The University of Massachusetts Amherst
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Dr. Bahram “Barry” and Mrs. Afsaneh Siadat of Miami Beach have pledged $150,000 over a five-year period to establish an Early Career Faculty Development Award for supporting the research program of an untenured faculty member in the Chemical Engineering (ChE) Department at UMass Amherst. Strong preference will be given to faculty working in the broad field of bioengineering, a strategic growth area for the department and the College of Engineering that aims at developing revolutionary technologies to improve the quality of human life.

Chemical Engineering (ChE) alumna Rena Bizios ’68 recently lectured here on “Strategies to Promote Mammalian Cell Functions Pertinent to New Tissue Formation for Biomedical Applications.” It was a great opportunity for the ChE department to renew old and warm acquaintances with a former student who has excelled in her field. The highly accomplished Dr. Bizios is currently the Peter T. Flawn Professor in the Department of Biomedical Engineering at the University of Texas at San Antonio. Dr.

Talented and accomplished students from all four departments at the College of Engineering have won numerous awards, scholarships, fellowships, and other distinctions this semester on the national, regional, and campus level. They range from the prestigious National Science Foundation's Graduate Research Fellowship, competing against the best undergraduates in the nation, to a host of awards presented by the chancellor.

A team led by Paul Dauenhauer of the Chemical Engineering Department has discovered a new, high-yield method of producing the key ingredient used to make recyclable plastic bottles from biomass. The process is inexpensive and currently creates the chemical p-xylene with an efficient yield of 75-percent, using most of the biomass feedstock. The research is published in the journal ACS Catalysis. Dauenhauer says the new discovery shows that there is an efficient, renewable way to produce a chemical that has immediate and recognizable use for consumers.

On April 20 and 21, the University of Massachusetts Amherst will host the Northeast Regional Meeting of the National Organization for the Professional Advancement of Black Chemists and Chemical Engineers (NOBCChE). The conference theme will be “Nanotech: Novel Applications and New Opportunities in Technology, Engineering, and Chemistry.” The conference will be held on April 20 on the 10th floor of the UMass Campus Center, and on April 21 in the Integrated Science Building.

Chemical engineering undergraduates Kathryn Geldart and Sarena Horava have both received one of the country’s most highly sought-after fellowships, the National Science Foundation's Graduate Research Fellowship, worth more than $40,000 annually for three years. The fellowship is based on each candidate’s overall undergraduate record, including academics, research experience, internships, awards, publications, college activities, and a research proposal based on the kind of work that might be conducted in graduate school.

Robert Coolman, a graduate student in chemical engineering in the research laboratory of George Huber, discussed his research on building and using biofuels reactions to create green gasoline and critical industrial petrochemicals during a long interview on, a website supported by the National Science Foundation to publicize its funded research. Using a combination of experiments and mathematical models, Coolman designs and builds biofuel reactors and studies how the chemicals that make up plants interact with catalysts to form fuel.

On Thursday, April 12, from 6:00 p.m. until 8:00 p.m., the Boston Globe and the University of Massachusetts Amherst will present a program on climate change entitled “Global Warning!” that features national biofuels expert, researcher, and activist Dr. George Huber of our Chemical Engineering Department. The evening will include a scientific panel on “What is Climate Change?” and a second panel on “How Can We Prevent Climate Change?” The program will take place in the Rabb Lecture Hall of the Boston Public Library, 700 Boylston Street in Boston, and space is limited.

A professional development curriculum created by Professor Surita Bhatia of the Chemical Engineering Department is one of 29 articles selected by the National Academy of Engineering (NAE) to appear in an upcoming report entitled “Infusing Real World Experiences into Engineering Education.” Professor Bhatia’s new curriculum deals with “Incorporating Diversity Education into the Engineering Curriculum: How Do We Train Students to Work in Diverse Teams?” The NAE publication will highlight best practices for recognizing real-world problems in engineering coursework and introducing practical sol

Two new videos deal with the work of George Huber, chemical engineering, who is transforming biomass into the industrial chemicals used to make gasoline, diesel fuel, jet fuel, plastics, and other things. Dr. Huber is interviewed by Chemistry Views here. Meanwhile, the UMass News Office has produced a short video about Huber at


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