Tag: Chemical Engineering

Doctoral Finishing Fellowship Summer 2021 Recipient – Sriram Valluri


Firstly, I want to thank MTU for awarding me the prestigious doctoral finishing fellowship award. I was born and brought up in south India. I did my undergraduate and master’s degree at IIT-Dhanbad, which accepts only the top 1% of students of India every year. For my Ph.D., I was offered a full scholarship at University of Queensland, Australia, and Penn state university, but I rather chose MTU to work under Dr. S. Komar Kawatra.

Prof Komar Kawatra is leading the CO2 capture and utilization research team at Michigan Tech University. Our goal is to capture CO2 from coal-fired power plants at minimal cost and convert CO2 into value-added products like Syn-gas, Oxalic acid, etc. For the last four years, I have worked extensively on carbon capture and utilization projects. I and my team of undergraduate researchers have continuously improved the efficiency of our CO2 scrubber system and also tested the prototype in a pilot-scale environment. We presented our work at International Conferences representing MTU and received applause. I have published several papers on chemical absorption CO2 capture, in high-impact journals.

I Worked on multiple CO2 capture projects and successfully submitted reports. Successfully captured CO2 from Michigan Technological University steam plant as part of my Ph.D. thesis project. I have installed our pilot-scale CO2 scrubber system at the Michigan tech Power plant and reduced the CO2 emissions from 8% to 4%. I have trained Sam Root, a Chem Eng. Freshman on this project, who won national awards in Poster competitions.

Photography and rock climbing are two of my favorite pastimes. I am extremely pleased with my decision to pursue my Ph.D. at MTU. The upper peninsula of Michigan is a photographer’s dream, both in winter and in fall. When I have free time, I like to explore different parts of UP and take some landscape pictures. 

Doctoral Finishing Fellowship Fall 2020 Recipient – Yuesheng Gao

Yuesheng Gao is a Ph.D. candidate in Chemical Engineering at Michigan Technological University. He obtained a Master of Science degree and a Bachelor’s in Mining Engineering at Central South University in 2016 and 2014, respectively.

Yuesheng joined Dr. Pan’s research group in 2017. Since then, he has been involved in multiple projects, including the development of the synchronized tri-wavelength reflection interferometry microscope (STRIM), dust control, oil extraction, graphite purification, and froth flotation. His work mainly focuses on revealing the interfacial interactions and the stability of thin films (TMs) between different materials in liquid/gas circumstances. The findings in his work provide new perspectives in understanding the fundamental mechanisms of diverse separation processes. His contributions to the mining industry and the interfacial science areas have been well recognized.

Yuesheng is grateful for this invaluable opportunity to receive the Doctoral Finishing Fellowship from the Graduate School of Michigan Tech. He also wants to express his appreciation to his advisor, Dr. Pan, for the relentless guidance and encouragement.

Doctoral Portage Health Foundation Assistantship Summer 2020 Recipient – Dylan Turpeinen

I am a 4th year Ph.D. candidate in Chemical Engineering. I have worked in the Heldt Bioseparations Laboratory for 6 years including undergraduate research and have thoroughly enjoyed working in a diverse group of incredible people. My research has focused on the detection of biomolecules with rapid biosensors and the purification of biomolecules. My main project was developing a continuous virus purification process for use in vaccine manufacturing. With an ever-increasing need for life-saving vaccines, my work has the potential to have a real impact on many people’s lives.

I am extremely grateful to have received a PHF assistantship for the Summer 2020 semester. With the assistantship, I have the financial support necessary to publish my virus purification work and complete my dissertation. By the end of the Summer 2020 semester, I will defend my Ph.D. and plan to continue purifying biomolecules in the biomanufacturing industry.

Doctoral Finishing Fellowship Summer 2020 Recipient- Pratik Umesh Joshi

I started my journey at Michigan Tech in Fall 2015. My Ph.D. research has focused on understanding the behavior of viruses (coded in nature and not in computers!) and developing methods for vaccine and biotherapeutic manufacturing. Prevention against the spread of viral diseases has been one of humankind’s foremost challenges. The current vaccine manufacturing strategy to separate target viral products from the contaminants necessitates an upgrade to increase production capacity using low-cost methods. My research is geared towards characterizing viruses to generalize a method to purify various viral-based biotherapeutics. In these graduate school years, perceiving the complexity of viral interactions has intrigued me to pursue a research career to keep investigating in-depth the nature of viruses and other biotherapeutic agents. These answers will help in developing better technologies to process such intricate moieties.

I consider myself very fortunate to be mentored by Dr. Caryn Heldt who guided me to develop an advanced, scientific thinking process. I am very thankful to be awarded with the Finishing Fellowship for summer 2020 and for the support to focus on my degree completion.

Portage Health Foundation Graduate Assistantship Summer 2019 Recipient – Zainab I. Alshoug

Zainab I. Alshoug
Chemical Engineering

In 2013, I graduated from MTU with a master’s degree under Dr. David Shonnard supervision. My master’s research was on biofuel production. Working with Dr. Shonnard was one of the valuable experiences at MTU. Dr. Shonnard’s research group not only strengthened my research skills but also provided me a hand-on experience of working in a lab.

In order to pursue my aim of getting a doctorate degree in Chemical Engineering, I joined Dr. Adrienne Minerick’s M.D.-ERL research group which provided me an opportunity to work on the design of lab-on-a-chip device to measure the level of lipids in human blood by using different art-of-the-state techniques, such as Liquid chromatography-mass spectrometry (LC-MS). It is a great experience working with Dr. Minerick in many different projects include measuring the effect of consumption of different teas in lipid levels in human blood. She is always a source of encouragement and motivation for me.

I am incredibly grateful for the support of my advisors Dr. Adrienne Minerick, chemical engineering program, and the MTU graduate school. I want to express my deepest gratitude to the Portage Health Foundation, which has supported me to focus on my research and to publish my research in the coming summer. With the help of my advisor Dr. Minerick and the support of the Portage Health Foundation, I will be able to accomplish my publication goals and defend my Ph.D. dissertation by the end of December.

Portage Health Foundation Graduate Assistantship Fall 2018 Recipient – Xue Mi

Xue Mi
Chemical Engineering
I am a Ph.D. candidate in Chemical Engineering and has been working on my Ph.D. project in Dr. Caryn Heldt’s lab since 2015 fall. My research has focused on creating methods to remove, detect, characterize, and purify viruses. Virus removal explored cheaper and easier ways to purify water; detection of viruses can be used to determine the cleanliness of surfaces from viral contamination and also possibly as a quick way to screen blood donations for viral contamination in underdeveloped countries; characterization studied viral surface properties to stabilize vaccines; purifying viruses can create less expensive vaccines and other viral therapies and bring them to market faster. All of these projects and applications can help improve both the health of our local population, but also health worldwide.

I want to express my deepest gratitude to the Portage Health Foundation for financial support. It allows me to focus on my paper and dissertation writing for the summer of 2019. I also want to thank my advisor Dr. Heldt for her constant help and generous support throughout my entire graduate school studies.

Three Students Awarded NSF Graduate Research Fellowships

Rose Turner, Gabriela Shirkey and Helena Keller were named GRFP Fellows while Katelyn Kring received Honorable Mention.

Turner, from Berkley, Michigan, graduated from Michigan Tech in December with a bachelor’s in environmental engineering. She was the student speaker for Fall Commencement and is planning to pursue graduate studies in Environmental Engineering here at Michigan Tech

Katelyn Kring, from Portage, MI, graduated from Michigan Tech in December and is continuing as a first-year master’s student in Tech’s Department of Geological and Mining Engineering and Sciences.

Shirkey, from Manitou Beach, Michigan, graduated from Michigan Tech in the Fall of 2013 in scientific and technical communications  and is currently studying geography at Michigan State University.

Keller, from Elk River Minnesota, graduated from Tech in Spring 2014 with a degree in Chemistry. She is currently studying macromolecular, supramolecular and nanochemistry at the University of Colorado at Boulder.

THE NSF Graduate Research Fellowship Program recognizes and supports outstanding graduate students in NSF-supported science, technology, engineering and mathematics disciplines who are pursuing research-based master’s and doctoral degrees at accredited US institutions.

Dean’s Award for Outstanding Graduate Student Teaching Award – Fall 2018 Recipients

Congratulations! Outstanding Graduate Student Teaching Award Fall 2018 Recipients

Dongdong Ge (Civil and Environmental Engineering PhD)
Mohammadhossein Sadeghiamirshahidi (Civil and Environmental Engineering PhD)
Aaron Krieg (Chemical Engineering PhD)
Brandi Petryk (Geology MS)
Christa Meingast (Environmental Engineering PhD)
Luke Jurmu (Mechanical Engineering-Engineering Mechanics PhD)
Mingyang Li (Mechanical Engineering-Engineering Mechanics PhD)
Catherine Tislar (Applied Cognitive Science and Human Factors PhD)
Vagarshak Begoyan (Chemistry PhD)
Sun Nguyen (Environmental and Energy Policy MS)
Jacob Blazejewski (Mathematical Sciences PhD)
Nicholas Videtich (Physics MS)