Category: Research

Penn State ChE REU – Integration of Biology and Materials

The Department of Chemical Engineering at The Pennsylvania State University will host a Research Experience for Undergraduates Site focused on the Integration of Biology and Materials May 28 – August 2, 2019. This REU program will provide a 10 week collaborative research experience for undergraduate students aimed at advancing the field and applications of biomolecular materials. Projects will span a variety of topics including design of biomaterials, control of living-nonliving interfaces, and development of processes for effective recovery of biomolecules. In addition to the hands-on research experience, students will participate in a variety of technical and social activities including seminars, facilities tours, and visits to local attractions. Interactions with other REU sites at Penn State and a focus on collaborative work in teams will provide social, research and personal growth opportunities beyond the research project work. Undergraduate students in Chemical Engineering, Bioengineering, Biology, Chemistry, Materials Science, Physics or related majors are encouraged to apply. More information regarding this REU program and an online application can be found at: https://www.che.psu.edu/reu/index.aspx

Program dates: May 28 – August 3, 2019

Award includes: $4,500 stipend, up to $1,900 for on-campus housing, and up to $400 for travel (for non-PA students only).

Selection and eligibility: Selection for this program is based on the applicant’s academic standing, a brief statement of interest, and two reference letters from faculty members. US citizenship or permanent residence status is required. Please see the online application.

Application deadline: February 15, 2019. Applications will be considered on a rolling basis, and applicants are encouraged to submit their materials before the deadline to receive full consideration. Information on how to submit an application can be found at: https://www.che.psu.edu/reu/apply.aspx

Questions can be addressed to Dr. Esther Gomez (ewg10@psu.edu)


DOE Highlights Bioenergy Research

Rebecca G. Ong
Rebecca G. Ong

Work by Rebecca Ong (ChE) and colleagues at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and Michigan State University was highlighted by the Department of Energy, Biological and Environmental Research (BER).

The work compared experimental fuel yields from five different potential bioenergy feedstocks and determined that a lignocellulosic ethanol refinery could use a range of plant types without having a major impact on the amount of ethanol produced per acre.

Diverse Biofeedstocks Have High Ethanol Yields and Offer Biorefineries Flexibility

Evidence suggests that biorefineries can accept various feedstocks without negatively impacting the amount of ethanol produced per acre.

Refineries to convert biomass into fuels often rely on just one feedstock. If the refineries could accept more than one feedstock, it would greatly benefit refinery operation. Scientists at the Great Lakes Bioenergy Research Center investigated how five different feedstocks affected process and field-scale ethanol yields.

Read more at the BER.


I-Corps Funding for Lei Pan

Lei Pan
Lei Pan

Lei Pan (ChE) is the principal investigator on a project that has received a $50,000 grant from the National Science Foundation. The project is titled “I-Corps: Non-Destructive Separation Technologies for Li-ion Battery Recycling.” This is a six-month project.

By Sponsored Programs.

Extract

The proposed innovation minimizes the use of raw materials from mining, enables the long-term material availability, stabilizes the supply chain, and reduces the life-cycle cost. Additionally, recycling Li-ion batteries using the proposed innovation generates zero secondary wastes and thus minimizes environmental footprint.

The proposed technology separates and recovers valuable materials while preserving their original functional integrity. The upcycled active battery materials can be reused in new Li-ion batteries. The proposed solution is much more energy efficient and cost effective compared to the existing processes, for which both processes involve a conversion of active cathode materials to metal alloys or metal ions in solution.

Read more at the National Science Foundation.


Lei Pan Applies Mining Techniques to Battery Recycling

Lei Pan
Lei Pan

Lei Pan’s staff of chemical engineering college students had labored lengthy and arduous on their analysis undertaking, they usually had been completely satisfied simply to be exhibiting their outcomes on the Folks, Prosperity and the Planet (P3) competitors final April in Washington, DC. What they did not anticipate was to be mobbed by enthusiastic onlookers.

Read more at Junkies.tech, by Expo Tech News Junkie.


Spotlight on Becky Ong

Rebecca Ong
GLBRC and Michigan Tech Researcher Rebecca Ong

Love of plants and problem-solving drives bioenergy researcher Rebecca Ong

Growing up, Rebecca Ong was one of the youngest garden club enthusiasts in northern Michigan, a science-loving kid who accompanied her grandparents to club events like “growing great gardens” or “tulip time.” When she wasn’t tending the family garden, she was mucking about in nature, learning from parents who had both trained as foresters.

“My parents really instilled in me the importance of conservation,” says Ong, an assistant professor of chemical engineering at Michigan Technological University and researcher at the Great Lakes Bioenergy Research Center (GLBRC). “From an early age, I had this idea of sustainability and the importance of finding sustainable sources of energy.”

Read more and watch the video at Great Lakes Bioenergy Research Center News, by Krista Eastman.

New Funding

Rebecca Ong (ChE/SFI) is the principal investigator on a project that has received a $32,050 research and development grant from the University of Wisconsin-Madison/Department of Energy. The project is titled “Great Lakes Bioenergy Research Center.”

This is the first year of a potential five-year project totaling $1,316,434.

By Sponsored Programs.


Andre Da Costa on Process Safety

Andre R. Da Costa
Andre R. Da Costa

We don’t know yet what caused the explosion and fires at the Superior, WI oil refinery. The U.S. Chemical Safety Board (CSB), an independent, non-regulatory federal agency, is investigating the incident and it could take weeks to months before the causes of this incident become public information.

What Andre Da Costa, Herbert H. Dow Chair in Chemical Process Safety at Michigan Technological University, says he can tell you is that incidents like this – with an uncontrolled release of energy and chemicals with the potential to cause injuries to the employees and the public, damage to the environment and to property – can be prevented by effective implementation of risk-based process safety principles.

Read more at DOE Science News Source.


NSF Funding for Caryn Heldt on Vaccine Development Study

Caryn Heldt
Caryn Heldt

Caryn Heldt (ChE) is the principal investigator on a project that has received a $300,000 research and development grant from the National Science Foundation. The project is titled “Driving Forces in Aqueous Two-Phase Systems for Vaccine Development.” This is a three-year project totaling $300,000.

Extract

Worldwide, there is a need for less expensive vaccines. To achieve better vaccine coverage, vaccine production processes need to be low-cost and allow for continuous operation, which is not possible with current vaccine production technology. A primary objective of this project will be to explore aqueous two-phase systems (ATPSs) to fulfill the need for new viral particle purification processes that could reduce the cost of vaccines and be run as a continuous operation. ATPS could also reduce the development time for a new vaccine, allowing for pandemic vaccines to come to market sooner. In addition to vaccines, a better understanding of ATPS could aid in future cell separations for advanced cell therapeutics.

Read more at the National Science Foundation.


Caryn Heldt Collaborates on Awarded Paper

Caryn Heldt
Caryn Heldt

Caryn Heldt (ChE) and her collaborators Christian Nwamba and Barbara Radecki from Wayne County Community College were awarded second place in the Best Paper Competition at the 2018 ASEE North Central Section Conference at the University of Akron on March 24. This work was based on Heldt’s NSF CAREER Educational Plan.

Heldt’s group presented “Environmental research to engage community college students.”

Extract: In order to better serve the students that desire a four-year degree and to increase their knowledge of job opportunities with different four-year degrees, a research project was created between a university and a community college. The community college students take weekly water samples over the course of a summer project and test the water for biological and chemical components. This is the first time these students have been exposed to an open-ended laboratory without known results.

Award Presentation
Award Presentation


NSF REU Site at Illinois Institute of Technology, Chicago

REU Site: An Interdisciplinary Research Experience for Undergraduates in Food Safety, Food Engineering, and Nutrition
June 4, 2018 to August 10, 2018, Illinois Institute of Technology, Chicago, IL

Are you an undergraduate student interested in exploring myriad opportunities in food safety, food engineering and nutrition? Food science is a STEM area which produces far fewer graduates than the job opportunities. Would you like to undergo a rigorous mentoring and professional development training along with a paid research internship to fine-tune your skill sets required to become successful scientists, engineers, and entrepreneurs? Wait no further and apply for this paid internship program. You will be trained by eight mentors from Illinois Institute of Technology and Food and Drug Administration for a 10 week period. The selected students will be given a stipend totaling $8,900 by this program funded by the National Science Foundation (NSF) (Award # 1757989).

The goals of the REU program are
1) to provide hands on research experiences to undergraduate students in food safety, food engineering and nutrition to provide exposure to the field (special emphasis will be given to students without previous experience, minority students and students from community colleges)
2) to systematically train the students in transforming basic research ideas into practical applications aimed at solving real world problems for improving the safety and nutrition of our food supply through interactive seminars and discussions
3) to systematically mentor the undergraduate students to hone their research and professional skills through mentoring workshops, student presentations/discussions, interaction with graduate students, and K-12 outreach
4) to expose the students to broader fields of food science to enhance their knowledge in this field (with special emphasis on food safety, food engineering, and nutrition) through seminars and tours, and
5) to train the students on research and professional ethics.

Projects (major focus of the project is given within the brackets)
1) Energy-efficient design of sterilization of foods using pressure assisted thermal sterilization using COMSOL (modeling and simulation)
2) Low moisture food safety of legacy technologies (microbiology)
3) Shedding light on food safety: Application of a novel pulsed light treatment for inactivation of pathogens (engineering and microbiology)
4) Physiological chemistry of plant bioactives in humans (nutrition)
5) Application of cold plasma for enhancing safety of sprout seeds (engineering and microbiology)
6) Understanding transport processes in food processing using COMSOL (modeling and simulation)
7) Affordable nutrition through kinetic hydroponics (engineering design and microbiology)
8) Repurposing food ingredients for controlling biofilms of food-borne pathogens (microbiology)

Requirements
• Be a U.S. Citizen or green card holder currently enrolled in an UNDERGRADUATE program in a science or engineering discipline within the United States
• Available for the entire duration (June 4, 2018 to August 10, 2018) in Chicago for the training
• GPA ≥ 3.00 (if proper justification is provided, a GPA of 2.75 will be considered)

Application procedures
Send the following documents to Kathiravan Krishnamurthy (kkrishn2@iit.edu) by 5:00 PM CST on Monday, April 30, 2018.
• Completed REU application form
• Transcript (unofficial transcript)
• Resume
• Two letters of recommendation (at least one of them should be from a faculty)
• An essay detailing i) why are you interested in this REU program?, ii) what are your goals in participating in this training program?, and iii) what are your career goals and how does this training program will help you in achieving your career goals
• List the projects you are interested in

REU Application Form

Name

Academic year (freshman, sophomore, junior, senior)
Name of the current institution

GPA

Anticipated graduation date

Date of birth

Citizenship status (US citizen, Green card holder)

Address

Telephone

Email

Gender identity (optional)

Ethnicity (optional)

Race (optional)

Do you have disability? (optional)

Preferred REU project(s) – if you do not list any specific projects, you will be considered for all the projects

Would you like to be considered for other projects if your preferred REU project is not available (yes or no)