’s Future Faculty Forum is a biannual event providing ChBE PhD students and postdocs with detailed information, practice and encouragement in developing successful applications for academic positions.

“I suggest that graduate students who truly enjoy research seriously consider seeking a faculty position. Graduate student research is full of discovery and excitement. But conducting research as a faculty member is even more fun and rewarding, given the additional time, support, and resources.” - Dun-Yen Kang, PhD 2012, Assistant Professor, National Taiwan University

In 2017, Professors David Sholl and Michael Filler led a group of 15 students and postdocs through a range of discussion and writing exercises focused on developing creative research proposals and managing the often stressful academic job search process.

GT ChBE Contacts School Chair: David Sholl Main Office: ( 404) 894-1838 Chair’s Office: ( 404) 894-2867 Undergraduate Program: ( 404) 894-2865 Graduate Program: ( 404) 894-2877

“I learned not to be afraid to explore new research avenues or opportunities. In fact, it may be crucial to pursue those new opportunities and research avenues, even if it is a bit scary.” - Adriana San Miguel, PhD 2011, Assistant Professor, North Carolina State University

Communications Committee: Brad Dixon (editor), Michael Filler, Dennis Hess, Elsa Reichmanis, David Sholl, and Jacqueline Mohalley Snedeker



Microneedle Patches for Flu Vaccination Prove Successful in First Human Clinical Trial Despite the potentially severe consequences of the flu, including illness and even death, only about 40 percent of adults in the United States receive flu shots each year. However, researchers believe a new self-administered, painless vaccine skin patch containing microscopic needles could significantly increase the number of people who get vaccinated. A phase I clinical trial conducted by Emory University in collaboration with researchers from Georgia Tech has found that influenza vaccination using Band-Aid-like patches with dissolvable microneedles was safe and well-tolerated by study participants, was just as effective in generating immunity against influenza, and was strongly preferred by study participants over vaccination with a hypodermic needle and syringe. COST SAVINGS The microneedle patch vaccine could also save money because it is easily self-administered, could be transported and stored without refrigeration, and is easily disposed of after use without sharps waste. Results of the study were published in the medical journal The Lancet. The research was supported by the National Institute of Biomedical Imaging and Bioengineering of the National Institutes of Health. The first in-human clinical trial of the flu vaccine patches began in June 2015 with 100 participants aged 18-49 who were healthy and who had not received the influenza vaccine during the 2014-15 flu season. The study was


“One of the main goals of developing the microneedle patch technology was to make vaccines accessible to more people.”

conducted at the Hope Clinic of the Emory Vaccine Center in Atlanta. “People have a lot of reasons for not getting flu vaccinations,” says ChBE Regents’ Professor and J. Erskine Love Jr. Chair Mark Prausnitz. “One of the main goals of developing the microneedle patch technology was to make vaccines accessible to more people. Traditionally, if you get an influenza vaccine, you need to visit a health care professional who will administer the vaccine using a hypodermic needle. “The vaccine is stored in the refrigerator, and the used needle must be disposed of in a safe man-

ner. With the microneedle patch, you could pick it up at the store and take it home, put it on your skin for a few minutes, peel it off and dispose of it safely, because the microneedles have dissolved away. The patches can also be stored outside the refrigerator, so you could even mail them to people.” Prausnitz has been working for many years to develop the microneedle patch technology. “It’s very gratifying and exciting to have these patches tested in a clinical trial, and with a result that turned out so well. We now need to follow this study with a phase II clinical trial involving more people, and we hope that will happen soon.” The researchers also are working to develop microneedle patches for use with other vaccines, including measles, rubella and polio.


Carbon Molecular Sieve Membranes Could Cut Energy in Hydrocarbon Separations A research team from Georgia Tech and ExxonMobil has demonstrated a new carbonbased molecular sieve membrane that could dramatically reduce the energy required to separate a class of hydrocarbon molecules known as alkyl aromatics. The new material is based on polymer hollow fibers treated to retain their structure – and pore sizes – as they are converted to carbon through pyrolysis. The carbon membranes are then used in a new “organic solvent reverse osmosis” (OSRO) process in which pressure is applied to effect the separation without requiring a phase change in the chemical mixture. The hollow carbon fibers, bundled together into modules, can separate molecules whose sizes differ by a fraction of a nanometer while providing processing rates superior to those of existing molecular sieve zeolites.

professor at ChBE and the paper’s corresponding author. “Our membranes are mechanically robust and they can withstand the process conditions required by OSRO. They maintain advantageous mechanical properties and membrane perforMcCool, one of the paper’s comance as they are converted to authors and an advanced research associate at ExxonMobil Corporate carbon fiber.” COMMERCIAL POTENTIAL Lively and postdoctoral Strategic Research. “If we can make fellow Dong-Yeun Koh used the this work on an industrial scale, Because it uses a commercial OSRO process in the laboratory to it could dramatically reduce the polymer precursor, the researchers believe the new membrane has energy required by these separation separate mixtures of para-xylene and ortho-xylene, molecules potential for commercialization and processes.” whose sizes differ by one-tenth of a Fabrication of the new memintegration into industrial chemical nanometer. separation processes. The research brane material begins with hol“These molecules have incredwas reported in the journal Science. low polymer fibers approximately ibly similar sizes and properties, 200 microns in diameter, slightly Separation is currently but the membranes can tell them achieved through refining processes thicker than the average human apart,” says Lively. hair. The fibers have pore sizes of such as crystallization and In industrial use, the memadsorption with distillation, which less than one nanometer, and are branes would be bundled together treated via cross-linking before they are energy-intensive. Globally, in modules that would be used in are converted to carbon through a the amount of energy used in pyrolysis process. The pore sizes of chemical facilities. “In practice, you conventional separation processes would get as many modules as you the fibers can be adjusted during for alkyl aromatics is equal to that needed for a particular application, the fabrication process. produced by about 20 averageand if the need increased, you could “We take a scalable platform sized power plants. simply add more modules,” Lively based on polymeric membranes “We see this as a potentially says. “It would be totally scalable.” disruptive technology in the way we and then turn those materials into inorganic molecular sieves,” exseparate xylenes and similar orplains Ryan Lively, an assistant ganic compounds,” says Benjamin “If we can make this work on an industrial scale, it could dramatically reduce the energy required by these separation processes.”



in the lab

Secret Phenotypes: Disease Devils in Invisible Details When a microscopic lab worm grows an eye-popping oddity, scientists locate the mutated gene that caused it. It’s truly interesting. Yet, more important findings, medically relevant ones, may be hiding in traits invisible to the eye, even with the best microscope. Researchers at Georgia Tech are exposing these secrets – micron-sized

bumps and grooves – and the intricate web of gene mutations possibly behind them in high detail. Their computational genetics work using digital optics could prove useful to understanding debilitating disorders. “When these faint mutations come together, it gives you a ‘ginormous’ boost in disease risk,”

Case Study on Research Program Development

As hundreds of new scientists and engineers start their independent research programs at various institutions each year, they often have little insight into how their research career may evolve over time, according to Love Family Professor Chris Jones. He contributed a cover perspective article, “Advice for emerging researchers on research program development,” to the AIChE Journal in September 2017, providing a personal case study on research program development. He writes that timing “is critically important to finding a position and establishing a new laboratory. All research topics go through natural cycles of growth and decline, and it can be challenging for an emerging researcher to understand or predict these trends.” 6

says Hang Lu, a professor who applies engineering and data science to the study of neurology. Lu and Adriana San Miguel (ChBE PhD 2011) published their results in the journal Nature Communications.

Improving Stretchable Electronic Device Technology The pursuit of intelligent optoelectronics could eventually lead to stretchable displays and medical breakthroughs, including electronic skin, wearable devices, and a vast array of biomedical sensors. Savannah Lee, an undergrad who According to a Georgia worked on the study, demonstrates Tech study, the spectrum stretchable transistors. of realizable applications in intelligent optoelectronics tor polymers with low-cost could be significantly broadelastomers. This approach did ened by the simultaneous not affect the film’s electronic conductivity, even under 100 enhancement of the electripercent strain. cal performance, mechanical Publishing the study, stretchability, and optical transparency of semiconduct- “Versatile Interpenetrating Polymer Network Approach to ing polymers. Robust Stretchable Electronic Researchers in ProfesDevices,” in Chemistry of sor Elsa Reichmanis’ group Materials, postdoc Guoyan showed that semiconducting Zhang and the other films boasting significantly researchers wrote that their improved mechanical elasticfindings could represent ity and optical transparency could be prepared by blending promising directions for industry-scale production only a small amount (below of stretchable displays and 1 wt %) of high-performance wearable electronic devices. commercial semiconduc-


Study: Finding the Origins of Life in a Drying Puddle The original recipe for gene soup may have been simple – rain, a jumble of common molecules, warm sunshine, and nighttime cooling. Then add a pinch of thickener. That last ingredient may have helped gene-like strands to copy themselves in puddles for the first time ever, billions of years ago when Earth was devoid of life, researchers at Georgia Tech have found. Their novel discoveries add to a growing body of evidence that suggests first life may have evolved with relative ease. And they offer an answer to the old question: How did precursors

to the present-day genetic code first duplicate themselves before the existence of enzymes that are indispensable to that process today? For generations, scientists pursuing an answer performed experiments in water but hit a wall. However, Tech researchers overcame it by adding an offthe-shelf viscous solvent (the thickener). ChBE Professor Martha Grover and Christine He (PhD 2017) were part of the Georgia Tech research team investigating the chemical origins of nucleic acid replication. In a paper published in Nature

Large-scale Nanomanufacturing Nanomanufacturing – the fabrication of macroscopic products from well-defined nanoscale building blocks – still faces many obstacles to being scalable enough for use in a range of energy, health, infrastructure, aerospace, and military applications. In a perspective article in the Annual Review of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering, ChBE faculty members Michael Filler (pictured), Sven Behrens, and Victor Breedveld, along with PhD student Maritza Mujica, describe the barriers to large-scale nanomanufacturing and offer potential routes to overcome them. They say that nanomanufacturers have depended too much on techniques inspired by the semiconductor industry. These are capable of producing small amounts of high quality nanomaterials, but not at the scale necessary for many potential uses. The researchers propose that solutions to the challenge of nanomanufacturing lie in the foundational principles of chemical engineering. They recommend new synthesis techniques, new structure- and property-based separations, carefully selected process break points, and advances in stabilization and packaging.

Chemistry, they have shown that, prior to the evolution of coded protein synthesis, copying of nucleic acid sequences could have been driven by hot/cool cycles in a viscous environment.

Smoke from Wildfires Can Have Lasting Climate Impact Georgia Tech researchers have shown that smoke from raging wildfires could impact the atmosphere and climate much more than previously thought. They found that carbon particles released into the air from burning trees and other organic matter are much more likely than once believed to travel to the upper levels of the atmosphere, where they can interfere with rays from the sun – sometimes cooling the air and at other times warming it. Co-authored by Professor Athanasios Nenes, in partnership with Rodney J. Weber of the School of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences, the study was published in the journal Nature Geoscience. They explain that most of the brown carbon produced by the incomplete combustion of smoldering wood and grasses stays in the lower atmosphere, but a fraction of it does get into the upper atmosphere, where it has a large effect on the planetary radiation balance. CHBE.GATECH.EDU


faculty news Elsa Reichmanis Selected as the 2018 recipient of the American Chemical Society (ACS) Award in the Chemistry of Materials, sponsored by DuPont.

David Sholl Recognized by the American Chemical Society as one of the 10 most prolific authors in the Journal of Physical Chemistry C in the past five years.

William Koros

Pamela Peralta-Yahya Won the NIH Maximizing Investigator’s Research Award (MIRA) Award. Her grant title is “Olfactory receptor-based sensors for biomedical applications.”

Hang Lu Co-principal investigator of a project that won one of 17 NSF Next Generation Networks Neuroscience (NeuroNex) awards for research aimed at understanding the human brain. Lu’s project is “Live imaging of the C. elegans connectome.”

Received the Sustained Research Award from Sigma Xi’s Georgia Tech Chapter – the highest honor presented by the national honor society for scientists and engineers.

Ryan Lively • Won a 2017 Faculty Early Career Development (CAREER) Award from the National Science Foundation. • Won the 2017 3M Non-Tenured Faculty Award from the 3M Corporation. • Received the Young Faculty Award from Sigma Xi’s Georgia Tech Chapter.

Sally Ng Fani Boukouvala Received the Best Paper Award in Computers & Chemical Engineering at the AIChE Annual Meeting in Fall 2016 for “A multi-scale framework for CO2 capture, utilization, and sequestration: CCUS and CCU.” Krista Walton Received AIChE’s Separations Division FRI/John G. Kunesh Award, which recognizes outstanding contributions by individuals under the age of 40. Paul Kohl Won the ACS 2017 Polymeric Materials: Science and Engineering Division’s Cooperative Research Award. He received the award ($5,000) at the Spring 2017 ACS Meeting in San Francisco, California, where he held a symposium. Yonathan Thio Won the AIChE Outstanding Faculty Award for ChBE.

Won the 2016 Kenneth T. Whitby Award from the American Association for Aerosol Research (AAAR). The annual award recognizes outstanding contributions to aerosol science and technology by a young scientist.

Mark Prausnitz Appointed to the Technical Advisory Board of Theranos Inc., which is a health technology company developing a proprietary miniLab platform designed to enable earlier disease detection and intervention by facilitating low-cost, small-sample collection, testing, and rapid communication of diagnostic information in distributed settings. Athanasios Nenes Paul Kohl Won a single-PI, two million Euro grant from the European Research Council for “PyroTRACH: Pyrogenic TRansformations Affecting Climate and Health.” This research will be conducted at the Institute of Chemical Engineering Sciences, Foundation for Research and Technology - Hellas.


Victor Breedveld New Associate Chair for Undergraduate Studies Associate Professor Victor Breedveld became the School’s Associate Chair for Undergraduate Studies on July 1, 2017. He succeeded Pradeep Agrawal, who became Chair of the Department of Chemical Engineering at Michigan Technological University. “Victor has long been a champion and advocate for our undergraduate students, and will bring this enthusiasm to his new role,” says School Chair David Sholl. Breedveld, who joined the School’s faculty in 2003, is also the Frank Dennis Faculty Fellow.

ChBE Welcomes New Faculty Members

Saad Bhamla, Assistant Professor

Lily Cheung, Assistant Professor

Christian Cuba-Torres, Lecturer

PhD, Chemical Engineering, Stanford University, 2013

PhD, Chemical Engineering, Princeton University, 2013

PhD, 2015, Washington State University

Previously a postdoctoral fellow at Stanford, Bhamla focuses his research on exploring the fundamental and applied research questions through the development of new experimental tools and techniques at the intersection of soft matter, organismic physics, and global health.

Previously a postdoctoral fellow at the Carnie Science Institute, Cheung focuses her research on the engineering of genetically encoded biosensors, quantitative fluorescence microscopy and image analysis, computational models of gene regulatory networks, and transcriptional regulation and developmental biology of plants.

Previously Cuba-Torres worked as a lecturer at Washington State University after earning his PhD there. He has expertise in heterogeneous catalysis with an emphasis in reaction engineering and catalyst design, and he is proficient in spectroscopic characterization and evaluation of catalytic performance. CHBE.GATECH.EDU


alumni spotlight ‘Renaissance Man’ John Burson Receives Honorary Doctorate At the May 2017 doctoral and master’s commencement ceremony, Georgia Tech awarded an honorary doctor of philosophy degree to John H. Burson III, ChE 1956, MS MET 1963, PhD ChE 1964. This is the highest honor that can be bestowed by the Institute. The embodiment of a 21stcentury Renaissance man, Burson is a physician, a former Georgia Tech professor, a military veteran, an involved community citizen of his hometown (Carrollton, Georgia), an enthusiastic volunteer, and a generous philanthropist. TOURS OF DUTY A retired Lieutenant Colonel in the U.S. Army, Burson served in the Army Reserves for 30 years. At the age of 70, Burson asked that he be returned to active duty, and he was deployed in Iraq for three tours in 2005, 2006, and 2007, and in Afghanistan in 2009 and 2011 as part of the military’s “Boots on the Ground Physician’s Program.” He earned combat medical badges and commendation medals. Burson, who earned his medical degree from Emory, has had a distinguished medical career that includes service as chief of

staff and chairman of the board of trustees for Tanner Medical Center from 1994-2012, an active member of the Tanner Urgent Care Clinic staff, and a self-employed physician at the Villa Rica Ear, Nose, and Throat Clinic. He is a licensed diplomat of the National Board of Medical Examiners, a fellow of the American Board of Otolaryngology–Head & Neck Surgery, and a fellow of the American College of Surgeons. He is also a professional engineer licensed in Georgia, Pennsylvania, and California.

In the academic arena, Burson was an associate professor and adjunct professor in chemical engineering at Georgia Tech from 1959-1975, an assistant professor at Emory University School of Medicine, and a principal research engineer at the Georgia Tech Research Institute’s predecessor institution from 1959-1975. He received the Regents Award from the University System of Georgia Board of Regents in 2015. He has made extensive philanthropic contributions to Tech through the years.

Korin Reid Named to Forbes 30 under 30 Korin Reid (PhD ChBE 2012), a principal data scientist for Craneware, was recently named to Forbes’ 30 under 30 in Science. After she earned her PhD from Georgia Tech’s School of Chemical & Biomolecular Engineering, Reid entered the field of big data. “I love data – the bigger, the better,” she says. Previously she worked as a data


scientist for McKesson Health Solutions. In her spare time, Reid writes about pop culture and volunteers her time to teach children about the power of science, technology, and engineering. She was one of seven Georgia Tech students and alumni named to Forbes’ 2017 list.


2017 CoE Alumni Awards Three graduates of the School of Chemical & Biomolecular Engineering were honored at the Georgia Tech College of Engineering Alumni Awards in April 2017. They are: • John F. Brock III, BS ChE 1970, MS ChE 1971, Chairman and CEO of Coca-Cola Enterprises. • Catherine Weems, BS ChBE 2014, Process Safety Management Engineer, LyondellBasell. • Matthew Weems, BS ChBE 2014, Manufacturing Improve Engineer, ExxonMobil. The annual induction ceremony, held this year at the Four Seasons Hotel, recognizes those who have set themselves apart through an impact on the Institute, the engineering profession, or society at large.

John F. Brock III (pictured right)

Catherine and Matthew Weems with former College of Engineering Dean Gary May (left)

alumni news & updates Decie Autin, ChE 1980, received a Global Leadership Award from the Society of Women Engineers. She is global operations manager for ExxonMobil. Ashlee T. Cribb, ChE 87, has been named business director for Roseburg’s Solid Wood Business. Paula T. Hammond, MS ChE 88, has been named to the National Academy of Engineering. Himanshu Jasuja, PhD 2014, won one of 3M’s most prestigious technical awards, the Circle of Technical Excellence and Innovation (CTE&I). He is a senior product development engineer. Richard Moore, PhD 2011, published the paper “Biofuel blending reduces particle emissions from aircraft engines at cruise conditions” in Nature. He is a NASA research physical scientist.

Kar Yee Peluso, ChE 2000, was hired by Cantor Colburn LLP in Atlanta. Andrew Peters, PhD 2015, became an assistant professor in the Department of Chemical Engineering at Louisiana Tech University. Nils Persson, PhD 2017, won a postdoctoral fellowship with the National Research Council. He began at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) in fall 2017. Quinta Warren, PhD ChE 2009, coauthored A Practical Guide to Oil & Gas Resource Characterization for Geologists and Reservoir Engineers, a textbook that determines how much oil and gas is in an area, exactly where it is located, and how much it is worth.

Lu Xu, PhD 2016, a postdoc at Caltech, won the Atmospheric Chemistry Colloquium for Emerging Senior Scientists (ACCESS) Award, jointly sponsored by the DOE, NASA, NOAA, NSF, and EPA.

Please send your alumni news to

Giving Opportunities To inquire about making a gift in support of the School of Chemical & Biomolecular Engineering, contact: Donna Peyton Director of Development 404-894-0987



Environmentally Conscious Car:

EcoCAR 3 Team First in Technical Category Each year, Georgia Tech sends a team of engineers to prove that they have designed the fastest, most environmentally conscious car possible as part of the EcoCAR competition. During the third year of the four-year challenge, the College of Engineering’s team was awarded third place overall and first in the technical category. Through this competition, 16 universities compete to redesign, build, and drive a Chevrolet Camaro that has a reduced environmental impact while still retaining the car’s speed, iconic look, and high performance. Georgia Tech’s 60-person team, made up of master’s and undergraduate students from mechanical, electrical, and chemical and biomolecular engineering majors, sent 12 representatives to the third stage of the competition.

Undergrad Peer Mentors

More than half of the first-year students in ChBE began Fall 2017 with assistance from experienced upperclassmen. The ChBE Peer Mentoring program, now in its third year, welcomed 85 freshmen, a record high percentage of our incoming class. Thirty-two mentors were selected this year through a competitive application and interview process. The mentors meet weekly with first-year students, host informative success series topics, and participate with their mentees in social activities and community service events. The ChBE Peer Mentoring program is sponsored by Shell Oil and organized by Academic Advisor Ellen Murkison.


Select Undergraduate Honors For the 17th consecutive year, the Georgia Tech student chapter of the American Institute of Chemical Engineers (AIChE) won the Outstanding Student Chapter Award. Also for the 2016-2017 year, ChBE honored the following students: • AIChE Outstanding Senior Award: Melissa Bruschi (below left) • AIChE Outstanding Sophomore Award: Nathan Sidhu (below right) • Chair’s Award—Outstanding ChBE Senior: David Umo • Chair’s Award—Outstanding ChBE Junior: Taylor Gherardi • AIChE Outstanding Undergraduate Course Assistant Award: Varun Prasat


2017 Graduate Symposium Winners Congratulations to winners of the School’s 29th Annual Graduate Research Symposium, held February 23-24, 2017. Oral Session • 1st prize - Shan Tie, “Process Integration for Simulated Moving Bed Reactor for Production of Glycol Ether Acetate” • 2nd prize - Dmitriy Boyuk, “Leveraging Localized Surface Plasmon Effects in Si Nanowires” • 3rd prize - Nils Persson, “InformaticsEnabled Determinations of the Process-Structure-

Property Relationships in Polymeric Transistor Fabrication” Poster Session • 1st prize - Juan Manuel Restrepo-Florez, “Metamaterials for Mass Diffusion Control” • 2nd prize - Zihao Qu, “Modified Cellulose Nanocrystals Reinforced Acrylate Coating” • 3rd prize - Vincent Li , “Direct Ink Write (DIW) 3D Printed Cellulose Nanocrystal Aerogel Structures”

Three Minute Thesis

PhD student Monica McNerney won first place in the 2016 Georgia Tech Three Minute Thesis (3MT) competition. McNerney won a $2,000 travel grant for “Bacterial biosensors: Lowcost, Field-friendly Nutrition Tests.” The contest challenges PhD students to explain their research in three minutes in a way that someone with no knowledge of the subject would understand. Started at the University of Queensland in Australia, 3MT has spread to campuses around the world.

Students networked with representatives of the 2017 Graduate Symposium’s sponsors: Air Products, BASF, Dow, Eastman, Evonik, ExxonMobil, Lam Research, LyondellBasell, Milliken, Noramco, Phillips 66, Praxair, Scienion, Sealed Air, and Shell.

Select Graduate Honors ChBE recognized students for their achievements at the 2017 Student Honors Luncheon on April 11. Select graduate honors presented include: • Ziegler Award for Best PhD Proposal: Rebecca Han • Ziegler Award for Best PhD Paper: Sylvia Sullivan • Exemplary Academic Achievement: Chaoyi Chang, Benjamin Comer, Brian Khau, Nicholas Kruyer, Zhe Liu, Mingxuan Lu, Ronald Rondon, Xintong Song, Andrew Tricker, Jianyuan Zhai, and Yamin Zhang • Outstanding Performance on the Qualifying Exam: Michael Stellato • Outstanding PhD Thesis: Nick Burtch, Dan Griffin • Outstanding MS Thesis: Jayraj Joshi • Outstanding PhD Proposal: Nathan Ellebracht (below)



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ChBE Magazine 2017  

News from Georgia Tech's School of Chemical & Biomolecular Engineering

ChBE Magazine 2017  

News from Georgia Tech's School of Chemical & Biomolecular Engineering