First-year student Connor MacFarlane of the Chemical Engineering Department won the Innovation Challenge Minute Pitch competition on October 16, thus earning a first-place prize of $1,000 in addition to an audience choice award of $250. MacFarlane’s prize-winning venture is a trailblazing insulin-delivery system for all insulin-dependent diabetics. The Minute Pitch was the initial stage of the four-part Innovation Challenge, which resumes on November 20 with the Seed Pitch.
The UMass News Office reports that Ernest Pharmaceuticals, a startup venture co-founded by Professor Neil St. John Forbes of the Chemical Engineering Department and based in UMass Amherst’s Institute of Applied Life Sciences (IALS), is one of four companies each to win $2,500 from the Massachusetts Technology Transfer Center (MTTC) in a business pitch poster competition in Boston. Forbes founded the company with current Ernest Pharmaceuticals CEO and bioengineer Nele Van Dessel. The MTTC award recognizes the groundbreaking young biotech firm for its research on programmed bacteria that deliver anticancer treatment to tumors.
Associate Professor Jessica Schiffman, the Professor James M. Douglas Career Development Faculty Fellow in the Chemical Engineering Department, is the principal investigator on a three-year, $340,541 award from the National Science Foundation (NSF). The NSF grant will support her research team’s investigation into new membrane technology that was inspired by the Nepenthes Pitcher Plant.
An article posted by the Naval Sea Systems Command reports how Chemical Engineering major Zachary Young says that his experience participating in the Undersea Technology Apprentice Program Unmanned Underwater Vehicle Robotics Competition, sponsored by the United States Navy, gave him hands-on experience to help define his professional goals once he graduates from UMass in 2020. Young is currently an intern working for the Navy’s Division Newport’s Chief Technology Officer.
A team of researchers at the University of Massachusetts Amherst has received a four-year, $1.75-million NSF Designing Materials to Revolutionize and Engineer our Future (DMREF) award to study and construct a new class of soft and stretchable electronic devices that can be used in future healthcare, security, and communications applications.
Peter Beltramo of the Chemical Engineering Department has received a grant of $110,000 over two years for his research project on "Interferometric Imaging and Assembly of Nanoparticles at Fluid Interfaces" from the American Chemical Society (ACS) Petroleum Research Fund. As he says, “We will develop new imaging techniques to understand the electric field response of colloidal particles pinned at liquid-liquid interfaces. This work could lead to new strategies for oil extraction, where electric fields could be used to break down and separate water-in-oil emulsions, which is of great interest to the petroleum field.”
Assistant Professor Ashish Kulkarni of the Chemical Engineering (ChE) Department has been attracting media attention for his four-year, $792,000 grant from the American Cancer Society to advance his interdisciplinary lab’s promising cancer immunotherapy research. The new preclinical research focuses on urothelial bladder cancer, which has a high recurrence rate and has seen limited treatment breakthroughs in recent decades.
Emanuele Abi-Younes, a sophomore in chemical engineering and a graduate of New Bedford High School, was one of four UMass Amherst students who have been awarded $5,000 scholarships from the James J. Karam Scholarship Fund in recognition of their academic achievements and campus involvement. They are among eight students in the University of Massachusetts system to receive the award.
Professor Friederike Jentoft of the Chemical Engineering Department has received a $330,000 grant from the National Science Foundation (NSF) to study new catalysis methods that make chemical processes more environmentally friendly by reducing chemical waste.
Jessica Schiffman, an associate professor in the Chemical Engineering Department (ChE) and the Professor James M. Douglas Career Development Faculty Fellow, will be serving as an ADVANCE Collaboration & Equity (ACE) Faculty Fellow this year, starting in the fall of 2019 and functioning in that capacity for a 12-month term to promote institutional gender equity.