The University of Massachusetts Amherst
University of Massachusetts Amherst

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After winning the UMass Amherst Innovation Challenge and its $25,000 top prize on March 30, a team of UMass graduate students is opening eyes and defogging windshields with a clever invention known as FogKicker. On April 10, Team FogKicker presented its product, a coating technology with potential applications for millions of people, during the Western Massachusetts Economic Development Council 2015 Innovation Tour.

In a recent report published in the German journal Angewandt Chemie, Boston College Associate Professor of Chemistry Dunwei Wang and UMass Amherst Chemical Engineering Assistant Professor Wei Fan unveiled a new method of stabilizing carbon - a central structural component of any battery - that could pave the way to new performance standards in the hunt for lithium-ion components. It is considered a key step in developing smaller but more powerful batteries for cars and other manufactured goods.

A team of researchers led by Professor Neil Forbes of the Chemical Engineering Department published an article in the March 3 edition of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America (PNAS), one of the world's most-cited and comprehensive multidisciplinary scientific journals, publishing more than 3,800 research papers annually. The article, authored by Charles A. Swofford, Nele Van Dessel, and Forbes is titled “Quorum-sensing Salmonella selectively trigger protein expression within tumors.”

Five outstanding undergraduates from the College of Engineering have won awards from the Alumni Association at the University of Massachusetts Amherst. Kelly Kennedy, a senior in Electrical Engineering, won a Senior Leadership Award, recognizing graduating seniors who have demonstrated outstanding leadership and service to the UMass Amherst community. In addition, juniors Myles Baidy of Civil and Environmental Engineering, Justin Calderara of Mechanical Engineering, Jose Lasalle of Electrical Engineering and Physics, and Eric Rice of Chemical Engineering received the William F. Field Alumni Scholars Award.

Wei Fan, chemical engineering, is part of a research team that has found that applying two nano-scale coatings to a unique form of carbon boosts its stability to perform in lithium-air batteries. It is considered a key step in developing new small but powerful batteries for cars and other manufactured goods.

Paul Dornath, a chemical engineering graduate student in Professor Wei Fan’s lab, has recently published articles in two high impact journals in the field of biomass catalysis and Li-O2 batteries. Dornath was first author on a publication in Green Chemistry. Dornath’s article was highlighted by the journal as cover art.

Chemical Engineering (ChE) graduate student Miaomin Zhang and his advisor ChE Professor Neil S. Forbes recently published the cover article of the Journal of Controlled Release (vol 199, February 10th), which has an impact factor of 7.8. The title of the article is "Trg-deficient Salmonella colonize quiescent tumor regions by exclusively penetrating or proliferating."

Senior chemical engineering major Ezra Aurian-Blajeni has won a scholarship from the local chapter of the International Society for Pharmaceutical Engineers (ISPE). Nine Joel Goldenberg Memorial Scholarships were recently presented by the Boston Area Chapter of ISPE, a non-profit, professional society serving the life sciences industry, including college and university students preparing to enter related fields.

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T.J. Lakis Mountziaris, a professor in the Chemical Engineering Department, will be the Distinguished Seminar Speaker for the Chemical Engineering Department at Northeastern University in Boston on January 28. Mountziaris will be speaking on “Synthesis, Functionalization and Biological Sensing Applications of ZnSe Nanocrystals” at 312 Ell Hall on the Northeastern campus from 11:45 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. on January 28. Read seminar announcement. 

Shelly Peyton of the Chemical Engineering Department was recently featured in a long article, written by Amanda Drane of Research Next, about several UMass researchers studying the biological mechanisms that impact the treatment and prevention of breast cancer. Research Next “is the campus's official window into the research, scholarship, and creative activity that distinguishes UMass Amherst as a top research university. Our story is told through the voices of the faculty, students and staff who, through their work, are creating a brighter future for us all.”


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