Pradeep Agrawal Comments on the Use of Biomass to Produce Chemicals and Fuels

Pradeep K. Agrawal
Pradeep K. Agrawal

Sangareddy: Pradeep K Agrawal, Faculty and Chair, Department of Chemical Engineering, Michigan Technological University, US, on Monday said biomass be it agriculture waste, forest residues or crop remanants can be used to produce chemicals and fuels. The discarded portion of municipal solid waste (MSW) was another inexpensive resource for producing hydergen and carbon, he said.

Read more at Telangana Today.

Caryn Heldt on Human Nature Film Event Panel

Human Nature Film showing molecule.Human Nature

Thurs., 10/31, 7:30 p.m.

Adam Bolt, 2019

A breakthrough called CRISPR has given us unprecedented control over the basic building blocks of life. It opens the door to curing diseases, reshaping the biosphere, and designing our own children. Human Nature is a provocative exploration of CRISPR’s far-reaching implications, through the eyes of the scientists who discovered it, the families it’s affecting, and the bioengineers who are testing its limits. How will this new power change our relationship with nature? What will it mean for human evolution? To begin to answer these questions we must look back billions of years and peer into an uncertain future.

A panel discussion with Dr. Paul Goetsch, Dr. Caryn Heldt, and Dr. Alexandra Morrison will follow the film.

This film is sponsored by the Department of Biological Sciences and the Health Research Institute.

93 minutes

Researchers discuss ethics of gene editing

HOUGHTON — Within six years, targeted gene editing has gone from a pipe dream to routine.

Targeting changes became easier with the use of CRISPR (Clustered Regularly Interspaced Short Palindromic Repeats). The system, discovered by scientist Francisco Mojica, is used by bacteria, which use genetic strands from viruses to repel future invasions.

Heldt’s lab works on gene therapy, including how to manufacture large amounts of gene therapy drugs at a reasonable price. They focus on viral gene therapies, where viruses are modified to replicate not themselves, but a gene missing in a person. Clinical trials on gene therapy for hemophiliacs have been promising, Heldt said; they lack the Factor 8 gene, which causes blood to clot. After one dose of gene therapy, people who once had to go to the hospital after incidents as minor as running into the side of a table now have enough clotting ability to go only once or twice a year for more serious cuts.

“One of the really amazing things with this particular therapy is they’re only making 10% of the factor 8 a normal person makes,” said Heldt, director of Tech’s Health Research Institute. “So it doesn’t take a lot.”

Read more at the Mining Gazette, by Garrett Neese.

NSF Funding for Lei Pan on Project to Sanitize Produce

Agriculture and produceLei Pan (ChemEng/GLRC) is the principal investigator on a project that has received a $159,999 research and development grant from the National Science Foundation.

The project is entitled, “Collaborative Research: Bubble Impacting a Curved Surface: A Sustainable Way to Sanitize Produce.

This is a potential three-year project.

By Sponsored Programs.


Cleaning practices using microbubbles have been proven to be a sustainable and environmentally benign sanitation method in a wide range of industrial applications. When a stream of bubbles impact and slide on a surface, contaminants on the surface can be removed due to the strong force generated by the bubbles.

Bubble-cleaning of agricultural produce like fruits and vegetables has not been studied extensively. Potentially, this method could be used to minimize cases of food poisoning affecting millions of people every year, since bubble streams could be used to remove and inactivate pathogenic microorganisms from produce surfaces.

This research project could lead to a novel technology for an environmentally benign sanitization process for raw fruits and vegetables. The method could even be applied to other technological processes such as semiconductor manufacturing.

Read more at the National Science Foundation.

Chemical Engineering Convocation 2019

Chair's Award
Chair’s Award
(L) Summer Oley

Chair’s Award

Dr. Pradeep Agrawal presented this award to Summer Oley.

The Chair’s Award for Outstanding ChE Senior recognizes a particular student in the graduating class whose actions embody excellence. Excelling in academics is expected, but the recipient must also exhibit the traits of character, leadership, and service–to-others that are valued to the department.

Kimberly Clark Communication Award
Kimberly Clark Communication Award
(L) Sarah Boyd

Kimberly Clark Communication Award

Dr. John Sandell presented the award to Sarah Boyd.

This award recognizes the winner of the Award for Excellence in Communication from the Department of Chemical Engineering for the academic year.

Kimberly Clark Professional Ethics Award
Kimberly Clark Professional Ethics Award
(L) Charlie Biyong

Kimberly Clark Professional Ethics Award

Dr. John Sandell presented the award to Charlie Biyong.

This award recognizes a student who has exhibited exemplary ethics and admirable professional conduct during Plant Design and Unit Operations experiences, and throughout their academic career at Michigan Technological University.

PAWS Award
PAWS Award
(L-R) James Sutton, Adam Schmidt, Noelle Eveland, Sarah Boyd

Prevent Accidents with Safety (PAWS) Award

Dr. Julia King presented awards to James Sutton, Adam Schmidt, Noelle Eveland, and Sarah Boyd.

Bredekamp Award
Bredekamp Award
(L-R) Madison Paul, Nicholas Olson, Logan Piegols, Kayla Furmanski, Robert Dupont

Dow Chemical Marriot W. Bredekamp Award

Dr. Julia King presented awards to Madison Paul, Nicholas Olson, Logan Piegols, Kayla Furmanski, and Robert Dupont.

This award recognizes outstanding technical skills in the laboratory, outstanding teamwork and professionalism, effective oral and written communication, and strong adherence to process safety practices as recognized by your peers and supported by the faculty of the department. This award is in memory of Dr. Mariott W. Bredekamp.

Patton Award 1st Place
Patton Award 1st Place
(L-R) Madison Peggs, Laura Nitz, Amelia Henrickson, Maggie Evans

John Patton Senior Design Team Award—1st Place

Maggie Evans, Amelia Henrickson, Laura Nitz, Madison Peggs

Patton Award 2nd Place
Patton Award 2nd Place
(L-R) Andrew Watson and Michael Verbeke

John Patton Senior Design Team Award—2nd Place

Michael Verbeke, Andrew Watson, Missing: Zachary Oldenburg, Sam Root

Patton Award 3rd Place
Patton Award 3rd Place
(L-R) William Otto, Keegan Kroening, Seth Kriz, Bailey Mohrenweiser

John Patton Senior Design Team Award—3rd Place

William Otto, Keegan Kroening, Seth Kriz, Bailey Mohrenweiser

Professor of the Year
Professor of the Year
(R) Dr. Jeana Collins

Professor of the Year

Dr. Jeana Collins

Research Mentors of the Year
Research Mentors of the Year
Dr. Caryn Heldt, Dr. Faith Morrison, Dr. Timothy Eisele

Research Mentors of the Year

Dr. Caryn Heldt, Dr. Faith Morrison, Dr. Timothy Eisele


EPA Awards Student Team to Solve End-of-Life Lithium-Ion Battery Challenge

Lithium ion batteryThe U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced more than $450,000 in funding for six Phase II student teams as part of the People, Prosperity and the Planet (P3) grant program. These teams, made up of undergraduate and graduate students from across the country, are building upon their successes in Phase I of the P3 grant competition where they designed innovate solutions to real-world environmental and public health challenges. With Phase II funding, the teams will now further develop those projects and designs to ensure they can be sustainably implemented in the field.

Michigan Tech is a recipient for the project Separation and Recovery of Individual Components from the End-of-Life Lithium-Ion Batteries.

Read more at EPA News Releases.


The principal investigator is Assistant Professor Lei Pan.

Lithium-ion battery technology has become a state-of-the-art energy storage solution for consumer electronics, electric vehicles, and renewable energy. Because these batteries are expected to last only 2-10 years, they will enter the waste stream after reaching the end of their life cycles. The objective of the phase II project is to scale up the Li-ion battery recycling process from the bench scale that has been completed in the phase I project to a small-scale production prototype.

This project will provide approximately five undergraduate research assistant positions to students of diverse background at Michigan Technological University. These students will gain hands-on experience and interact with industrial partners. In addition, undergraduate students will be given opportunities to attend national and local conferences to present their research. The team will develop a mini mobile lab for high-school and middle-school teachers to teach engineering in their classrooms.


I am writing to draw your attention to the Summer MAterials Research @ Tulane REU site at Tulane University in New Orleans, LA this coming Summer 2019. This multidisciplinary REU site provides material research experiences in the focus areas of Health, Energy, and the Environment. Seminars on graduate study, data analysis, and research communication will be provided as well. Students participating in this 10-week summer experience (May 28th, 2019 thru August 2nd, 2019) will receive a $5000 stipend, on campus housing, and a travel allowance.

To help advertise this new site we ask that you please print and post the flyer attached to this email on your bulletin board and send the flyer out to your sophomore and junior students. Interested students can learn more information on the REU site website (

Thank you for helping us spread the word about our REU site.


Prof. Hank Ashbaugh

SMART REU Director

Summer MAterials Research @ Tulane (SMART) | Tulane University School of Science and Engineering

University of Wisconsin-Madison REU Programs for Chemical Engineering Students

The Department of Chemical and Biological Engineering at the University of Wisconsin-Madison is again hosting an NSF supported REU program for Summer 2019. Please share the attached flyer with interested students. Applications are due by February 15.

Thanks and have a great 2019.



Regina M Murphy

Smith-Bascom Professor

Chair, Department of Chemical and Biological Engineering

University of Wisconsin-Madison