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Guest Editorial: Our Greatest Challenge by Clinton Bastin, ChE ‘50 ...............................................2



ChBE Welcomes Assistant Professor Lakeshia Taite ..........4



ChBE Welcomes Melisa Baldwin as Its New Director of Development......5

ChBE news

SCHOOL OF CHEMICAL & BIOMOLECULAR ENGINEERING G E O R G I A I N S T I T U T E O F T E C H N O LO G Y AT L A N TA , G E O R G I A

WINTER/SPRING

V O LU M E 1 5

2007-2008

C. Judson King Becomes First Speaker to Deliver Two ChBE Named Lectures C. Judson King, a 45-year veteran of the University of California system, became the first individual to deliver both of ChBE’s named lectures. In 1989, he was the fifth Ashton Cary Lecturer and last fall, he gave the tenth ConocoPhillips/C.J. “Pete” Silas Lecture in Ethics and Leadership. This honor is not surprising given the diverse roles in which he has excelled throughout his academic career. Dr. King officially stepped down from his eight-year position as provost and senior vice president of academic affairs of the University of California system in 2003, but has remained on the Berkeley campus as the director of the Center for Studies in Higher Education. Since joining the University of California in 1963, Dr. King has served in a variety of academic and administrative posts, including as system-wide vice provost for research. At Berkeley, he has served as provost of professional schools and colleges, dean of the College of Chemistry, and chair of the Department of Chemical Engineering. In addition to his academic appointments, Dr. King is also a member of the National Academy of Engineering, has chaired a number of activities of the Academy and the National Research Council, and has been closely involved with the California Council on Science and Technology. He was a co-founder and subsequently chair of the Council for Chemical Research. He has received awards from the American Institute of Chemical Engineers, the American Chemical Society, the American Society for Engineering

Education, the Council for Chemical Research, and the Yale Science and Engineering Association. Dr. King has published more than 240 papers with colleagues and wrote the textbook Separation Processes, which was widely used through two editions. Dr. King’s successes in chemical engineering and in academia are rivaled by very few, making him a natural choice to speak on the ethical challenges facing research universities today. He began his lecture, entitled “Ethics and Leadership: Reflections from a Public Research University,” by commenting that the broad subject of ethics and leadership is one that those who work in science and engineering must pay particular attention, especially those who work at a public research institution. He then narrowed the topic into five major categories of ethical consideration: selection of research topics, handling of ethically sensitive material, relationships with industry and donors, and the less expected topics of admissions procedures and the content of education itself. The drive towards accountability is very important, Dr. King said, and as the climate of ethical concerns changes, research institutions must adapt and change with them. He said that public interest combined with the

financial support of both individuals and industries places universities in a position where they must balance issues such as academic freedom, research topics, and admissions criteria. Citing an issue that arose in California, Dr. King illustrated how public opinion can impact research funding. Once the tobacco industry came under attack after the revelation that they had full knowledge of the addictive and damaging effects of smoking, about 15 different University Continued on page 4


Our Greatest Challenge By Clinton Bastin, ‘50 America’s energy crisis began in 1970 when we lost the ability to produce enough oil to meet demands. The 1973 oil embargo, high gas prices, and long lines at gas pumps were a wake-up call to most Americans. In response to these emerging energy challenges, electric utility companies stopped converting coal plants to oil and ordered the construction of nuclear plants; the Navy built more nuclear-powered ships and submarines; and President Richard Nixon declared a national commitment to effiClinton Bastin cient use of nuclear materials. Additionally, the Atomic Energy Commission implemented changes to avoid problems from the use and export of laboratory reprocessing technology and provided accurate information about energy and nuclear technology to Americans. American individuals and private corporations also consciously began doing their part to use energy more efficiently by developing fuel-efficient automobiles, organizing carpools, insulating homes, and building rapid rail transport systems such as the Metropolitan Atlanta Rapid Transit Authority (MARTA).

Unfortunately, the DOE stopped providing accurate information to the public about energy and nuclear technology. Natural gas became the fuel of choice for generating electricity, which tripled the cost to heat homes and produced additional chemicals in the environment. During the past 20 years, our use of oil has increased 30 percent and continues to rise. President George W. Bush said we must end our addiction to imported oil and build nuclear power plants. However, the Southern Company and other electricity suppliers plan to build new plants. Nuclear power is our safest, least polluting, and potentially most abundant source of usable energy. But nuclear materials must be used more efficiently in facilities that preclude access to or accumulation of weapons-usable materials. Our long neglect of energy issues has created the greatest-ever challenge to America’s leaders, managers, scientists, and engineers. We should learn from the past by applying lessons from earlier energy challenges to the energy crisis we are facing today. Clinton Bastin, ‘50, provided technical leadership for U.S. nuclear programs and nonproliferation initiatives. The Russian Ministry adopted his ideas for worker-manager partnerships for improved safety for Atomic Energy and the Russian Nuclear Workers Union.

During the first twelve years of the energy crisis, our use of oil decreased by 19 percent. Then, America’s leaders created the Department of Energy (DOE) and Americans went back to sleep.

Cracking a Hard Problem: Recovering Calcium Carbonate from Eggs Dr. Jeffrey Hsieh and his team of researchers have successfully developed a novel separation technology and built a pilot-scale separation facility to recover calcium carbonate from eggshells for commercial use. Funded by Georgia’s Traditional Industries Program for Food Processing, the project focused on developing a process that extracts value-added byproducts from eggshell waste. More than 37 million pounds of eggshells find their way to landfills each year in Georgia. Dr. Hsieh proposes that there is an alternative to wasting the calcium carbonate from eggshells because it is renewable and can be used as a partial substitute for mined calcium carbonate, which is used in paper and plastic manufacturing. For example, the calcium carbonate can be used as a component in ink jet paper coatings or compounded into plastics to reduce the use of petroleum-based products.

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is lighter than water and floats out, whereas the calcium carbonate falls through to the bottom. “The ultimate goal is to have a calcium carbonate that is clean, or in other words, has no biologic activity, with a very low level of membrane still attached,” says Dr. Hsieh. The membrane has to be at low levels so that subsequent grinding of the calcium carbonate is not impaired. The research team has been able to make a clean calcium carbonate and reduce the amount of membrane. But, Dr. Hsieh says, the membrane still has to be reduced more. Researchers are now exploring methods to reduce the amount of remaining membrane. “We have shown that the amount of membrane can be reduced to slightly below a two percent level with only mechanical separation,” says Dr. Hsieh. The team has decided on evaluating three different approaches to reduce the membrane.

Working with industrial partner American Dehydrated Foods (ADF), the research team constructed a pilot-scale separation facility at ADF’s egg processing plant in Social Circle, Ga. The pilot-scale system can process 500 pounds of eggshells per day, thus allowing researchers to generate greater volumes of calcium carbonate for use in product testing and to evaluate the system’s design under actual process conditions.

Interest in the project remains strong among industrial collaborators. EvCo Research, a supplier of coating and wet end treatment chemicals to the paper industry; Imerys, a mineral processor; and Heritage Plastics, a plastics compounder and processor, have all expressed a desire to use the calcium carbonate in the manufacturing of their products.

The pilot unit, explains Dr. Hsieh, has a series of washing stations that subject the eggshells to severe agitation in order to separate the membrane from the calcium carbonate. The eggshells are ground into small pieces and fed through the system counter to the flow of water. This countercurrent path helps to separate the membrane from the calcium carbonate. The membrane

Ultimately, the project should yield significant environmental benefits. Dr. Hsieh says that the “successful conclusion of the project will provide the poultry industry with an environmentally better solution than landfilling eggshells. In addition, the calcium carbonate can be used to replace petroleum-based plastics, reducing America’s dependence on foreign oil feedstocks.”


External Advisory Board Profile Carlos J. Barroso, ‘80 Gerri Carlos Barroso’s, ‘80, dedication to his career is equaled only by his passion for his family. Like many who pursue chemical engineering, he enjoyed math and science in high school. Yet unlike most, he also explored the “real world” of the profession prior to entering college. In his senior year of high school, he visited Bell Labs and met with several chemical engineers. Shown left to right: Kay, Michael, Andrew, “I knew immediately that it and Carlos Barroso on vacation in the San was the right choice for me,” Juan Islands. he said. Selecting Georgia Tech for his studies was a logical decision for Carlos because he received in-state tuition and it offered a program in chemical engineering. He appreciated the practical, real-world approach the Institute offered and credits that environment for contributing enormously to his successful career. As a member of ChBE’s External Advisory Board for five years, Carlos has had the opportunity to visit campus numerous times and learn more about the current ChBE program. He says that those same qualities that benefited him in the late seventies are still true today. “I think it’s a point of differentiation among the top engineering schools,” he said. Carlos is extremely impressed with how GT, the College of Engineering, and of course, the school of ChBE have grown in capability since he was a student and he is “very proud and grateful to be an alum.”

A pattern involving food and international enterprise was established early in Carlos’ career. Upon graduation, he was about to decline a job offer from Procter & Gamble until the recruiter, John Brock, ‘70, M.S. ‘71, inquired if Carlos would be interested in the coffee division. The possibility of applying his engineering training to the complexities of the food industry piqued his interest. Carlos says that he “loves the challenge of trying to marry the art of flavor with the science of category and processes.” After three years in Cincinnati, he transferred to Italy to work with P&G’s coffee business. Next, he worked for a few years in P&G’s paper division, which he says was a great experience and included more assignments that were international. However, Carlos says that his “heart remained in the food & beverage business,” so it was a natural fit when PespsiCo’s Frito-Lay division offered him a position in its international research and development group. Carlos started with the Latin American division in 1996, added the Asia Pacific division in 2000, and in 2002, he moved to his current position as senior vice president of research and development for PepsiCo International, which includes all of the company’s food and snack divisions. In addition to serving on ChBE’s External Advisory Board, Carlos serves on the Board of Trustees for the Dallas Opera and has volunteered with Junior Achievement for many years. Although he travels a lot for his job, Carlos often travels for pleasure. He spends almost all of his free time with his wife, Kay, and their sons, Michael and Andrew, who all enjoy skiing, boating, and hiking. The family also enjoys trying new restaurants and Carlos loves all types of food, which, of course, is fortunate given his line of business.

Researchers Address Practical Solutions to Water and Gas Crises Dr. William Koros recently gave an interview to Atlanta television station WXIA reporter Marc Pickard. What was the topic? Precisely what is on every Georgian’s mind right now: the continuing drought and what to do about the state’s water resources. Dr. Koros’ research involves the complicated science of membrane-based gas separation and selected liquid separation topics. As an expert on using high-tech membranes to filter impurities from water, Dr. Koros commented on the feasibility of Georgia employing desalination of ocean water to help solve its water-shortage crisis. “Desalination is really just a super-fine filtration that’s actually able to pull even ions out of the water, and ions are incredibly small entities,” Dr. Koros says. However, although desalination is a relatively simple process that has been used since the end of World War II, he does not believe that it is an economically realistic option for Georgia. Dr. Koros explains that for every 100 gallons of untreated ocean water that come into the filter, 60 gallons come out and return to the ocean, but the remaining 40 gallons come out as purified fresh water. It takes ten times the energy to desalinate

ocean water than to purify ground or surface water, and because Atlanta is landlocked, piping it into the city would be an expensive operation. Atlanta is approximately 250 miles from the shores of Savannah, Ga. and almost 300 miles from Panama City, Fla. Although it is reasonable to understand why desalination is a viable solution for coastal cities like Tampa, Fla., which provides 10% of the city’s 2.4 million inhabitants with fresh water, Dr. Koros says that “I think the wisest thing is not to try to run off and spend a lot of money doing that but rather to figure out how to do things more efficiently.”

The challenge is in producing selective membrane systems that can produce pure ethanol.

Although membranes can be used for water purification, Dr. Koros is currently using water to help solve another crisis on the minds of Georgians, the rising cost of gas. Dr. Koros, along with Dr. Sankar Nair and a team of researchers, is working on two separation projects aimed at improving the energy efficiency of the biofuel process so as to eliminate the expensive and energy-intensive distillation process. A membrane-based approach minimizes the need to supply heat energy, and instead relies on differences in the transport rates of the components through a membrane to achieve separation.

Currently, Drs. Koros and Nair are exploring membranes that contain nanoparticles of porous inorganic materials called zeolites that are so small they can be dispersed efficiently into a polymer matrix. The very specific porosity of the zeolite should allow separation of ethanol from water. By using two membranes in series—the first hydrophobic to remove ethanol from a large mass of water and the second hydrophilic to remove any trace water in the ethanol product from the first membrane—it may be possible to design an economical membrane process for biofuel separation from water.

William Koros (right) and postdoctoral fellow Wulin Qiu working in the laboratory.

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ChBE Welcomes Professor Lakeshia Taite Although it has only been two years since Dr. Lakeshia Taite completed her doctoral and postdoctoral training, the native of Grove Hill, Alabama has already achieved an impressive number of accomplishments, including several awards. After earning her undergraduate degree in chemical engineering from the University of Alabama in Tuscaloosa, where she participated in a computer-based honors program that included research experiences in chemistry and chemical engineering, she entered the graduate program at Rice University. Dr. Taite completed her thesis work in bioengineering titled “Biocompatible Copolymers for Localized Cardiovascular Drug Delivery and Tissue Engineering” in December 2005, and received the Ralph Budd Award for Best Engineering Thesis as well as the Outstanding Thesis in Bioengineering award. Her research focused on development and application of nitric oxide-releasing materials for prevention of arterial disease and increasing patency of small-diameter vascular grafts, as well as development of biomimetic materials for the study of cellular interactions at the vascular wall. In addition to receiving two awards for her thesis, Dr. Taite was a National Science Foundation (NSF) Alliances for Graduate Education and the Professoriate (AGEP) Fellow and an NSF Integrated Graduate Education Research Traineeship (IGERT) Fellow in Cellular Engineering while at Rice. She also participated in research activities within the Center for Biological and Environmental Nanotechnology. Prior to defending her thesis, Dr. Taite completed an NSF IGERT-sponsored internship in 2005 in the Laboratory for Regenerative Medicine and Pharmacobiology (LMRP) at the Ecole Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL) in Lausanne, Switzerland, where she gained research experience in combinatorial chemistry and gene delivery. The LMRP conducts research in the field of biomaterials, with applications in tissue engineering and drug delivery. The LMRP is one of the world’s premier research entities of its kind and tends to select research problems requiring a substantial understanding of biology and the development of novel materials. Additionally, Jeff Hubbell, who heads the group, is one of the top biomaterials researchers in the world. Dr. Taite’s acceptance as an intern at LMRP is a

distinction reflective of her talent at such an early point in her professional career. Dr. Taite joined the School in fall 2007 as an assistant professor after completing an eighteen-month postdoctoral fellowship in bioengineering at the University of Washington in Seattle. Her research focus while at Washington was on synthetic matrices for long-term protein storDr. Lakeshia Taite age, which was part of a collaborative effort funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation’s Grand Challenges in Global Health to develop a rugged microfluidics-based diagnostic device for improvement of global health. A bright smile and infectious enthusiasm for her work are evident to both Dr. Taite’s students and colleagues. She says that she is very excited about being at Georgia Tech and although her research group is just now forming, her graduate and undergraduate researchers are eagerly beginning interdisciplinary research projects. The projects span several fields, including localized drug delivery, diagnostics, tissue engineering, and regenerative medicine with the goal of producing biocompatible materials having broad clinical relevance. After spending eighteen months dealing with the ceaseless rain in Seattle, Dr. Taite says that she is “glad to be back in the South, closer to home and family” and is looking forward to exploring Atlanta. When she is not in the lab, you are likely to find her relaxing with her favorite pastimes, including baking, reading about almost any subject, and listening to music. The School welcomes Dr. Taite and looks forward to the contributions she will make to GT and the chemical and biomolecular engineering discipline.

Ethics continued from page 1 of California professors were pressured to relinquish their funding from the tobacco industry. People believed the tobacco giants could not be trusted to use the results of the research in an ethical manner. Essentially, because they had been deceptive in the past, they lost credibility in the public eye. Now that universities commonly partner with industries to fund and advance research, engineers and scientists must consider not only their own ethical decisions in the lab but also the ethical choices of those who fund their research. “Academic research needs to be cross-fertilized with industry,” Dr. King said. “It helps make things move along more efficiently and more economically.” He believes

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that ethical issues may be controlled through practical policies such as technology licensing, publication policies, facility usage, and handling research misconduct. Scientists must also consider the potential restrictions that may be placed on their research when securing private and federal funding. They must be mindful that when working with industry partners, public access may be restricted due to confidentiality requirements, damaging results may not be publicized, and ownership of patents may not belong to the research investigator. When federal programs fund research, the influence on the nature and scope of the project often increases because scientists

must draft proposals on topics that have a better chance for approval. When dealing with an ethical question, whether it is a sensitive topic such as stem cell research, selection of curriculum content, or industry relations, scientists must put themselves apart from the controversy at hand. Dr. King said that it is “useful and perhaps necessary when dealing with these issues that you have to be able to explain to all sides that you are looking at it seriously, that you do not have a predetermined position, and that you are simply looking for the best outcome and taking all views into account.” Dr. King concluded his lecture by emphasizing that maintaining strict ethical standards is an integral part

of what engineers must do in the laboratory, in the classroom, and in the workplace. The ConocoPhillips/C.J. “Pete” Silas Program in Ethics and Leadership was established to incorporate principles of ethics into the ChBE curriculum and to bring a lecturer to campus each year to speak on practical methods of applying these complex ethical principles in the current scientific community. Dr. King believes that engineers have an advantage when faced with ethical dilemmas. He said, “engineering tends to be solution oriented, and the tools of engineering thinking are useful because of the tendency to be able to structure a very complex situation and derive the essentials back out of it.”


ChBE Welcomes Melisa Baldwin as Its New Director of Development Melisa Baldwin joined the School as the director of development in early May, bringing with her more than ten years of major gift and corporate development experience in a collegiate environment. Melisa Baldwin Melisa previously served as a regional director for Georgia Tech covering Florida and the Caribbean. She says, “I am very excited to be a part of the ChBE team. There are wonderful funding

opportunities in the School, including scholarships, fellowships, chairs, and professorships.” Through her experience working at GT and other college campuses, Melisa recognizes that alumni and friends play a huge role in the success of academic and research programs through their generous gifts. She says, “I look forward to talking with everyone who is interested in learning more about the School and its financial needs to ensure we continue to offer the best education and research opportunities for our students and faculty.” Prior to working at GT, Melisa served as director of major gifts at Georgia State University and worked extensively in development at the

University of Florida and the University of North Florida in the area of health and medicine. Melisa enjoys spending time with family and friends, including her husband, Mark, their two cats, and two dachshunds. They enjoy trivia, playing tennis, and exploring the changing landscape of Midtown and downtown Atlanta. Her experience as a regional director increased her love for travel, and Melisa is eager to visit with ChBE alumni and friends. To inquire about gift opportunities within ChBE or to arrange for Melisa to visit with you, please contact her by phone at 404-894-0987 or via email at melisa.baldwin@chbe.gatech.edu.

Message from the Chair Alumni and Friends of the School: In the last newsletter, I pointed out the importance of transitions and renewal to the vibrancy of an academic community. This year we mark more of these: after 14 years as president, G. Wayne Clough leaves Georgia Tech to become Secretary of The Smithsonian Institution (www.si.edu). The legacy of the Clough presidency is marked by accomplishments in many arenas, including growth in research, enrollments, facilities, and resources. Provost Gary Schuster has been named interim president and, by the time you read this, a Search Committee will have been formed and charged to recommend candidates to the Chancellor of the University System of Georgia (www.usg.edu) and the Board of Regents. Other transitions that I want to highlight include personnel actions that become effective July 1, 2008: Sujit Banerjee has been awarded tenure as professor, Rachel Chen has been awarded tenure as associate professor,Yulin Deng has been promoted to professor and awarded tenure, and Chris Jones has been promoted to professor. Additionally, Lakeshia Taite (see opposite page) joined the faculty last fall. Elsa Reichmanis and David Sholl (look for feature profiles on both in the next issue of ChBENews) joined the faculty in January. Elsa is a member of the National Academy of Engineering, a former President of the American Chemical Society, and was director of the Materials Research Department at Bell Labs, Lucent Technologies. Her research interests include the chemistry, properties, and application of materials technologies for photonic and electronic applications, with particular focus on polymeric and nanostructured materials for advanced technologies. David holds The Michael E. Tennenbaum Family Chair and is the Georgia Research Alliance (GRA) Eminent Scholar for Energy Sustainability. His research focuses on materials whose macroscopic dynamic and thermodynamic properties are strongly influenced by their atomicscale structure.

an outstanding group of faculty members, and the awards and recognitions resulting from their accomplishments confirm that opinion. But I would like to highlight that the group includes six women: Sue Ann Bidstrup Allen, Rachel Chen, Martha Grover Gallivan, Hang Lu, Elsa Reichmanis, and Lakeshia Taite. Michelle Dawson will be added this fall and Julie Champion in fall 2009, bringing the total number to eight. While this is almost 25% of the faculty, our undergraduate and graduate student populations are about 40% women. Don’t get me wrong: I do not think demographics of student and faculty populations need to match in order to have great educational and research programs; on the other hand, we want our students to see and have the full range of career opportunities, so matching these demographics is a desirable goal. Accordingly, while we take pride in the number of women who are our colleagues, we recognize that our goal is still before us, both with respect to gender and even more dramatically with respect to progress in developing ethnic diversity. Many of you had communications with Jenny Daley Peterson in her role as director of development for ChBE, and know that she left GT to accept a part-time role with The Children’s School in Atlanta. We are happy to introduce Melisa Baldwin (see above) as the new director of development for ChBE. She is an experienced development officer, having been a GT regional director of development with responsibilities for Florida and the Caribbean since January 2007, and prior to that, director of major gifts at Georgia State University. I am confident you will enjoy meeting with her as she interacts with you in fulfilling our development goals. Finally, congratulations go to our outstanding graduates—for the year (Summer 07 through Spring 08), 60 B.S., 5 M.S., and 31 Ph.D. degrees were awarded. We trust that they will go on to successful careers and that some will join their forerunners that were honored with College of Engineering Awards in November: Hall of Fame: John Burson, ‘55, M.S. Met ‘63, Ph.D. ChE ‘64 and George Spindler, ‘61; Academy of Distinguished Engineering Alumni: Lewis Lee Rich, ‘74 and Richard Zalesky, ‘78; Council of Outstanding Young Engineering Alumni: Dan Floyd, ‘97 and Brittany Robinson, ‘95. Visit the website chbe.gatech.edu/alumni/awards.php to see the names of all past award winners and criteria for nominations. Please send me the names and brief biographical and professional information on those you consider appropriate nominations. My email address is rwr@chbe.gatech.edu.

The School of Chemical & Biomolecular Engineering has

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Faculty & Student News Briefs Dr. Sue Ann Bidstrup Allen recently received two awards. She was selected by the Council for Chemical Research to receive the 2007-08 Diversity Award. The award is given to an individual whose leadership has had a positive impact on advancement of minorities, women, and underrepresented groups within chemistry-based sciences and engineering through recruitment, retention, mentoring and increased access to research careers. Dr. Bidstrup Allen also received the 2008 Sharon Keillor Award. The award is given by the American Society of Engineering Education to recognize and honor outstanding women engineering educators. Dr. Andreas Bommarius was elected to the College of Fellows of the American Institute for Medical and Biological Engineering (AIMBE). He was selected for this honor because of his exceptional contributions to medical and biological engineering. Election to AIMBE places him within the top two percent of the medical and biological engineering community comprising AIMBE. AIMBE has earned a reputation as a prestigious public policy leader on issues impacting the medical and biological community and is the preeminent voice on the subject. Through its College of Fellows, Academic Council, Council of Societies and Industry Council, AIMBE represents approximately 50,000 influential leaders across the globe. Dr. Victor Breedveld received the 2008 Ziegler Outstanding Faculty Award. Additionally, he developed a 5th grade science module, “Supermarket Science: Complex Fluids in Everyday Life,” which was presented in the classroom in January and at the Georgia Science Teacher Association meeting in Athens in February. (Look for a feature story about the module in the next issue of ChBENews.) The School welcomed four new NSF Fellows in 2007: Krystle Chavez, Andria Deaguerro, Mallarie McCune, and Jennifer Munson. Krystle also received a Goizueta Fellowship and Mallarie received a FACES Fellowship from Georgia Tech. Invited by the Chinese Academy of Sciences, Dr. Rachel Chen gave a talk on “Metabolic Engineering for Medically Important Oligo- and Polysaccharides” at the International Symposium of Industrial Biotechnology held last fall in Beijing. She also received grants of more than $500,000 from the USDA and Georgia Research Alliance (GRA) to develop a novel enzyme system for biomass process (USDA) and cellulolytic microbes for biofuels (GRA). Dr. Yulin Deng’s research group published 16 papers in 2007. His research covers a broad area including nanotechnology, biomaterials and energy, polymers, and papermaking. In collaboration with Dr. Z. L. Wang in GT’s School of Materials Science and Engineering, his research group found that by coating a UV responsive polymer thin layer to a ZnO nanobelt, the conductivity of the ZnO nanobelt could increase 107 times under UV radiation. This nanomaterial can be used to fabricate a highly sensitive nanosensor. This work has been published in the Journal of the American Chemical Society. Dr. Deng was also elected to the editorial board of the Journal of Biomaterials and Bioenergy. Dr. Cerag Dilek, who is a postdoctoral fellow working with Drs. Charles Eckert and Charles Liotta, received a best paper award from The American Ceramic Society, The Nuclear & Environmental Technology Division. The award is for a paper on Recyclable CO2-soluble binders for

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injection molding of metal and ceramic parts that she presented at the 2006 Materials Science & Technology Conference and Exhibition. Dr. Larry Forney wrote chapter 28, “Advances in Disinfection Techniques for Water Reuse,” for the text Improving Water and Energy Management in Food Processing. The book was published in 2007. He presented a paper, entitled “Optimum UV Pasteurization of Juices,” at the World Congress on Ozone and Ultraviolet Technologies in Los Angeles. Dr. Tom Fuller received the Research Award of the Energy Technology Division of The Electrochemical Society. He presented an invited lecture to the physics department at Dalhousie University in Halifax, Nova Scotia in late October. The talk was entitled, “Durability of Proton Exchange Membrane Fuel Cells,” and highlighted the work that his group has been carrying out. The challenges that Dr. Fuller’s research group are addressing include chemical attack of the membrane, carbon corrosion, and platinum instability. His students, Wu Bi, Kevin Gallagher, Cheng Chen and Norimitsu Takeuchi, described progress toward solving these challenges during four presentations at the 212th Meeting of the Electrochemical Society in Washington, DC. Additionally, a recent gift of $200,000 from the Hartley Foundation allowed Dr. Fuller to purchase new research equipment and continue studying the degradation of fuel cells and how to improve/extend the life cycle and technology of these energy devices. Dr. Martha Grover Gallivan gave invited lectures at the University of Pittsburgh, Auburn University, and UCLA. Dr. Dennis Hess was appointed to the Thomas C. DeLoach Jr., Chair. Dr. Christopher Jones received an Instrumentation Grant from Micromeritics that provided his research group with an AutoChem II 2920 Catalyst Characterization System. The instrument will directly enable new research approaches in 21 projects covering four different research groups and will play a central role in catalysis and adsorptive separation research. Dr. Jones’s paper, “On the Nature of the Catalytic Species in Palladium Catalyzed Heck and Suzuki Couplings—Homogeneous or Heterogeneous Catalysis, a Critical Review,” which appeared as the cover article in Advanced Synthesis and Catalysis, has been determined to be the most cited paper of 3,449 total papers published in the major catalysis journals in 2006, according to a search of the Web of Science database of the Institute of Scientific Information (ISI). Dr. William Koros received the 2008 Alan S. Michaels Award for Innovation in Membrane Science and Technology. The $10,000 Michaels Award, sponsored by the North American Membrane Society (NAMS), recognizes outstanding innovations and exceptional lifetime contributions to membrane science and technology. Dr. Hang Lu received the 2008 CETL/BP Junior Faculty Teaching Excellence Award. Recent graduate Andrew Marin, ‘08, was named a Gates Cambridge Scholar. Gates Cambridge scholars are selected on the basis of intellectual abilities, leadership capacity, and desire to use their knowledge to contribute to society throughout the world by providing service to their communities and applying their talents and knowledge to improve the lives of others. Dr. Carson Meredith taught two courses at GT Lorraine in Metz, France last summer. Summer 2007 marked the second year ChBE participated in the program, and 14 students participated. This summer, Dr. Victor Breedveld is teaching in Metz and 15 students are enrolled in two courses. Dr. Meredith also gave an invited lecture at the Materials Research Continued


Excellence Awards Banquet Honors Outstanding Women Engineers The Excellence Awards Banquet is held every year by Georgia Tech’s College of Engineering to celebrate the academic excellence and leadership of its undergraduate female students. This event brings together students, alumni, corporate partners, and Institute leaders to recognize the accomplishments of female engineering students who have achieved “high honors” status by earning a cumulative GPA of 3.35 or above. As a testimony to the excellence of CoE’s female undergraduate students, more than 500 women, representing nearly a third of its female students, qualified for recognition at the event this spring. Ninety-nine of the students are majoring in ChBE. The banquet also provides a platform to recognize student and faculty leaders through Student Mentoring Awards, Faculty Mentoring Awards, and Teaching Excellence Awards, which are given annually. The overwhelming support of many companies for the banquet reflects a genuine commitment to the success and engagement of women engineers as they develop into future leaders. These corporate sponsors are committed to increasing the number of women in the technical, engineering, and scientific fields. The active role of corporate sponsors gives them the opportunity to positively impact the careers of the best and brightest women students at GT. The banquet is made possible by a grant from the Kimberly Clark Corporation. This year, 88 ChBE undergraduate women qualified for recognition by receiving a GPA of 3.35 or above. These students are: Samantha Collins Anderson, Joselyn Baety, Jennifer Botwin, Felicity Brower, Courtney Brown, Viktoriya Buchko, Jessica Ong Calkins, Olivia Campos, Brittney Caristinos, Birgitta Caspersen, Alma Castaneda, Candice Castellino, Sarah Jia-Hwa Chang, Lauren Cheplen, Katherine Croft, Whitney Davis, Kristina Deliso, Caitlin East, News Briefs continued from page 6 Society National Meeting on “Combinatorial Materials Development,” at the Flanders Materials Centre “Workshop on Highthroughput Development of Organic and Inorganic Coatings” in Ghent, Belgium, and at the Dutch Polymer Institute at the Eindhoven University of Technology in the Netherlands. Dr. Sankar Nair received the Sigma Xi Young Faculty Award for 2008. Kimberly Nelson, Ph.D. ‘07, received IPST’s 2007 Student of the Year Award. She conducted her doctoral work under the guidance of Dr. Yulin Deng. Dr. Mark Prausnitz is currently working on a transdermal delivery system for drug and alcohol addiction in collaboration with pharmacists at the University of Kentucky. The ongoing project involves collaboration with researchers in GT’s School of Chemistry and others from Mercer University. Dr. Prausnitz, Jin Liu, Ph.D. ‘04, and their collaborator were issued a new patent entitled “Assessment and Control of Acoustic Tissue Effects.” Additionally, Dr. Prausnitz received $11.5 million, along with Richard Compans at Emory University, as the principal investigators on a pair of grants awarded by the National Institutes of Health to develop self-administered flu vaccine patches delivered using painless microneedles as an alternative to hypodermic needles. Dr. Matthew Realff served as chair of the committee that developed a new sustainable carpet standard, which was approved by the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) and addresses chemicals and materials used in manufacturing carpet, the energy used in production, the use of recycled or bio-based content, methods of disposal and/or reuse, and the overall environmental performance of manufacturers.

Stephanie England, Shreya Erramilli, Yichen Fang, Ashley Farmer, Karissa Fleming, Iva Franjkic, Laura Cullen Frisbie, Erika Gemzer, Anne Guzzardi, Megan Harris, Holly Hicks, Pamela Jackson, Laura Janke, Emily Jennings, Eunhye Jeong, Erica Johnson, Hye Jin Kim, Nisha Mary Kurian, Bomy Lee Chung, Stephanie Lohr, Kristen Long, Amy McDaniel, Kathrine McFadden, Sarah McKibben, Shazia Mohammad, Danielle Murray, Ashley Newton, Cintia Nojima, Mona Himanshu Parikh, Sohyun Park, Jalpa Shantilal Patel, Krupa R. Patel, Nalini D. Patel, Huong Van Pham, Jacey Planteen, Gina Polimeni, Evelina Ponizhaylo, Anita Prakash, Kaycee Quarles, Jacqueline Rand, Alexandra Reavis, Alana Reynolds, Angela Rice, Carrie Ripberger, Erin Rives, Allison Roberts, Lauren Russell, Georgina Schaefer, Sydney Shaffer, Megan Shenstone, Kierston Shill, Amanda Sills, Arlyne Bellamin Simon, Kendele Snodgrass, Stephanie Springfield, Olesya Sukhareva, Jessica Swearengen, Jemilat Bamidele Taiwo, Anne Douglas Talley, Katherine Taylor, Mongquy Vuong To, Kathryn Reid Tramonte, Trinh Phuong Vo, Kellie Walker, Caroline Whitaker, Allison Wing, Meng-Chuan Wu, Hua-Hsiang C. Yu, Merin Zachariah, and Roshu Mary Zachariah. Additionally, 11 outstanding ChBE students received $1000 scholarships at the banquet. Air Products presented awards to Courtney Brown and Erin Rives; Alcoa to Karissa Fleming; Dow to Bomy Lee Chung; IBM to Ashley Newton; Kimberly Clark to Lauren Cheplen, Stephanie Lohr, and Carrie Ripberger; Milliken to Sarah McKibben; and Shell to Erika Gemzer and Jemilat Bamidele Taiwo. ChBE is proud of its best and brightest students and congratulates these 99 women for being some of the best of the best.

Graduate student Keith Reed served as one of four student members on the Georgia Tech Advisory Board for 2007-08. Dr. Amyn Teja presented a seminar entitled “Synthesis and Deposition of Inorganic Nanoparticles in Nearcritical Water” to the college of engineering faculty at Koc University in Instanbul, Turkey at the invitation of their provost, Dr. Yaman Arkun, who was formerly a member of GT’s ChBE faculty. Dr. Teja and his students Anupama Kasturirangan, James Falabella, and Michael Beck also presented three papers at the 10th International Conference on Fluid Properties and Phase Equilibria for Process and Product Design held in Crete, Greece last spring.

ChBE’s Association of Chemical Engineering Graduate Students (AChEGS) held the 20th Annual Graduate Student Symposium in March. Representatives from 12 corporations attended the event where graduate students showcased their research through oral presentations and poster sessions. From first to third place, award recipients for oral presentations were: Michelle Kasner, Michael Romeo, and Vittoria Blasucci, and for poster presentations the winners were: Imona Omole, Chris Gill, and Anne Ruffing. Air Products and Chemicals, Inc. sponsored the second annual Undergraduate Student Symposium in April. The Symposium was designed to provide ChBE undergraduates who participate in research the opportunity to present their work in a public forum. The School gratefully acknowledges Air Products for their sponsorship of both the Symposium and a series of undergraduate awards to support research. From first to third place, this year’s award winners were: Cintia Nojima, Patrick Romine, and Michael Nolan.

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Class News 1963

Charles Guffey has been elected to serve a two-year term on the city council of West University Place, an independent city of 14,000 residents in metropolitan Houston. Charles operates a natural gas consulting business part time.

1987

Luther E. Walke, III has been appointed executive manager of product management for SmartPlant 3D, Intergraph Corp.’s Process, Power & Marine division’s next-generation automated 3D CAD application. He also has been elected by his peers to Intergraph’s Sapphire Circle, a distinction reserved for the top one percent of the company’s employees. Luther lives in Huntsville, Ala., with his wife, Laura, and two teenage children, Edmund and Katherine.

1991

Drew Meunier has joined Fish & Richardson PC’s Atlanta office as a principal in its patent group. Prior to joining the firm, he was the head of Alston & Bird’s chemical and pharmaceutical patents practice group and Atlanta patent prosecution group.

1993

Jim Companik, Ph.D. ‘93, was promoted to director of manufacturing with Motorola, Inc, in Schaumburg, Ill. Jim resides in Algonquin, Ill., with his wife, Jennifer, and son, Clark.

1997

Wendy Lemoine Bosmans and her husband, Olivier, announce the birth of a daughter, Silvie Corinne, on May 29, 2007. Silvie joins sister Eliza, 2, at the family’s home in Durango, Colo. Wendy is an engineer with BP. Steven P. Girardot, B.S. ChE ‘97, M.S. Chem ‘00, recently was named director of Georgia Tech’s Success Programs, which oversees FASET orientation, the GT1000 freshman seminar course, and academic support programs. He also teaches a freshman-level general chemistry course. Steven joined the Institute’s Center for the Enhancement of Teaching and Learning in 2005 after receiving a Ph.D. from Emory University.

1998

Douglas Deal married Lauren Love on October 20, 2007. Doug is working as a software engineer with Progressive Consulting in Macon, and Lauren is an assistant district attorney for the state of Georgia. The family lives in the Macon area.

1999

Steve Richter and his wife, Beth, announce the birth of a son, Nicholas Lindan, on Aug. 25, 2007. Nick joins brother Wil, 2, at the family’s home in Highland Park, Ill. Steve is a research investigator at Abbott.

Mark J. Sackash, Jr. and Kendra L. Sackash, Mgt ‘99, announce the birth of a daughter, Kellyn August, on Aug. 14, 2007. Kellyn joins Kaelyn Mae, 1, at the family’s home in Lafayette, La. Kendra is a part-time CPA with Communications Corp. of America. Mark is a well intervention engineer with Halliburton Energy Services.

Ed Gatzke has been a professor at the University of South Carolina for seven years. Last year he was tenured and promoted to associate professor. At vari-

Jennifer Stoudt Woodson and her husband, Damon, announce the birth of a son, Nicholas Perry, on April 3, 2007. Nicholas Perry joins his sister, Persephone

1995

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ous times he has been graduate director and associate chair for the department. He will be on sabbatical in Germany supported by NSF and the Alexander von Humboldt foundation. He and his wife, Andi, have two children, Drew, 3, and Ellie, 2.

Kathleen, 1, at the family’s home in Macon, Ga.

2000

Becky Ellis and her husband, Jeff, announce the birth of a son, Wittman Ray, on May 17, 2007. He joins brothers Nathan, 1, and Will, 4, at the family’s home in Decatur, Ala. A full-time mother, Becky is an independent consultant with Southern Living at Home.

2002

David A. Reed practices patent law with the intellectual property group of Sutherland Asbill & Brennan LLP in Atlanta. David joined the firm after receiving a juris doctor degree from the University of Virginia in 2006.

2003

Michael David Godbold graduated from Emory Medical School in May 2007. In July, he began a four-year residency in anesthesiology at the University of Tennessee’s medical hospital in Knoxville, Tenn.

Deaths 1942

Glen Fortson Peacock of Trenton, Mich., died on Sept. 21, 2007. Mr. Peacock was a longtime employee of BASF.

1943

William Cotesworth “Billy” Lankford of Tifton, Ga., died on Oct. 22, 2007. He owned and operated Lankford Manor until his retirement. Following graduation, he was commissioned in the Army and served in the European theater. His coastal artillery battery was credited with bringing down the first jet-propelled aircraft. Paul M. Morris of Rockwall, Tex., died on June 11, 2007. He retired from Eastman Kodak.

1948

J. William “Bill” Baros Jr. of Aventura, Fla., died in September 2007. He joined the Miami Rug Co., founded by his father, which he expanded into a group of 35

flooring stores throughout Florida and Georgia. He received the Store of the Year award from the National Retail Floor Covering Association and Man of the Year award from the Jewish Federation mercantile division. He was a founder of Mount Sinai Hospital and the Jewish Home for the Aged and a Pacesetter at the Jewish Federation. He served as international president of the Jewish Vocational Service, which trains mentally and physically disabled people for jobs. During World War II, he served as an ensign aboard a battleship in the North Atlantic.

1950

Jack Peck Haunson of Atlanta died on Aug. 9, 2007. A chemical engineer, Jack worked for AMAX, Cities Service and Tennessee Corp. and was an industrial training consultant for the Georgia Department of Education. He later founded Haunson Realty with his wife. He served in the Army Air Corps during World War II. In later years, he was a volunteer with the Benson Center in Sandy Springs, Ga., Veterans of Foreign Wars, and American Legion.

1953

W. D. Bradbury Jr., B.S. ChE ‘53, M.S. ChE ‘59, of The Woodlands, Tex., died on Aug. 27, 2007. He retired from the Union Carbide Technical Center in South Charleston, W.Va., after 34 years of service.

1960

John Douglas Askew Jr., B.S. ChE ‘60, M.S. ChE ‘61, passed away on Dec. 26, 2006. He was retired from Texaco, Inc. He died of acute cardiac arrest. He had battled cardiac disease since 1984. He is survived by his wife of 47 years, Maxine, and two children. He was in ROTC at GT and retired from the Army with the rank of Major.


Alumni Profile Dr. W. John Lee, ‘59, M.S. ChE ‘61, Ph.D. ChE ‘63 Dr. W. John Lee, ‘59, M.S. ChE ‘61, Ph.D. ChE ‘63, Regents Professor and holder of the L.F. Peterson Endowed Chair in the Harold Vance Department of Petroleum Engineering at Texas A&M University, has dedicated his professional life to exploring practical approaches to managing the petroleum energy challenges facing the nation. As a worldrenowned expert in his field, he has been appointed to two individual supply- and energy-related assessment committees. Last fall, the Securities and Exchange Commission’s (SEC’s) Division of Corporate Finance appointed him as an academic engineering fellow. He is currently serving a one-year term that will end in August and has been working on various issues related to the disclosure of oil and gas reserves. As the nation faces a continually expanding fuel crisis, petroleum engineering provides crucial tools to evaluate and maintain critical supplies of petroleum. Petroleum reservoir engineering is concerned with maximizing the economic recovery of hydrocarbons from the subsurface. This branch of engineering involves generating accurate reserves estimates for use in financial reporting to the SEC and other regulatory entities. It also plays a vital role in field development planning and recommending cost-effective reservoir depletion schemes such as waterflooding or gas injection to maximize hydrocarbon recovery. John White, director of the SEC’s Division of Corporation Finance, is excited about the opportunity to work with Dr. Lee. He says, “Dr. Lee has a unique background and a distinct area of expertise which I believe will significantly enhance our ability to evaluate, among other things, new technologies that companies may use to assess current, and identify new, reserves. He will also assist us in determining what recommendation we will make to the Commission, if any, about revisions to our current disclosure requirements.” This spring, Dr. Lee was appointed to a second committee, the National Research Council Committee on Understanding the Impact of Selling the U.S. Helium Reserve. The committee operates under the direction of the Board on Physics and Astronomy (BPA) and the National Materials Advisory Board (NMAB) of the National Research Council’s (NRC) Division on Engineering and Physical Sciences. Dr. Lee will work along with other top scientists and engineers to assess the impact of selling the Federal Helium Reserve as well as to examine the availability and reliability of worldwide helium supply, technical opportunities to increase the supply, and the relationships among supply, demand, and market price. Additionally, the committee will assess the current and projected helium marketplace; assess the role that organizational and financial factors play in meeting the goals of the Federal Helium Program; and identify measures that would enable the Program to respond more effectively to the dynamics of the helium industry. “I am honored and excited to have this opportunity to serve again as a member of a National Research Council Committee,” Dr. Lee said. “This committee will be studying an issue of great importance to a segment of the scientific and engineering community in the country and ultimately of importance to the public as a whole.”

transient testing. In spring 2008, he was named a Regents Professor, making him one of only 106 faculty members in the state of Texas who have received the designation to date. Dr. Lee is the author of three textbooks published by the Society of Petroleum Engineers (SPE), Well Testing, Gas Reservoir Engineering, and Pressure Transient Testing. He was elected to the National Academy Dr. W. John Lee of Engineering in 1993, to Georgia Tech’s College of Engineering’s first class of its Academy of Distinguished Engineering Alumni in 1994, and became an Honorary Member of SPE in 2001. His numerous distinctions include receiving the SPE DeGolyer Distinguished Service Medal in 2004, the AIME/SPE Anthony F. Lucas Gold Medal in 2003, the AIME Mineral Industry Education Award in 2002, SPE’s Distinguished Service Award in 1992, the John Franklin Carl Award in 1995, and the Reservoir Engineering Award in 1986. He was named a Distinguished Member of SPE in 1987, and is a past member of its board of directors. Dr. Lee has been an SPE Distinguished Lecturer, has received the SPE Distinguished Faculty Achievement Award, and is an SPE Continuing Education Lecturer. Prior to joining the Texas A&M faculty, Dr. Lee worked for the Reservoir Studies Division of Exxon Production Research Company from 1962 to 1968. His work focused on simulator reservoir studies of major Exxon reservoirs in Saudi Arabia, Venezuela, and south Texas. Afterwards, he joined and later headed Exxon Company, USA’s major fields study group, where he supervised integrated field studies of Exxon’s largest domestic reservoirs. In 1975-76, he was a district reservoir engineer for Exxon’s Houston District. He also joined S. A. Holditch & Associates, Inc., a petroleum engineering consulting company, in 1980, and retired as executive vice president in 1999. Despite adding the additional responsibilities of serving on the preeminent petroleum and helium committees to his already demanding professional life, Dr. Lee manages to find time for some of his favorite pastimes. He enjoys reading, especially literature, history, and philosophy, which he says that he missed during his college years and early professional life. Dr. Lee and his family also play an active role in their church, where he has been both a teacher and an officer. He and his wife, Phyllis, who is a professional volunteer, have two daughters, Anne and Denise. Anne, the eldest, is an obstetrical nurse in Daytona Beach, Fla., and Denise is a Presbyterian minister in Bartlesville, Okla. Each of their daughters has two daughters, ranging in age from college sophomore to toddler. With Dr. Lee currently in Washington, D.C. fulfilling his duties as an academic engineering fellow on the SEC committee, his wife has had an opportunity to spend more time than usual with their children and grandchildren. When she visits him in Washington, Dr. Lee says, she has been keeping him “alive by giving free advice on cooking and washing clothes, etc.” Somehow, Dr. Lee has managed to add juggling household chores to his growing list of responsibilities!

Since 1977, Dr. Lee has worked at Texas A&M University, where he holds a joint appointment with the Texas Engineering Experiment Station (TEES). His areas of specialization include unconventional resources, reservoir management, gas reservoir engineering, and pressure

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Catalysis, Reaction Kinetics & Reaction Engineering Chemical reactions occur in a variety of different systems and are essential to most technological areas. Research in the field of catalysis, reaction kinetics, and reaction engineering plays an important role in the development and improvement of numerous applications, including the network of reactions during combustion, the chain reactions that form polymers, the multiple steps in the synthesis of complex pharmaceutical molecules, and the specialized reactions of proteins and metabolism. Catalysts influence the rate of a reaction. Chemical and biomolecular engineers study catalysts with the goals of improving the reaction conditions, emphasizing a desired product, or reducing waste. They are researched to develop methods for increasing production, improving the reaction conditions, and emphasizing a desired product. Chemical engineers design catalysts that are highly effective and stable and then they develop methods to manufacture them. Current topics under investigation in the School include: • Kinetics and mechanisms of reactions in solution • Reactions and catalysis in supercritical and gas-expanded fluids • Phase transfer catalysis • Tunable fluids for asymmetric catalysis • Dispersed-phase polymerization • Homogeneous catalyst immobilization • Ziegler-Natta and metallocene-mediated olefin polymerization • Zeolite catalysts • Catalysis and biocatalysis for pharmaceutical and fine chemical production • Deactivation mechanisms of protein-based catalysts • Engineering metal-mediated catalytic reactions in the presence of sulfur • Catalysis and reaction engineering for clean-up of paper-making waste

Pradeep Agrawal Dr. Agrawal’s research interests are in the area of heterogeneous catalysis and reaction engineering. His current focus is on the development of catalytic pathways for converting renewable biomass to chemicals that can serve as precursors or additives for fuels. The U.S. has an abundant supply of coal as well as renewable biomass. Coal received a lot of attention 2530 years ago as a feedstock for liquid fuels and other chemicals, but there are two main problems with coal as an energy source which are not a factor in renewable biomass: (i) coal typically has high sulfur content (3-5 wt%), and (ii) it increases carbon dioxide in the environment. In contrast, renewable biomass is CO2-neutral, and has only a small sulfur content (less than 0.1 wt%). The chemistry of biomass conversion, on the other hand, has added complexity because of the presence of oxygen and different structures formed in natural products, which vary from source to source.

The profiles on this page highlight catalysts, reactors, and reaction processes research under investigation by Drs. Agrawal, Chen, and Jones.

Working in collaboration with Dr. Chris Jones, this work focuses on loblolly pine and switchgrass. A number of non-enzymatic pathways are being studied to separate the basic components of the lignocellulosic feed. The aim is to develop a basic understanding of the effect of various processing variables and how the yields and formation of different species are affected. The next step is to investigate different approaches for catalytic upgrading of the chemicals obtained in the first stage. Catalytic upgrading may involve (i) removal of oxygen from the products (containing C, H, and O) obtained in the first stage, and (ii) developing catalytic pathways for tailoring the product’s molecular size so it can serve as a direct fuel additive.

Rachel Chen

Chris Jones

Dr. Chen’s group is capturing the excitement of the most recent developments in biological sciences and applying the most advanced technology in engineering microbial catalysts for valuable biomolecules. Two application areas are highlighted as follows.

Dr. Jones is broadly interested in problems at the interface of synthetic chemistry and chemical engineering. His research group currently works in four related areas: (i) supported organic and organometallic catalysts in organic synthesis, (ii) polymerization, (iii) new materials for separations, and (iv) conversion of biomass into fuels and chemicals.

As molecular recognition elements, sugar moieties of glycoproteins and glycolipids play crucial roles in many biological processes, including numerous disease-causing events. As such, they are a new class of molecules with excellent therapeutic potential for a broad range of diseases such as cancer. Despite impressive progress in carbohydrate synthesis in recent years, the difficulty associated with the synthesis is still one of the most challenging obstacles in the clinical development. Dr. Chen’s group has been applying metabolic engineering tools in engineering bacterial catalysts for the synthesis of these valuable molecules. E. coli and Agrobacterium sp. were engineered to produce di- and tri-saccharides epitopes. Recently, Dr. Chen’s lab has successfully engineered both E. coli and Agrobacterium sp. for the synthesis of hyaluronan, a sugar polymer used in ophthalmic surgery and other medical procedures. While engineering microbes for bioethanol is not new, recent scientific and technological advances in biological research, notably the “omics,” have provided powerful tools in engineering more efficient microbial catalysts. Dr. Chen’s group, in partnership with Chevron Corporation, is applying a holistic metabolic engineering approach in developing robust microbial catalysts for ethanol production. Her group is also engineering cellulolytic E. coli and other microbes for broader biorefinery applications.

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Three of these topics concern catalysis and reaction engineering. Supported organometallic catalysts are developed and optimized for important reactions used in the synthesis of complex organic molecules such as pharmaceutical precursors and fine chemicals. A special emphasis is placed on rigorously evaluating the heterogeneity and recyclability of the catalysts, with an interest in developing waste-free processes. Catalysts and processes for polymerization of olefins, by both metal-mediated catalysis and radical polymerization, are also under evaluation. In biomass conversion, Dr. Jones directs a large program in collaboration with Dr.. Pradeep Agrawal as part of the GT Strategic Energy Institute. Working with Chevron as a research partner, new routes for the synthesis of transportation fuels from pine wood are sought. Recently, the Jones group has started programs on new materials for separations. Working with Drs. Bill Koros and Sankar Nair, they are modifying zeolites for use in polymer/zeolite mixed matrix membranes for gas separations. In addition, the Jones group has developed promising new silica-polymer hybrid materials for CO2 capture from coal-fired power plants. These materials could fulfill crucial technological needs in the fight against greenhouse gas emissions and global warming.


Dr. John Burson’s Iraq Journal Portions of this article appeared previously in various Georgia Tech online and print publications and in M.D. News, Western Georgia Edition. Two days shy of his 73rd birthday, Dr. John Burson, ChE ‘55, M.S. Met ‘63, Ph.D. ChE ‘64, reported to Fort Benning, Ga., for a two-week refresher course before shipping out to Iraq for a second tour of duty to join the 31st Combat Support Hospital. In the fall of 2005, the Army called for medical reservists to temporarily relieve active duty doctors, and despite his wife’s objections, the retired Army Reserve lieutenant colonel volunteered. Once he completed the first tour, he received an email asking for him to “sign on for another hitch.” He left for the second time last August and returned before the end of the year. “When I signed in, the sergeant major looked at me funny and asked me how old I was,” Dr. Burson recalled. “He was 50 and proud that he was the oldest soldier in the unit. I told him I had children older than him.” During his first Iraq tour, Dr. Burson cared for wounded soldiers and civilians at a combat support hospital near Baghdad that once served as Saddam Hussein’s private clinic. He was on duty the night ABC News anchorman Bob Woodruff and an ABC photographer were wounded by an improvised explosive device (IED), but because of the severity of their wounds, they were flown by helicopter to a more technically advanced hospital after first being treated in Baghdad. The following is taken from Dr. Burson’s personal Iraq diary: My billet is a two-man room with a young dentist who has been here a year and is getting ready to go back to Germany. I have a nice bed with a real mattress, a small nightstand, and a locker for my stuff. The latrine is just a few doors down the hall. All in all, more than I expected or could ask for. Both my battle buddy and I are attached to the 31st Combat Support Hospital for our duty assignment, but the 535th is responsible for our administrative stuff. This is potentially a very good situation because neither unit really knows

where you always are nor what regulations apply to you, and this can sometimes be an advantage. Most of the soldiers here wear individual body armor, a backpack, a weapon, and a soft cap and usually carry their Kevlar helmet as well. All this stuff is awfully hot and heavy in 130-degree heat. Since my unit is not yet officially here, there are no regulations as to what I wear to work, and there is wide variation among units. So, I wear my ACUs, a soft cap and my weapon. I will don the more stringent stuff when I am instructed to do so. The natural question arises: Are you adequately protected with what you are wearing? I think so. We get a mortar round or two most every day, but getting hit by one is about the same risk as getting run over when you cross the street. The 31st Combat Support Hospital (CSH) is a relatively small hospital, much smaller than the one I was dutied to on my previous tour. Since I am a board-certified surgeon with previous trauma experience at the 10th CSH, one would naturally expect me to be attached to the surgery staff. Not so. Instead, my battle buddy was assigned to the ER and I was assigned to the detainee medical center (DMC). The hospital side of the CSH takes care of both Americans and Iraqis, but the DMC takes care of only detainees, the proper term for prisoners. I take care of detainees and operate on occasion when they need me. The DMC has two main functions. On one day, there is a wound-care clinic where all the shot-up detainees are brought in and their wounds evaluated with dressing changes, etc. After this, rounds are made in the security holding unit. This is a series of solitary confinement cells for bad actors with a small subunit for those with tuberculosis. Medics screen the individual cells for medical problems and the M.D.s evaluate those with complaints. Detainees with a death sentence already rendered by their courts have a red band around their nametags so we can keep a close watch for suicides among them. If they have a problem, which is usually a headache or sore throat, we usually give them a single pill and move on. There are about 60 or so cells and it

takes about two hours to make the rounds. If a patient needs follow-up care, we make a notation and schedule them for the DMC clinic. In the afternoon, we have general sick call for detainees and any that have been designated for follow-up care. We have a lot of middle-aged Iraqis with chronic diseases in the camp, so there is a regular clinic for those with high blood pressure and for diabetes. We have about 3,000 detainees here including some really bad guys, “deck-of-cards types.” There is a much larger camp south of here at Bucca. There are about 30,000 detainees there and there is a lot of transfer activity between here and there. All holding areas here, even the tents, are air-conditioned. For the most part, these guys have much better surroundings than they do in their home villages. They get little or no medical care in their villages, so there is a real incentive for sick guys to get captured and detained where they can get medical care. Every morning on my way to work, I see about four to six full-size buses roll in with new captures from the night before. When there is a sweep through a village with suspected or actual insurgent activity, usually all the adult males are gathered up and brought in for questioning. About 90 percent are Sunnis and the majority are 20 to 30 years old, with a fair number of older guys (the oldest so far being 77) and a sprinkling of juveniles. If there is a fire fight, we bring in the ones we shot the night before and expend a lot of resources in getting them well so they can fight us again. Such are the contradictions of war.

Dr. John Burson

prisoners to hone their skills in clinical care. I have no problem with that. So, that is a typical day at the DMC. On every other day, we have what is called the IHA (Incoming Holding Area). Here, the fresh captures are given a medical screening and those who may need continuing medical care are identified. We usually see about 100 to 150 captures per day. My fellow physicians usually take about 15 minutes per detainee for evaluation, whereas it takes me about 1.5 minutes to screen one. So, I have become very popular with the enlisted medical folks who have to man this clinic—we usually finish about two hours earlier than they did before, and I usually wind up seeing about 70 percent of those seen. You’ve got to be pretty sick to get a follow-up visit to the DMC from me. Don’t get me wrong. I am not ignoring real medical problems, I am just making sure that I am not providing what I consider as unnecessary care for them. I am trying to adopt the Mother Teresa attitude—that is, they are all God’s children and I don’t do anything as an act of commission or omission that would harm them (even though they may have set off an IED and killed fellow GIs the night before). Not being judgmental is not always easy.

Many of the young docs here are just out of residency and are using the Dr. Burson entered Georgia Tech when he was 16 years old. After graduation, he worked at an adhesives manufacturing plant before deciding to return to GT, where he earned his M.S. and Ph.D. degrees. He then remained at GT as an associate professor in ChBE for many years. At the age of 37, he enrolled in medical school at Emory University School of Medicine. His successful medical career led him to establish Chattahoochee Healthcare, LLC, a multi-specialty practice in Villa Ricca, Ga. He has been a strong supporter of GT athletics, has served on the ChBE External Advisory Board, and currently serves as a Trustee of the GT Alumni Association.

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Parting Thoughts

ChBE Recognizes Outstanding Students at Honors Luncheon Pages six and seven of this edition of ChBENews chronicle the recent outstanding achievements of ChBE’s faculty and students, spotlighting the academic accomplishments of its undergraduate women students. In addition to the numerous accolades and awards listed in this section, several other students received recognition at ChBE’s annual student honors luncheon, which was sponsored again this year by Fluor and AIChE and held on April 1. Both undergraduate and graduate students were recognized for their leadership roles in student-led organizations and functions. ChBE undergraduates received the following:

We Welcome Your Questions, Comments, or News

ChBE graduate students received the following:

• Prabuddha Bansal, Chien-Chiang Chen, Jan Krajniak, Jennifer Munson, Swati Rao, and Adriana San Miguel Delgadillo received Exemplary Achievement Awards for receiving an A average.

• Jeong Woo Lee received the 2008 Ziegler Award for Best Paper and Balamurali Balu received the 2008 Ziegler Award for Best Proposal.

• Prabuddha Bansal (written) and Shannon Capps (oral) were honored for outstanding performance on the qualifying exams.

• Jessica Swearengen received the 2008 C. Garry Betty Scholarship.

• Laurent Nassif, Charlene Rincon, and Eduardo Vazquez received Outstanding Teaching Assistant Awards.

• Shu Shu was honored for outstanding achievement on her Ph.D. thesis.

• AIChE presented Kendele Snodgrass with its Outstanding Sophomore Award, Andrew Marin

• Laurent Nassif received the AIChE Outstanding Teaching Assistant Award.

• Twenty seniors, seven juniors, eight sophomores, and nine freshmen received Exemplary Achievement Awards for receiving an A average (3.9 or better for seniors). • Jacey Planteen and Whitney Davis received Air Products and Chemicals, Inc. Awards for 2007-08. • Hyung Jin Oh received the Gossage International ChBE Scholarship for 2007-08.

ChBENews & Alumni News Josie Giles (404) 385-2299 Fax: (404) 385-0185 Email: josie@gatech.edu

with its Outstanding Senior Award, and Joselyn Baety with its Minority Scholarship Award.

ChBE Development Melisa Baldwin (404) 894-0987 Fax: (404) 385-0185 Email: melisa.baldwin@chbe.gatech.edu

• Richard Moore was recognized as a 2007-08 Department of Energy (DOE) Fellow.

ChBE Program Information ChBE Main Office (404) 894-1838 Email: grad.info@chbe.gatech.edu Email: ugrad.info@chbe.gatech.edu

ChBE News—Winter/Spring 2008  

Newsletter from the School of Chemical & Biomolecular Engineering at Georgia Tech.

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