News

The Medical Advisory Board of Earlier.org (Friends For An Earlier Breast Cancer Test®) has awarded a $40,000 grant to Neil Forbes of our Chemical Engineering Department. His grant proposal is titled, “Detection of micro-scale tumors and metastases with non-toxic bacteria.” Forbes proposes a breast cancer detection technique for micro-scale cancer lesions that can discover both early breast tumors and small metastatic lesions after primary tumor resection. His technique for early breast cancer detection would reduce cancer spreading and increase patient survival. The proposed research will create a non-toxic and non-invasive Salmonella strain that expresses and secretes an exogenous biomarker specifically in breast cancer, and then this simple “cancer reporter” can be detected in a blood sample.

Hong Je Cho, a chemical engineering graduate student working in the research lab of ChE Professor Wei Fan, recently published articles in two of the most impactful journals in the general field of catalysis, meaning the increase in the rate of a chemical reaction of one or more reactants due to the participation of an additional substance called a catalyst. “One of my students, Hong Je Cho, just had two papers published on ACS Catalysis and Green Chemistry,” said Fan. “The two journals have highest impact factors in the fields of catalysis, one is 5 and another one is 7. The one published in Green Chemistry is one of the most-read articles so far and selected as front cover [see illustration] of the issue in July.”

On May 27, Shelly Peyton, chemical engineering, Caitlyn Butler, civil and environmental engineering, Paula Sturdevant Rees, director of diversity programs at the College of Engineering, recent alumna Rachel Roberts, and graduate student Paula Santiago were all interviewed for a report on the stereotypes about women in engineering and the hurdles they often need to clear in order to pursue careers in the field. During the wide-ranging discussion, Butler pointed out that women often respond differently than men to the grades they get in their courses. “I think there’s a confidence issue,” Butler said. “I think there’s kind of a gender gap there. When a male student gets his first test back, and he gets a less-than-perfect grade on it, he’s like, ‘All right! I passed. I survived. I did all right.’ And then a girl may say, ‘I didn’t do so well on this. I’m not cut out for it.’” Go to WBUR-FM Boston.