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Professor Michael Henson, a faculty member in the Chemical Engineering Department at the University of Massachusetts Amherst, is the principal investigator for a three-university collaborative project, which involves creating mathematical models of “circadian rhythm” generation to better understand sleep disorders and other diseases triggered by the malfunction of this 24-hour “body clock” in humans. The research is being supported by a very significant, four-year, $1,809,385 grant from the National Institutes of Health (NIH).

UMass Amherst Chemical Engineering alumna Dr. Sarena Horava, now employed at Triton Systems of Chelmsford, Massachusetts, was the lead author of an article published in the November 30 issue of the International Journal of Pharmaceutics that describes groundbreaking research leading to the first-ever capsule to treat hemophilia. Horava worked on the historic process during her doctoral studies at the University of Texas Austin Cockrell School of Engineering, where she collaborated with Nicholas A. Peppas, the director of UT Austin’s Institute for Biomaterials, Drug Delivery, and Regenerative Medicine and a Cockrell School professor.

UMass Chemical Engineering alumna Christine Seymour, the director in Global Regulatory Chemistry and Manufacturing Controls at Pfizer Inc, has been chosen as the president elect of the American Institute of Chemical Engineers (AIChE) and will take office in 2018. Dr. Seymour will also serve on the AIChE Board of Directors in 2017. 

The UMass News Office reports that Professor Wei Fan of our Chemical Engineering (ChE) Department is a member of the team of chemical engineering researchers that has developed a new environmentally friendly chemical process to make p-xylene, an important ingredient of common plastics. The new method has a 97-percent yield and uses sustainable biomass as the feedstock. P-xylene is currently produced from petroleum. The team also includes UMass ChE doctoral students Hong Je Cho and Vivek Vattipalli.

In a continuing pattern of outstanding undergraduate research, two of the six students chosen as Rising Researchers at UMass for the fall of 2016 are engineers. The Rising Researcher program celebrates undergraduate students who excel in research, scholarship, or creative activity. This semester’s outstanding engineering undergrads named on the biannual list are mechanical engineering major Victor Champagne and physics and chemical engineering major Robert Johnston. Having multiple engineering representatives among the Rising Researchers has become something of a tradition over the past few years.

Professor Wei Fan of the Chemical Engineering Department is part of a research team that has invented a new environmentally friendly soap molecule, made from renewable sources, that can reduce the number of harmful chemicals needed in soap products. Angela Nelson, writing in Mother Nature Network, said that “This new molecule may change cleaning products forever.” Fan was also a co-author of a journal article, recently published in the American Chemical Society's ACS Central Science, which explained the new discovery. Read the paper, “Tunable Oleo-Furan Surfactants by Acylation of Renewable Furans,” on the ACS Central Science website.

At the 12th Annual UMass Amherst Faculty Convocation on Friday, September 30, Chemical Engineering Department Head John Klier and Professor Joseph Bardin of the Electrical and Computer Engineering Department will each receive one of the Awards for Outstanding Accomplishments in Research and Creative Activity being presented to eight nationally acclaimed faculty members from across the campus. The convocation begins at 11:00 a.m. in Bowker Auditorium, Stockbridge Hall.

On Friday, September 30, the College of Engineering at the University of Massachusetts Amherst will hold its seventh annual Outstanding Alumni Awards Celebration during Homecoming Weekend. The college’s celebration will include be held in the Marriott Room on the 11th floor of the Campus Center at UMass Amherst. The Homecoming Reception & Awards Celebration will begin at 4:30 p.m. During the reception, the College of Engineering will present its Outstanding Senior and Junior Alumni Awards to eight individuals who, through exemplary accomplishments, epitomize the potential of an education at the UMass Amherst College of Engineering.

Senior Chemical Engineering (ChE) major Julie Boshar from North Andover, Massachusetts, is a straight-A student “with a passion for improving healthcare,” the recent winner of a $1,000 Hannah Frilot Memorial Scholarship and $10,000 William M. Bulger Presidential Scholarship, and a member of the prestigious Commonwealth Honors College. But this highly thoughtful, idealistic, and talented young woman can trace her accomplishments to her beloved Giddo (Arabic for grandfather) and his kitchen.

A group of 54 brilliant undergraduate researchers, working on cutting-edge summer projects, will present a joint poster session of their Research Experience for Undergraduates on Friday, August 5, from 10:00 a.m. until noon in the Campus Center Auditorium at the University of Massachusetts Amherst. The four REU programs that will participate in the poster session are all funded by the National Science Foundation (NSF).

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