This summer, senior Anwesh Yerneni of our Chemical Engineering Department completed a highly coveted internship at Tesla, Inc. in Palo Alto, California, in which he worked on several high-profile research projects aimed at improving Tesla’s automotive batteries, the key to the automaker’s groundbreaking electric cars. Yerneni served on Tesla’s Cell Engineering Team doing research based on the company’s own in-house chemical engineering.
Professors Friederike Jentoft and Wei Fan of the Chemical Engineering Department collaborated on a team of chemists and chemical engineering researchers that received a $259,528 grant from the National Science Foundation (NSF) and its Major Research Instrumentation program to acquire a new, state-of-the-art “powder X-ray diffractometer” (PXRD). The team is led by Kevin Kittilstved, assistant professor of chemistry. The College of Engineering and College of Natural Sciences are also cooperating with the Office of the Vice Chancellor for Research and Engagement to contribute another $111,227 toward the purchase of the new apparatus, expected to go into service in early 2018.
New Chemical Engineering Professor Ashish Kulkarni was recently included among the so-called “Talented 12”, an international “dream team” of rising all-stars in chemistry, as chosen by Chemical & Engineering News. Dr. Kulkarni’s baseball-card-style photo on the lively Talented 12 webpage nicknamed him the “Cancer Crusher.” He comes to UMass Amherst after serving as an instructor of medicine at Harvard Medical School and an associate bioengineer at Brigham and Women’s Hospital. Kulkarni’s research efforts have been focused on the development of pioneering, structure-activity, relationship-inspired nanomedicine for cancer therapy. See Kulkarni’s Talented 12 profile
This fall, the UMass Amherst College of Engineering welcomes five new faculty members: Ashish Kulkarni – Assistant Professor, Chemical Engineering Department; Yeon Sik Noh – Assistant Professor, College of Nursing and Electrical and Computer Engineering Department; Yadi Eslami – Senior Lecturer, Electrical and Computer Engineering Department; Jun Yao – Assistant Professor, Electrical and Computer Engineering Department; and Chengbo Ai – Assistant Professor, Civil and Environmental Engineering Department. Read more about their backgrounds and accomplishments.
Chemically and thermally robust fiber mats, capable of carrying “cargo” such as small molecule compounds, hold tremendous potential for applications in which green materials are imperative, such as wound healing, water remediation, catalysis, and food packaging. The catch is that the manufacturing process for such mats traditionally depends on toxic solvents and/or cytotoxic crosslinking agents. In order to produce environmentally friendly fiber mats, Professors Jessica Schiffman and Sarah Perry of our Chemical Engineering Department have received a three-year, $338,180 grant from the National Science Foundation (NSF) Materials Engineering and Processing Program. See NSF award announcement
Chemical Engineering (ChE) Professor Sarah Perry has transformed her class in microfluidics from the sort of dry theoretical course she took in graduate school into the kind of applied, do-it-yourself experience that every engineer loves. Perry designed her course in “Microfluidics and Microscale Analysis in Materials and Biology CHEM-ENG 590E” to give students industrially and scientifically relevant, hands-on, laboratory projects based on microfluidic technology.
Professor Wei Fan of the Chemical Engineering (ChE) Department is part of a team of researchers from UMass Amherst, the University of Delaware (UD), and the University of Minnesota that has invented a process to make butadiene, a key ingredient in synthetic rubber and plastics, from renewable sources such as trees, grasses, and corn. Fan’s ChE graduate student Hong Je Cho is also part of the team. The findings are online and will be published in the American Chemical Society’s ACS Sustainable Chemistry and Engineering.
Jeffrey Davis, Professor of Chemical Engineering, recently received two prominent campus awards: the UMass Distinguished Teaching Award; and the Chancellor’s Leadership Fellow Award. The UMass Distinguished Teaching Award is the highest honor on campus for classroom excellence, and only four awards are made across campus each year. The Chancellor’s Leadership Fellow program is designed to prepare future campus leaders.
Tami Paluca, the academic advisor for undergraduate studies and the director of alumni affairs in the Chemical Engineering (ChE) Department, is the 2017 winner of the Dean’s Service Award in the College of Engineering. “Tami is dedicated to undergraduate advising and oversees many vital aspects of the student experience for ChE,” said Dean Tim Anderson. “Highly regarded by students and faculty, she is known for her excellent advice, tireless work, and deep concern for the well-being of our undergraduates. Tami has proven indispensable as we navigate our way through the significant enrollment increase in the department.”
Professor John Klier, the head of the Chemical Engineering (ChE) Department, and ChE Associate Professor Shelly Peyton were awarded a $25,000 grant from the University of Massachusetts system’s Tech Development Fund, which helps bring cutting-edge UMass research to market. Klier and Peyton were funded for their project to study “Novel associative hydrogels,” aimed at developing new microgel additives for dramatically enhancing coating performance and appearance and enabling new types of water-based coating systems.