Category: Research

Engineering Research Initiation NSF Grant for Yixin Liu

Yixin Liu
Yixin Liu

Assistant Professor Yixin Liu has has been awarded an Engineering Research Initiation (ERI) NSF grant – “In-Situ Fabrication of Dual-Template Imprinted Nanocomposites for Simultaneous Detection of Glucose and Cortisol.” The total award for this two-year project is $199,972.

Extract

People with diabetes are 2-3 times more likely to have depression than people without diabetes. Meanwhile, depressive or anxiety symptoms, often associated with elevated cortisol (the “stress hormone”), can lead to the onset of type 2 diabetes (T2D). Monitoring both glucose and cortisol levels regularly in a cost-effective and effortless way is highly desired to manage diabetes and stress, and prevent prediabetes from progressing to full-blown T2D.

This project aims to develop an enzyme-free and antibody-free electrochemical sensor to simultaneously detect glucose and cortisol coupled with machine learning techniques.

The knowledge gained from this research will lead to low-cost biosensing devices and manufacturing processes.

Read more at the National Science Foundation.

EAB Poster Session Awardees

Awards
EAB Poster Session Awards announced

Congrats to these students for their posters that were presented to the judges and EAB members on October 22nd in these categories:

  • Undergrad Research
    • 1st, Lauren Spahn/Raisa Carmen Andeme Ela, advisor Rebecca Ong
    • 2nd place, Ethan Burghardt/Seth Kriz, advisor Caryn Heldt 
  • Student Organization
    • 1st, ChemE Car, Sarah Foyer/Emily Leverance,/Axel Valeri, advisor Jeana Collins
    •  2nd place, CPM: Commercial Keg Cleaner, Autumn Cole/Mike Johnson/Cael Hansen/ James Staley/Frank Bruck, advisor Tony Rogers
  • Graduate Research
    • 1st Natalie Nold/Seth Kriz/ Sheridan Waldack/ Alexis Pohkrel/ Pratik Joshi, advisor Caryn Heldt
    • 2nd place, Tinuade Folayan, advisor Lei Pan

#mtuchemeng #mturesearch

ACS Student Research Symposium Awards

Graduate students Seth Kriz and Natalie Nold from Dr. Caryn Heldt’s lab placed third at the ACS Student Research Symposium that was held in Marquette, MI on October 23rd. Ethan Burghardt who is doing research in the Heldt Lab was also awarded 2nd place in the Undergraduate Award Session; Ethan is majoring in Chemistry. Congratulations to all!

The symposium provided a venue for students to present their research in chemistry, chemical engineering, and related fields. This symposium will be an excellent opportunity for students, faculty, and the community at large to learn about the interesting chemistry and related research being conducted in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan. The event was sponsored by the Upper Peninsula Section of the American Chemical Society

#mtuchemeng #mturesearch

Lauren Spahn to Present at AIChE Annual Meeting

Undergraduate chemical engineering student Lauren Spahn’s abstract was accepted for presentation at the 2021 American Institute of Chemical Engineers (AIChE) Undergraduate Student Poster Session. 

Spahn’s abstract, titled “Optimization of Lignin Precipitation with Functional Group Control for Use in Bio-Based Polyurethane Foams,” will be part of the Materials Engineering and Sciences session on Monday (Nov. 8) during the 2021 AIChE Annual Meeting, which is being held in Boston Nov. 7-11 and virtually from Nov. 15-19.

The AIChE Annual Meeting is the forum for ChEs interested in innovation and professional growth. Experts will cover wide range of topics relevant to cutting-edge research, new technologies, and emerging areas in the field. This year’s topic is “Building the Bridge in 21st Century Education.”

Optimization of Lignin Precipitation with Functional Group Control for Use in Bio-Based Polyurethane Foams
AIChE Undergraduate Student Poster Competition

#mtuchemeng

By Chemical Engineering.

Seth A. Kriz Presents Poster at 2021 Alumni Reunion

The Michigan Tech Graduate Student Government (GSG) organized a poster presentation at the 2021 Alumni Reunion in the Rozsa Center on August 6. Presentations are also posted virtually. Among the presenters was Seth A. Kriz, a PhD Student in Chemical Engineering.

Seth A. Kriz
Seth A. Kriz

Seth A. Kriz

Area of Focus

Bioseparations, Vaccine Manufacturing

Topic

Purifying viral vaccines by two-phase aqueous extraction

Project Summary

The World Health Organization (WHO) estimates as many as 650,000 people die annually from the seasonal influenza virus. Viral vaccines are an effective tool to combat this enormous problem, but current manufacturing purification methods suffer from high costs and yields of less than 30%. A switch from batch to fully continuous processing, which is acknowledged by the FDA to increase capacity and product consistency, is necessary to meet demand. Aqueous two-phase systems (ATPS) constructed of inexpensive, environmentally-friendly polymers and salts are an ideal method to replace traditional chromatography steps that rely on costly resins and operate discontinuously. Previously, we achieved over 80% recovery of two model viral products in the polymer phase of ATPS with high host cell protein and DNA removal. However, the purified viral product is too viscous for further polishing by traditional filtration methods. Thus, a polymer removal step is required. Here we developed a second stage of ATPS to back-extract the virus from the polymer-rich primary product into a gentle salt solution ready for polishing. Preliminary results demonstrate that back-extraction completes a fully continuous viral particle extraction process using ATPS.

Play Purifying viral vaccines by two-phase aqueous extraction – Seth Kirz video
Preview image for Purifying viral vaccines by two-phase aqueous extraction - Seth Kirz video

Purifying viral vaccines by two-phase aqueous extraction – Seth Kirz

Utkarsh Chaudhari Takes First Place in GRC 2021 Poster Session

Utkarsh Chaudhari
Utkarsh Chaudhari

Poster Session

First place was won by Utkarsh Chaudhari from the Department of Chemical Engineering for his presentation titled “Systems Analysis Approach to PET and Olefin Plastics Supply Chains in the Circular Economy.”

View the Poster Presentations, Group 2, and the PDF.

This year’s Graduate Research Colloquium organized by the Graduate Student Government was hosted virtually due to COVID restrictions. There were in total 48 presentations — 17 poster presenters and 31 oral presenters.

Poster presentations took place in a pre-recorded video style and the oral sessions were hosted live via Zoom. You can watch all the poster videos and recordings for the oral sessions here. Each presentation was scored by two judges from the same field of research.

Participants were able to gain valuable feedback from these judges before presenting their research at an actual conference. It was stiff competition amongst all presenters.

A hearty congratulations to all the winners at this year’s Colloquium. The Graduate Student Government would like to thank everyone: presenters, judges, volunteers, and GSG supporters, for making this a great event despite COVID-19 restrictions. GSG would also like to hear ways in which this event could be improved next year using this feedback form.

By Graduate Student Government.

Circular Economy Award Announced by DOE

Recycling symbol.

Michigan Tech has received notification of a new award valued at $1,027,008 from the REMADE Institute, a public-private partnership established by the United States Department of Energy and the first institute in the U.S. dedicated to accelerating the nation’s transition to a Circular Economy.

“Along with our partners, we are excited to receive this award for the project ‘Dynamic Systems Analysis of PET and Olefin Polymers in a Circular Economy'” said David Shonnard, PI, Robbins Chair in Sustainable Use of Materials, Department of Chemical Engineering.

The total funding amount is cost-shared between REMADE and Michigan Tech, along with partners Idaho National Laboratory, Yale University, Chemstations Inc., Honeywell UOP, and Resource Recycling Systems.

The project is expected to result in multiple positive impacts, including: 

  • New process models and datasets for systems analysis of a circular economy for plastics
  • Optimized plastics circular economy designs to minimize emissions and costs
  • Case study applications to plastics circular economy designs for the state of Michigan

This award is the second and the largest REMADE awarded to Michigan Tech, and involves co-investigators Robert Handler (Sustainable Futures Institute) and Distinguished Professor David Watkins (CEE).

The project is expected to begin on Sept. 1, 2021. Please send any questions or comments to David Shonnard.

By David Shonnard.

SFI Director Hosts EPA Region 5 Webinar

US EPA Region 5 States
EPA Region 5
Serving Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Minnesota, Ohio, Wisconsin and 35 Tribes

David Shonnard (ChE), director of the Sustainable Futures Institute (SFI) and the Robbins Endowed Chair in Sustainable Use of Materials hosted a webinar and panel discussion on environmentally preferable purchasing (EPP) on August 13, 2020.

The webinar was part of an ongoing project funded by the US EPA Region 5 to disseminate best practices in EPP and is a collaboration between SFI and the Great Lakes Environmental Infrastructure Center, directed by Tim Colling.

The webinar also featured two prominent guest panelists and EPP professionals from the states of Minnesota and California. The webinar video, associated documents, and Q&A can be found on the EPA site. Those with questions/comments may contact David Shonnard.

NSF Funding for David Shonnard on Waste Plastics Conversion Project

David Shonnard
David Shonnard

David Shonnard (ChE) is the principal investigator on a project that has received a $50,000 Federal grant from the National Science Foundation (NSF).

The project is entitled, “I-Corps: Process Intensification in a Multi-Product Waste Polyolefin Refinery.” Ulises Gracida-Alvarez (ChE) and Nate Yenor (Innovation & Commercialization) are Co-PI’s on this project.

By Sponsored Programs.

Extract

The broader impact/commercial potential of this I-Corps project is the development of a low-cost and energy-efficient conversion of mixed waste plastics into an intermediate product that the petrochemical industry can convert into new polymer resin.

This new technology will revolutionize the plastics recycling industry and will allow for closed-loop plastic material flows. The process technology will improve recycling of polyethylene (PE) and polypropylene (PP) plastics from materials recovery facilities (MRFs), significant because PE and PP comprise over 50% of global plastics production and post-consumer waste generation.

The technology is based on rapid conversion at elevated temperature in a reactor with precise control over the molecular conversion mechanisms.

Read more at the National Science Foundation.