The University of Massachusetts Amherst
University of Massachusetts Amherst

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During the last two weekends in January, College of Engineering faculty and students were involved in two separate workshops that used exciting, educational, and entertaining projects to inform Girls Scouts about the rudiments of chemistry, electronics, and engineering. Some of the products included the gooiest substance since the Ghostbusters got slimed and jewelry that lights up like fireflies on an August night.

Assistant Professor Sarah Perry and Professor William Curtis Conner of the UMass Amherst Chemical Engineering Department have each been awarded individual grants from the American Chemical Society Petroleum Research Fund (ACS PRF). Perry received a two-year, $110,000 ACS PRF Doctoral New Investigator grant for a research project entitled "Designing the Liquid-to-Solid Transition in Polyelectrolyte Complexes.” Meanwhile, Conner was awarded a two-year, $110,000 ACS PRF New Directions grant for a project about “Understanding and Improving the Direct Conversion of Methane to Ethylene.”

John Klier, the new head of our Chemical Engineering (ChE) Department, received an “Industrial Research and Development Award” at the American Institute of Chemical Engineers (AIChE) annual meeting, held from November 8 to13 in Salt Lake City. This award recognizes individuals or teams working in the industries served by chemical engineers for innovation that has resulted in the successful commercial development of new products and/or new processes for making useful products.

Two College of Engineering undergraduate students were among the five so-called “Rising Researchers” throughout the whole university designated by the UMass Amherst website Research Next (Research, Scholarship and Creative Activity for a Brighter Future). The two engineering winners are Electrical Engineering major Zachary Goodman and Chemical Engineering major Thomas McCarthy.

The five Rising Researchers for the fall of 2015 will soon be saluted with a special article about their research and other accomplishments in Research Next.

Professor Rena Bizios, Ph.D., an undergraduate alumna from the Chemical Engineering Department, has been elected to the National Academy of Medicine. Bizios is the Peter T. Flawn Professor in the Department of Biomedical Engineering at the University of Texas, San Antonio. Visit faculty page

Hong Je Cho, a doctoral student on the research team of Professor Wei Fan (Fan Porous Materials Research Group) of the Chemical Engineering Department, won third place in the oral presentation award competition in the Fifth Annual Graduate Student Award Symposium at the American Chemical Society (ACS) fall meeting in Boston. This year seven finalists, chosen from more than 100 applicants pursuing Ph.D. degrees from research institutions nationwide, described their works at the symposium.

The College of Engineering has named John Klier to head its department of chemical engineering, effective Oct. 25.


A member of the National Academy of Engineering, Klier joins the university from The Dow Chemical Co., where he currently serves as global research and development director for the Performance Materials and Chemicals Segment.


Sarah Perry, chemical engineering, recently commented in Chemistry World about efforts to find new ways to deliver nutraceuticals in processed foods. In the Chemistry World article, she said that replacing synthetic surficant emulsifiers with naturally sourced materials would likely be popular with both food companies and consumers.

A feature story in the Daily Hampshire Gazette recently focused on the work of Shelly Peyton, chemical engineering, and her work developing chemotherapy drugs by studying how cancer cells respond to drugs in an environment that mimics human tissue. Peyton and her team of researchers create artificial tissues that realistically mimic various human organs, then test how cancer cells placed in these tissues respond to chemotherapy drugs.

Jungwoo Lee, chemical engineering, is part of a research team that has developed a new design for a microchip that can retrieve microfluidically attached cancer cells for analysis by integrating a three-dimensional hydrogel scaffold into a fluidic device. The research attracted the interest of many websites in the scientific media, including AZOnanoScience DailyWorld ScientificMedicalXpress.comEurekAlert, and BioPortfolio.


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