The University of Massachusetts Amherst
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The WebsEdge company has produced a video (You Tube link) for Materials Research Society (MRS) TV that showcases the Materials Engineering Program at UMass Amherst. The video was featured as part of a group of about 15 such videos for materials science and engineering programs/departments that were invited by MRS TV to produce films for the 2014 Fall Meeting of the Materials Research Society in Boston. 

Chemical Engineering junior Shayna Nolan has been honored as a 2014-15 “Rising Researcher” by Research Next, the UMass Amherst website that recognizes the outstanding research, scholarship, and creativity of the students and faculty on campus. The Rising Researcher student acknowledgement program is designed to raise the profile of our most promising undergraduate students on campus and publicly acknowledge their excellent work.

Undergraduate Shayna Nolan of the Chemical Engineering (ChE) Department is one of five students who have been selected to receive the fall 2014 UMass Amherst Rising Researcher student achievement award. This new award, sponsored by the Vice Chancellors for University Relations and Research and Engagement, recognizes exceptional UMass Amherst undergraduate students who excel in research, scholarship, or creative activity. ChE Professor Shelly Peyton nominated Nolan for the award in recognition of her research on cell migration on biomaterial surfaces, conducted under Peyton’s direction.

ExxonMobil has made a generous contribution of $3,000 to support the UMass Amherst chapter of the American Institute of Chemical Engineers (AIChE) and its Chem-E-Car team, which is constructing a chemically powered model car to compete at the 2014 Northeast Regional AIChE Conference at MIT. Every year, a team of approximately 20 dedicated UMass chemical engineering undergraduate students competes in the AIChE-sponsored event.

Professors David Ford, Wei Fan, and Peter Monson of the Chemical Engineering (ChE) Department are involved in new collaborative research grants totaling $866,522 awarded to UMass Amherst from the National Science Foundation (NSF). The first grant of $327,038, involving Ford, Fan, and Monson, started on July 1 and is entitled “Developing New Theoretical Tools and Materials to Improve the Separation Performance of Inorganic Mesoporous Membranes.” 

Neil Forbes of the Chemical Engineering Department at the University of Massachusetts Amherst has received a five-year, $1.56-million grant from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) to engineer what he calls “super-safe Salmonella bacteria” to act as Trojan Horses and deliver cancer-killing agents directly into tumors. His Salmonella vectors – armed with special cancer-ravaging peptides and a gene-disrupting ribonucleic acid (RNA) called shRNA – are designed to steal into cancer tumors, interrupt essential cell processes there, destroy cancer cells, eliminate cancer stems cells, reduce tumor volume, and block the formation of metastases.

Sophomore chemical engineering major Bryanna Dague is the exception which disproves the rule that all engineering majors must be grinds who do nothing but study. In fact, Bry literally recycled her cycling hobby into a professional internship at Sensata Technologies when she was only a freshman. During a long cycling trek around her Norton, Massachusetts, home, she began chatting about a possible internship with one of her workout partners, who happened to run the chemistry lab at Sensata.

On Friday, September 26, the College of Engineering at the University of Massachusetts Amherst held its fifth annual Outstanding Alumni Awards Celebration during Homecoming Weekend. The celebration included two events. The first was a Leadership Panel featuring award winners. The second was the Outstanding Alumni Awards and Reception, involving the presentation of College of Engineering Outstanding Senior and Junior Alumni Awards to eight individuals who, through exemplary accomplishments, epitomize the potential of an education at the UMass Amherst College of Engineering.

Chemical Engineering Professor Christos Dimitrakopoulos was part of a research team whose paper, entitled “Principle of direct van der Waals epitaxy of single-crystalline films on epitaxial graphene,” was published on September 11 in the high-impact journal Nature CommunicationsNature Communications is a multidisciplinary journal that publishes high-quality research from all areas of the natural sciences and has an Impact Factor of 10.742 according to the 2013 Journal Citation Reports® Science Edition (Thomson Reuters, 2014).

During the UMass Amherst Convocation on September 12, Shelly Peyton of the Chemical Engineering Department was presented with one of eight Awards for Outstanding Accomplishments in Research and Creative Activity handed out to campus faculty members. Peyton, the Barry and Afsaneh Siadat Career Development Faculty Fellow, has received several impressive research grants since 2012, including a $2.4-million grant from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) to attack the deadly problem of breast-cancer metastasis in an entirely new way.

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