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Emeritus Professor James Douglas, 83, of our Chemical Engineering (ChE) Department passed away at his home on February 15, 2017. Douglas was a full professor at UMass Amherst for nearly 30 years, was elected to the National Academy of Engineering, and was a recipient of the UMass Amherst Chancellor’s Medal. So great was his influence that a former student established the Professor James Douglas Early Career Faculty Development Award in the College of Engineering in his honor. Read entire obituary.

Professor Michael Henson of the Chemical Engineering Department at the University of Massachusetts Amherst is one of the researchers for a three-year, $650,000 grant to support his research into the roles that various bacteria play in microbial communities. The research project is entitled “Development of Robust Microbial Communities through Engineered Biofilms.” The grant from the U.S. Army Research Office, or ARO, will support research into defining the functions of bacteria in various biofilm (or any group of microorganisms in which cells stick to each other) communities, thereby creating such beneficial applications as modeling new strategies for liquid biofuel production.

Professor Wei Fan and his graduate student Hong Je Cho, both of the UMass Amherst Chemical Engineering Department, are part of a multi-institutional research team that has invented a new technology to produce automobile tires from trees and grasses. The new process could potentially shift the tire industry toward using renewable resources found right in people’s backyards. The research has attracted plenty of media coverage in scientific media, including Phys.org, R&D magazine, Biomass magazine, Science Daily, Minnesota Ag Connection, Ohio Ag Connection, Lab Manager, Rubber World, and SpecialChem4bio.com. The research is led by former UMass Chemical Engineering Professor Paul Dauenhauer, now at the University of Minnesota.

Professor John Klier, head of the UMass Amherst Chemical Engineering Department, has added yet another distinguished accomplishment to his record by being selected as a Fellow of the National Academy of Inventors (NAI). The NAI Fellows Selection Committee chose Klier for induction because he has “demonstrated a highly prolific spirit of innovation in creating or facilitating outstanding inventions that have made a tangible impact on quality of life, economic development, and the welfare of society.”

Assistant Professor Sarah Perry of the Chemical Engineering (ChE) Department and ChE Department Head John Klier are the co-principal-investigators on a research project in collaboration with Camco Manufacturing of Leominster to identify environmentally benign windshield-washer fluids as viable alternatives to those containing volatile organic compounds (VOCs). VOCs are a significant source of environmental pollution and contribute to ground-level ozone and smog.

Shelly Peyton, chemical engineering, and Jae-Hwang Lee, mechanical engineering, are part of a team working to understand cavitation damage in soft tissues and gels with $2.6 million grant from the Office of Naval Research. Read more from the UMass News Office.

The College of Engineering At UMass Amherst is pleased to welcome four new faculty members, beginning in the spring semester of 2017. All four have impeccable credentials and a track record of eye-catching accomplishments. The new arrivals are Emily Kumpel of the Civil and Environmental Engineering (CEE) Department, Amir Arbabi of the Electrical and Computer Engineering (ECE) Department, Lauren Woodruff of the Chemical Engineering (ChE) Department, and Jay Taneja of the ECE Department.

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. 

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