The University of Massachusetts Amherst
University of Massachusetts Amherst

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Two College of Engineering undergraduate students were among the six so-called “Rising Researchers” designated by the UMass Amherst website Research/Next (Research, Scholarship and Creative Activity for a Brighter Future)Read the Research Next article. The two engineering winners are Chemical Engineering student Xuanting Wang ’16 and Civil Engineering student Marissa Shea ’15. The Rising Research program acknowledges the excellent work of UMass Amherst undergraduate students.

A Chemical Engineering (ChE) undergraduate student, Cameron Johnston, who works under the supervision of  ChE Professor Sarah Perry, won a best poster award at the 2015 American Chemical Society Connecticut Valley Section Undergraduate Research Symposium. The title of the winning poster was “Effect of polymer architecture and zwitterionic moieties on complex coacervation.” Johnston’s research is a collaborative effort between Dr. Perry's lab and Todd Emrick’s lab, with one of his graduate students, Rachel Letteri.

Chemical Engineering junior Katharine Greco has won a highly selective scholarship from the Barry Goldwater Scholarship and Excellence in Education Program. Each scholarship covers eligible expenses for undergraduate tuition, fees, books, room, and board, up to a maximum of $7,500 annually. Greco’s scholarship was one of only 260 awarded nationally this year.

Katrina Rieger, a fourth-year doctoral candidate in the Chemical Engineering (ChE) Department, has been chosen to receive a highly selective and very prestigious 2015-16 Fulbright U.S. Student Award in conjunction with the Germanistic Society of America Award. Rieger will serve as a Fulbright researcher at the Max Planck Institute for Polymer Research in Mainz, Germany. The Fulbright Program is the flagship international educational exchange program of the United States. 

The method that pharmaceutical companies use to develop new chemotherapy drugs is highly inefficient and expensive, costing one-to-ten-billion dollars and seven to 20 years for each drug. Shelly Peyton of the Chemical Engineering Department at the University of Massachusetts Amherst is addressing this critical problem with her new research project, funded by a $500,000 grant from the National Science Foundation CAREER Program.

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.


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