The University of Massachusetts Amherst
University of Massachusetts Amherst

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The Medical Advisory Board of (Friends For An Earlier Breast Cancer Test®) has awarded a $40,000 grant to Neil Forbes of our Chemical Engineering Department. His grant proposal is titled, “Detection of micro-scale tumors and metastases with non-toxic bacteria.” Forbes proposes a breast cancer detection technique for micro-scale cancer lesions that can discover both early breast tumors and small metastatic lesions after primary tumor resection. His technique for early breast cancer detection would reduce cancer spreading and increase patient survival.

Hong Je Cho, a chemical engineering graduate student working in the research lab of ChE Professor Wei Fan, recently published articles in two of the most impactful journals in the general field of catalysis, meaning the increase in the rate of a chemical reaction of one or more reactants due to the participation of an additional substance called a catalyst. “One of my students, Hong Je Cho, just had two papers published on ACS Catalysis and Green Chemistry,” said Fan.

On May 27, Shelly Peyton, chemical engineering, Caitlyn Butler, civil and environmental engineering, Paula Sturdevant Rees, director of diversity programs at the College of Engineering, recent alumna Rachel Roberts, and graduate student Paula Santiago were all interviewed for a report on the stereotypes about women in engineering and the hurdles they often need to clear in order to pursue careers in the field. During the wide-ranging discussion, Butler pointed out that women often respond differently than men to the grades they get in their courses.

An interdisciplinary team of researchers from the College of Engineering was one of two teams from UMass Amherst to share the 2014 Armstrong Fund for Science Award. Assistant Professors Shelly Peyton and Jessica Schiffman of the Chemical Engineering Department and Stephen Nonnenmann of the Mechanical Engineering Department will receive $30,000 for their project, “Nanomechanics, biofilms and cystic fibrosis.” The purpose of the Armstrong Fund for Science Award is to encourage transformative research on campus that introduces new ways of thinking about pressing scientific or technical challenges.

On April 7, when the ninth annual University of Massachusetts Innovation Challenge final business plan competition was held, mDiagnostics, the  team from the Electrical and Computer Engineering (ECE) Department, garnered $15,000 in prize money to support development and marketing of its reliable, portable, single-use, low-cost, Hepatitis C screening device. The team was led by ECE doctoral student Akshaya Shanmugam and guided by her ECE faculty advisor Christopher Salthouse.

The UMass Amherst chapter of the American Institute of Chemical Engineers (AIChE) sent 25 members to the 2014 Northeast Student Regional AIChEConference, held this year at the University of Connecticut, with 350 students in attendance. The event attracted undergraduate chemical engineering students from 21 schools, traveling from as far away as McGill, Cornell, and Maine, to as near as UMass Amherst and the University of New Haven.

Marianne Sleiman, a junior chemical engineering major from Greenville, Rhode Island, is one of three Commonwealth Honors College students at the University of Massachusetts Amherst to receive scholarships for work in the natural sciences and engineering as part of the highly competitive Barry Goldwater Scholarship and Excellence in Education Program. Goldwater scholarships are intended to foster and encourage outstanding students to pursue careers in the fields of mathematics, the natural sciences, and engineering.

UMass Amherst and College of Engineering Alumnus Barry Bahram Siadat was the recipient of a University of Massachusetts Distinguished Achievement Award at the university’s Undergraduate Commencement Ceremony on Friday, May 9, in McGuirk Alumni Stadium. Dr. Siadat earned his M.S. in Polymer Science and Engineering in 1977 and his Ph.D. in Chemical Engineering in 1979 from UMass Amherst. He is the co-founder, president and managing director of SK Capital Partners.

Alumnus Bevin Beaudet, the director of Palm Beach County (Florida) Water Utilities Department, has been presented with the National Environmental Achievement Award for Public Service from the National Association of Clean Water Agencies (NACWA). Beaudet earned his Chemical Engineering B.S. at UMass Amherst in 1969. The National Environmental Achievement Awards annually recognize individuals and NACWA member agencies that have made outstanding contributions to environmental protection and wastewater management.

Two very well qualified graduate students in the College of Engineering – Alyssa Schwartz of the Chemical Engineering (ChE) Department and Angela Berthaume of the Civil and Environmental Engineering (CEE) Department – won ultra-competitive National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowships this year. ChE Professor Shelly Peyton is the Ph.D. advisor for Schwartz, and CEE Professor Behrouz Shafei advises Berthaume. These two talented grad students were joined by two recent alumni from the ChE department who received NSF fellowships elsewhere.


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