Faculty, Staff, and Student News
Congratulations to Ph.D. candidate Md Jasim Uddin for his selection for the 2018 Horn Professors Graduate Achievement Award! Jasim performs research in Dr. Harvinder Singh Gill's laboratory on allergen-free pollen shell as a novel microcapsule to deliver oral vaccines.
Congratulations to Siva Vanapalli, who will be promoted to Professor, effective September 1, 2018.
The Department's mentoring program was kicked off with over 60 matches made between alumni and students.
Congratulations to Srinivasan Raman and Bosong Lin for winning Best TA Awards for their work as teaching assistants in Fall 2017. Srinivas was commended for his masterful knowledge, tireless work, and genuine care for the students in ChE 3322 ChE Thermodynamics 2, whereas Bosong Lin was commended for his knowledge, patience, and outstanding effort in ChE 4353 Process Control. Both students received a certificate and a $ 500 award sponsored by the External Advisory Board.
Welcome to Dr. Mahdi Malmali who joins the faculty as a tenure-track faculty member. Dr. Malmali comes to us after a postdoc at the University of Minnesota. His research area is process intensification.
Dr. Sheima Khatib won the George T. and Gladys Abell-Hanger Faculty Award for teaching.
Dr. Jeremy Marston won the Lockheed Martin Excellence in Teaching Award.
Dr. Gregory McKenna is named Fellow of American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) for his research on phase transitions at the nanoscale and nonlinear mechanics of polymers.
Dr. Sindee Simon was elected co-chair of AIChE's Division 8a (Polymers) at the annual meeting.
Dr. Sheima Khatib has been elected to the Board of Directors of the Fuels and Petrochemicals Division of the AIChE.
Chemical Engineering alumni dinners were held in Houston on Nov. 6 and in San Antonio on Nov. 7. At the Houston dinner, Dean Al Sacco and Chair Sindee Simon gave updates on the state of the department and the vision, and Dale Harper let alums know how they could get more involved.
The ChE Car Team was awarded Most Creative Drive System at the 2017 National AIChE Meeting. Five team members participated at Nationals: (from left to right) Ethan Thomas, Blake Hanford, Cassandra Alvarez, Joshua Holtz (President), and Tyler Chiriboga.
Dr. Carla Lacerda is commended for her advocacy of diversity and equity. She has been selected as Fellow for the 2017/18 Texas Tech Institute for Inclusive Excellence.
Dr. Sheima Khatib won the George T. and Gladys Abell-Hanger Faculty Award for teaching.
Tianyu Chen, Nishat Anjum, and Alex Zapata, all second-year Ph.D. students, were honored to receive the Best TA award for their performance as TAs in the Spring 2016 term. Each received a plaque and a $ 500 check sponsored by the Chemical Engineering External Advisory Board's Fund for Excellence. Tianyu was commended for his knowledge, approachability, and patience in teaching students in ChE 3232 Chemical Engineering Transport Laboratory. Nishat was commended for her patience and ability to explain challenging concepts as discussion leader for ChE 3330 Materials Science. Alex was commended for his his ability to make learning fun and to inspire students in the freshman course ChE 1305 Engineering Analysis.
Valero has donated $ 1 M to build the Experiential Learning Laboratory for the Department of Chemical Engineering. This new teaching laboratory will significantly impact student learning. Read more here
Dr. Gregory McKenna was elected as Fellow in the North American Thermal Analysis Society (NATAS).
Ph.D. student Raul Dominguez was awarded a scholarship from the Hispanic Scholarship Fund, which is given to graduate students based on merit. Raul Dominquez's research focuses on allergy immunotherapy. Raul Dominguez is supervised by Dr. Harvinder Gill.
Ph.D. student Ziye Dong will receive the Biomedical Engineering Society (BMES) Graduate Student Design and Research Award for his work in biodegradable nanofilms for isolating and recovery of cancer cells at the National BMES meeting in October where he will deliver an oral presentation during the “Cancer Technologies” session. Ziye Dong is supervised by Dr. Wei Li.
Supporting faculty, Priya Gill, received a 2017 Texas Tech Alumni Association Excellence Grant for "Program for Initial Market Research and Prototype Development for a New Venture.
Ph.D. student Qian Tian recieved a travel grant to present her work on nanoconfined equilibrium polymerization at the annual meeting of the North American Thermal Analysis Society (NATAS), to be held at the University of Delaware in August 2017. Qian is supervised by Dr. Sindee L. Simon.
Dr. Ronald Hedden was awarded the President's Excellence in Teaching Award for exceptional teaching, mentoring, and advising
Michael Doerfert, a junior in Chemical Engineering, received a Goldwater Honorable Mention.
The Department of Chemical Engineering was awarded the first inaugural Provost's Institutional Effectivness Excellence Award for assessment of student outcomes and programs.
Three chemical engineering juniors, Matthew Jordan, Miguel Vega, and Caleb Wigham, were selected as participants in the Summer Undergraduate Research Fellowship (SURF) program at the National Institue of Standards and Technology (NIST). Each will spend eleven weeks at NIST performing research this summer.
The Society of Plastics Engineers South Texas Section awarded a $500 scholarship to Ph.D. Student, Heedong Yoon, at their 2017 Polyolefins Conference, held in Houston, TX from Feb. 26-March 1, 2017. The scholarship was awarded through the Thermoplastic Materials and Foams Division (TMFD), which is chaired by Donna S. Davis.
Dr. Nurxat Nuraje was awarded a 2017 US Air Force Research Lab (AFRL) Summer Faculty Fellowship. During the coming summer, he will perform collaborative research at theWright Patterson Air Force Base in Ohio for 8 -12 weeks
Ph.D. student Md Jasim Uddin won first place in the 16th Annual Graduate Student Research Poster Competition (Engineering V category) for his poster entitled, "Oral vaccine delivery using ragweed pollen grains." Jasim is supervised by Dr. Harvinder Gill and the work is funded by the National Institutes of Health (NIH)
Chemical engineering undergraduates, Michael Doerfert, a junior, and Zack Buford, a senior, tied for first place in the physical sciences division of the 9th Annual TTU Undergraduate Research Conference. Their poster outlined their research in applying polymer science fundamentals to the study of membranes designed for separating ethanol-water mixtures. The students are supervised by Dr. Ronald Hedden.
Senior Matthew Jordan tied for first place in the physical sciences division of the 9th Annual TTU Undergraduate Research Conference. Jordan's poster covered his research on understanding the various mechanisms affecting nanoscale particle reactivity. He was supervised by Dr. Theodore Wiesner.
Two Texas Tech ChE Car Teams competed at Regionals. The "Midnight Matador" team, captained by Aaron Lambert, won first place in the Poster Presentation. The "Tower of Power" team, captained by Blake Hanford, won second place in Car Performance, earning them a spot in the national competition in the Fall 2017.
Dr. Sheima Khatib application to the DOE Visiting Faculty Program is awarded for the second year in a row. She and her students plan to perform synchrotron-based experiments at Brookhaven National Laboratory this coming summer, with the aim of understanding metal-carbon and metal-oxygen interactions in zeolite catalysts for methane aromatization.
Hattie Schunk received the Dr. Gerald Lage Academic Achievement Award this year, the highest academic honor offered by the Big 12 Conference. Hattie, a chemical engineering senior from Albuquerque,NM, runs cross country for Texas Tech Women's Cross Country. Read more
Michael Sees, Hla Tun, and Mir Ali received plaques and $ 500 checks sponsored by the ChE EAB Fund for Excellence. Michael was commended for his exceptional teaching skills and readiness to go above and beyond in ChE 3322 Chemical Engineering Thermodynamics 2; Hla Tun for his dedication to excellence and commitment to the students in ChE 5321 Graduate Thermodynamics; and Mir Ali for his willingness to help the students and his excellent job teaching discussions in ChE 2410 Introduction to Chemical Processes
Dr. Harvinder S. Gill is awarded the 2016 Chancellor's Council Distinguished Research Award
Mizanur Rahman was awarded the 3rd Annual Student Investigator Space Flight Award and Jennifer Hewitt won second place in the graduate student poster competition, both at the 2016 meeting of the American Society for Gravitational and Space Research, held in Cleveland, OH. The students are studying muscle strength and aging in C. elegans under the supervision of Dr. Siva Vanapalli.
Brandon Palomo and Aric Denton were members of the iGEM team that won a silver medal at the 2016 competition. Brandon, an undergraduate in ChE, served as President and Team Leader. Aric, an MS student in ChE, served as Dry Lab Manager. Their project, "Enhanced Wound Healing Using a Protein-Infused Collagen Scaffold,” was supervised by Dr. Annette Sobel, Associate Professor of Medical Education. Dr. Wei Li supported the project by helping the students develop the protein-infused collagen scaffold in his laboratory. For more information, click here
Dean Al Sacco, Jr., was elected to the AIChE Board of Directors.
Twelve undergraduate students were honored by receiving a 2016 Award for Academic Excellence in Chemical Engineering. These students represent our finest students, each with GPA over 3.9, a ranking in the top 10 % of their class, and an integrity and personal stature that is inspirational. A hearty congratulations to all! See more
Graduate students Sriramvignesh Mani, Fardin Khabaz, and Rutvik V. Godbole were awarded the 2016 Raider Red Award for Outstanding Peer-Reviewed Journal Paper for their work "Structure and Hydrogen Bonding of Water in Polyacrylate Gels: Effects of Polymer Hydrophilicity and Water Concentration," that was co-authored with Chemical Engineering faculty members Ronald C. Hedden and Rajesh Khare. The award of $500 was shared by the three students who also received a Certificate of Award for their efforts.
Qian Tian won first place in the Student Poster Competition at the International Conference for Thermal Analysis and Calorimetry (ICTAC), held in Orlando, FL. Her research deals with equilibrium polymerization of butyl methacrylate in bulk and in nanopore confinement. Qian is supervised by Dr. Sindee L. Simon.
Ph.D. student Md Islam attended the 2016 International Conference on Properties and Phase Equilibria for Product and Process Design (PPEPPD)in Porto, Portugal, with travel support provided by the conference. Md Islam is supported by Dr. Chau-Chyun Chen.
Postdoctoral researcher Caroline Ahrens was honored to receive a Red Raider Safety Award from the Whitacre College of Engineering for her leadership in safety in the laboratories of Drs. Wei Li and Siva Vanapalli. Caroline effectively practices "Safety is Everyone's Responsibility" and she encourages all of her lab mates to do the same.
Rohan S. Ingrole and Xinmei Wang were honored to receive the Best TA award for their performance in the Spring 2016 term. Each received a plaque and a $ 500 check sponsored by the Chemical Engineering External Advisory Board's Fund for Excellence. Ingrole was commended for his professionalism and excellent preparation for discussions in ChE 2410 Thermodynamics I. Wang was commended for her dedication to teaching and her clear, organized presentations for ChE 3323 Reaction Engineering.
Dr. Gregory McKenna has been awarded the DFG Mercator Fellowship, which facilitates long-term project-based cooperation with German researchers. Dr. McKenna will be performing soft matter research with collaborators at the Universities of Freiburg and Strasbourg.
Undergraduate researcher, Trinh Lam, won second place in Top Oral Presenter at TTU Undergraduate Research Conference 2016. She also attended at NEMB Conference in Houston in February 2016 with a CALUE Undergraduate Scholar Travel Funding Award. Her research focuses on paper-based microfluidic device for point of care diagnostics, and she is supervised by Dr. Jungkyu Kim in ME
In the departmental graduate research fair, Mizanur Rahman received first place for his poster, "Nemaflex: A Microfluidic Tool for Phenotyping Neuromuscular Strength in C. Elegans." Evelyn Lopez received second place for "Relationship between Fragility and Tg Changes on Confinement for Three Cyanurates," and Md Jasim Uddin received third place for "A Mechanistic Insight into Pollen Grains as an Oral Vaccine Delivery System." Rahman is supervise by Dr. Vanapalli, Lopez by Dr. Simon, and Uddin by Dr. Gill.
Outstanding Service Awards were presented to the 2015/16 Officers of the AIChE Student Chapter for their extraordinary work: Josh Castilaw (President), Brian Wang (Vice-President), John Svab (Treasurer), Heather Dorrance (Secretary), and Cameron Riley (SORC Representative). Outstanding Service Awards were also presented to the 2015/2016 ChemE Car Team President Taylor Farley, Treasurer Dallas Drane, and Team Captain Sergio Vega.
Congratulations are in order for undergraduates attending the AIChE Regional Meeting, April 8-10, 2016, University of Houston. The Car Team won first place in the poster competition and second place in the car competition. Taylor Farley was the President and she worked with team members, Sergio Vega, Pablo Chavez, Cassandra Alvarez, Asmaul (Nain) Indah, and Dallas Drane. The Jeopardy Team, which consisted of Kosi Anazia, Joe Carrera, Sarah Crawford, Heather Dorrance, and Nestor Rodriguez, received second place.
Dr. Ronald Hedden is awarded the Spencer A. Wells Creativity in Teaching Award from the Texas Tech Parent's Association.
Dr. Carla Lacerda is named winner of the Texas Tech Alumni Association's 2016 New Faculty Award for her exceptional work mentoring student researchers, performing outreach and service related to education, and for her outstanding teaching.
Six images were selected as winners in the first biannual departmental Art in Science competition. The images, which will be displayed in the hall outside the main office, are from the research groups of Marston, Gill, Vanapalli,Weeks,Lacerda, and McKenna.
Dr. Sheima Khatib application to the DOE Visiting Faculty Program is awarded and will allow her and her students to perform experiments at Brookhaven National Laboratory this coming summer
Hattie Schunk a junior in ChE from Albuquerque,NM, has been named a 2016 Barry Goldwater Scholar, a highly competitive and prestigious award given to the top 200 students across the United State. Hattie has performed undergraduate research with Dr. Casadonte in the Chemistry Department, and she worked as an intern for Sandia National Laboratories. She is also on the Texas Tech Women's Cross Country and Track team. Hattie also received a 2015 Award for Academic Excellence in Chemical Engineering from the Department. She plans to pursue her Ph.D. in bioengineering after her undergraduate studies. Read more
Three graduate students received the Best TA award for their performance during Fall 2015. Each received a plaque and a $ 500 check sponsored by the Chemical Engineering External Advisory Board's Fund for Excellence. Md Moniruddin was commended for his commitment and hard work to ensure experiments ran smoothly in ChE 3232 Transport Laboratory; Michael Sees for his dedication to teaching, patience with students, and clear explanations in ChE 3232 Transport Laboratory; and Xiaofei Zhao for his professionalism and clear and well-organized presentations in ChE 3326 Heat Transfer.
"Aggregation Thermodynamics for Asphaltene Precipitation" was recently accepted by the AIChE Journal. It has been designated a "Top Tier" contribution and will be noted as an "Editor's Choice."The work is authored by Dr. Chau-Chyun Chen with students Meng Wang, Yifan Hao, and Md Islam.
Michael Wurmstein, an undergraduate student working in Dr. Khare's research group, won the second place award in the undergraduate research poster competition at the national AIChE meeting in the Computing and Process Control Category. Michael's work focuses on tuning polymer chemistry to design an energy efficient pervaporation membrane for separation of an alcohol-water biofuel mixture.
Michael Doerfert, a junior in Chemical Engineering, has been selected as one of fifteen Texas Tech students to serve as Congressional Interns in Washington, D.C. in spring 2016. The internship program offers students a unique opportunity to experience the federal government first-hand and to learn how government works.
Dr. Ronald C. Hedden receives the Whitacre College of Engineering Lockheed-Martin teaching award.
Dr. Siva Vanapalli is named Ed and Linda Whitacre Faculty Fellow.
Dr. Jing Zhao, now a post-doctoral fellow at the National Institute of Standards and Technology, has been awarded the 2015 Raider Red Award for Outstanding Peer-Reviewed Journal Paper for "Using 20-million-year-old amber to test the super-Arrhenius behavior of glass-forming systems," published by Zhao, Simon and McKenna, in Nature Communications, 4, 1783/1-6 (2013). The award, which comes with an honorarium of $ 500 and a certificate, is endowed at Texas Tech University. Selection was made from eight papers submitted for consideration to the Texas Tech Chapter of the Society of Plastics Engineers.
Twelve undergraduates have been honored with the 2015 Award for Academic Excellence in Chemical Engineering. These students represent the top students in our department, both in terms of their scholarship and their integrity.
Dr. Harvinder Gill has been appointed as the Whitacre Endowed Chair in Science and Technology.
Dr. Siva Vanapalli has been has been awarded the Bill Sanderson Faculty Fellowship.
Dr. Amit Jain,a postdoctoral researcher in the laboratory of Prof. Harvinder Gill was awarded a 2015 BME Innovation and Career Development Award. The award from the Biomedical Engineering Society (BMES) provides travel to attend the BMES Annual Meeting.
Ph.D. students Evelyn Lopez, Madhu Palaka, Rozana Bari, and Heedong Yoon have received NATAS Student Travel Awards to attend the 2015 annual meeting of the North American Thermal Analysis Society, which will be held in August in Montreal! Evelyn, Madhu, and Rozana are supervised by Dr. Sindee Simon; Heedong is supervised by Dr. Gregory B. McKenna.
Ph.D. students Nabiollah Kamyabi, Mehdi Nekouei, Fardin Khabaz and Rutvik Godbole were awarded 1st, 2nd, and 3rd place, respectively in the Texas Tech 14th annual Graduate Student Poster Competition. Nabi is supervised by Dr. Siva Vanapalli, Mehdi by Dr. Harvinder Gill, and Fardin and Rutvik are collaborating on a project led by Drs. Rajesh Khare and Ronald Hedden.
Dr. Gregory B. McKenna has been named a recipient of the 2014-2015 Barnie E. Rushing Jr. Faculty Distinguished Research Award from the Texas Tech Parents Association.
Dr. Brandon Weeks has been named a recipient of the 2014-2015 Spencer A. Wells Award for Creativity in Teaching from the Texas Tech Parents Association.
Dr. Harvinder Gill is awarded tenure and promotion to associate professor. Promotion is effective September 2015.
Dr. Harvinder Gill and Silke Paust (Texas Children's Hospital and Baylor College of Medicine) were awarded a five-year, $2.8M NIH grant to evaluate the efficacy of a novel oral pollen vaccine to activate Natural Killer cells and to protect from HIV infection.
Renewable Energy Global Innovations (REGI) has identified an article by Dr. Rong Xu, as a Key Scientific Article. Xu, an August 2014 Ph.D. graduate, whose dissertation was supervised by Dr. Ted Wiesner, published “The Conceptual Design of a Two-Step Solar Hydrogen Thermochemical Cycle with Thermal Storage in a Reaction Intermediate” in the International Journal of Hydrogen Energy.
A video submitted by Dr. Jeremy Marston and coauthors from King Abdullah University of Science and Technology in Saudi Arabia won first place in the 2014 Gallery of Fluid Motion Award competition sponsored by the Division of Fluid Dynamics of the American Physical Society. The video, which can be viewed here, was also highlighted in the BBC report, The Weird World of Everyday Liquid
Dr. Siva A. Vanapalli will receive a Rising Star Award from the Cellular and Molecular Bioengineering Special Interest Group of the Biomedical Engineering Society. Rising Star Awards are given to a select group of young faculty who then give their talks in a special session at the BMES-CMBE meeting.
Michael Wurmstein, an undergraduate researcher working with Dr. Rajesh Khare, won the first place award in the Computing and Process Control Division at the Undergraduate Research Poster Competition at the AIChE meeting. The title of Michael's poster was "Simulated Annealing Polymerization: A General Algorithm for Preparing Atomistic Model Structures of Amorphous Polymers."
Ph.D. student, Haoyu Zhao, won first place in the Student Poster Competition at the North American Thermal Analysis Society meeting, held in Santa Fe, New Mexico in September 2014. His poster, titled "Methyl Methacrylate Polymerization in Nanoporous Matrix: Reactivity and Resulting Properties," was coauthored by Fatema Begum, Ziniu Yu, Ronald Hedden, and Dr. Sindee L. Simon. Haoyu is supervised by Simon.
Incoming faculty member, Dr. Nurxat Nuraje, has been selected as the winner of the "Joseph Wang Award" by Congizure Publishing Division. The award recognizes outstanding young researchers in the area of nanomaterials and is awarded based on originality of research, impact of research, quality of publications, innovation, and professional standing.
Matt Kovalski won second place in the undergraduate student poster competition of the Fracturing Impacts & Technologies Conference, and M.S. student Nguyen Nguyen won second place in the graduate student poster competition. The conference, held September 4-5, 2014 in Lubbock, was sponsored by Texas Tech University and the Air and Waste Management Association (A&WMA). Both students are supervised by Dr. Chau-Chyun Chen.
Dr. Siva A. Vanapalli received two grants from the Cancer Prevention Research Institute of Texas (CPRIT) as the primary investigator. One of the projects deals with new technology for ultrahigh throughput enumeration of circulating tumor cells; this is a High-Impact/High-Risk Research Award of $200k with co-PI Dr. Jian Sheng, a professor of mechanical engineering, and collaborator Dr. Wei Li. The second project, a $675k award, deals with engineering microfluidic devices for multimodal mechanical phenotyping of tumor cells in flow will be performed with collaborators Dr. Boyd Butler (Department of Biological Sciences) and Evie Cobos (TTUHSC).
Yunzhe Ma, supervised by Dr. Harvinder Gill, received the Texas Tech Outstanding Dissertation Award for 2014. Dr. Ma's thesis was entitled, "Microneedles for Drug Delivery into Oral Cavity." Ma has pioneered the use of microneedles for drug and vaccine delivery to the oral cavity by establishing feasibility of generating mucosal immunity in saliva of rabbits using HIV as antigen; developing a novel approach to coat water insoluble drugs such as lidocaine (a local anesthetic) for delivery to oral tissues; and evaluating an approach using microneedles that can directly deliver drugs to oral cancers. Ma is currently working at Intel in Hillsboro, Oregon.
Astrid Torres, Siyang Gao, Ran Tao, Heedong Yoon, and Xin Zhang all received NATAS Student Travel Awards to present their work at the 2014 annual meeting of the North American Thermal Analysis Society (NATAS). The meeting will held in September in Santa Fe, New Mexico.
Dr. Sindee L. Simon will receive the 2014 Mettler Toledo Outstanding Achievement Award from the North American Thermal Analysis Society (NATAS). The award, which is the highest award of the society, will be presented at the NATAS annual meeting in September 2014 in Santa Fe, New Mexico.
Robert Fullerton, an undergraduate student, is the first author on a paper in the prestigious journal Carbon titled, "Graphene non-covalently tethered with magnetic nanoparticles."Robert worked with Dr. Micah Green for three years and spearheaded the research himself. He also had an internship with the Army Research Lab in 2012 where he initiated a collaboration with coauthor Daniel Cole.
Amber Helm, a May 2014 B.S.Ch.E. graduate, was named the recipient of the 2014 McAuley Distinguished Engineering Student Award. She graduated with a 3.93 GPA and Summa Cum Laude with Honors. Helm accepted a full-time position with Anadarko as a production engineer in Kermit.
Yanfei Li was invited to participate in the AIChE Excellence in Materials Engineering and Science Division Area 8a (Polymers) Graduate Student Research Award Symposium. He will compete with nine other students for the award at the 2014 AIChE Annual Meeting in Atlanta, Georgia.
Dr. Sindee L. Simon received the Society of Plastics Engineers (SPE) 2014 Research/Engineering Technology Award at the Annual Technical Meeting (ANTEC) for research and technology developments in polymers and polymer composites and for her pioneering contributions in thermal analysis of polymers.
Wenqian Tao, a Ph.D. student supervised by Dr. Harvinder Gill, was awarded a Student Travel Achievement Recognition (STAR) Award for her paper titled "Engineering and Evaluation of a Fully Synthetic Universal Influenza-A Vaccine Based on M2e-Conjugated Gold Nanoparticles," which she presented at the Society For Biomaterials' 2014 Annual Meeting.
Doctoral students Evelyn Lopez and Astrid Torres were awarded the Carl Storm Underrepresented Minority (CSURM) Fellowship to attend the 2014 Gordon Research Conference on Polymer Physics. Also honored were doctoral students Ran Tao and Astrid Torres who both presented invited talks at the preceding Gordon Research Seminar (GRS) on Polymer Physics, and doctoral student Siyang Gao who served as a discussion leader at the GRS. Astrid is supervised by Dr. Greg McKenna; Evelyn, Ran, and Siyang are supervised by Dr. Sindee L. Simon.
Dr. Siva A. Vanapalli was granted tenure and promotion to associate professor. The promotion is effective September 1, 2014.
Rong Xu, supervised by Dr. Ted Wiesner, won first place in Engineering Division I of the 13th Annual Graduate Student Research Poster Competition, hosted by the Texas Tech Graduate School in February 2014. Her research poster entitled, "Reactor Design and Dynamic Model of a Two-step Iron Oxide Solar Thermochemical Cycle," detailed her work on a novel process which can sustain 24/7 hydrogen production from solar energy without fossil fuel backup.
Graduate students in the department had a very strong showing at the International Polyolefins Conference held in Houston on Feb. 23-26, 2014. The conference attracted more than 600 participants and more than 40 poster presentations. Siyang Gao, a fifth-year graduate student in Dr. Sindee L. Simon's research group won second place for her poster titled "The Experimental and Modeling Study of Reaction Kinetics of Cyclopentadiene Dimerization." Lan Ma, a fifth-year graduate student in Dr. Ronald C. Hedden's research group won third place for her poster titled "Shape Memory Effects in Polyethylene/Carbon Black Nanocomposites and Polyethylene/Polypropylene Blends. Ziniu Yu, a fourth-year graduate student also in Dr. Hedden's research group, won honorable mention for "Guest Molecule Behavior in Liquid Crystalline Networks: Comparison of A and ABA Type Plasticizers."
Dr. Sindee L. Simon received an NSF Special Creativity Extension to study the glass transition at the nanoscale.
Dr. Siva A. Vanapalli has been named a recipient of a Chancellor's Council Distinguished Research Award, part of the 13th annual Chancellor's Council distinguished faculty awards. Recognizing excellence in teaching, research, and commercialization, these awards represent the most prestigious honors granted to faculty members throughout the Texas Tech University System. The Chancellor's Council Distinguished Research Award recognizes outstanding research, scholarship, and creative activity of faculty members in the developmental stages of their careers.
Drs. Sindee L. Simon and Greg McKenna have been selected to receive the Achievement Rewards for College Scientists (ARCS) Lubbock Chapter Scientists of the Year Award. The award will be presented at the Annual Scientist of the Year (SOY) Dinner. The ARCS Foundation,Inc. is a national volunteer women's organization dedicated to providing financial support to academically outstanding students majoring in the fields of natural science, medicine, and engineering. This academic year the local chapter has awarded thirteen scholarships to students enrolled at Texas Tech, the TTUHSC, and LCU.
Dr. Siva A. Vanapalli and his student Deepak Solomon (as senior personnel) received an NSF Innovation Corps award of $50,000 to assess the commercial feasibility of their drop-based microfluidic technology for drug screening. The award will allow Solomon to participate in an entrepreneurship immersion course, receive guidance from a business mentor in Lubbock, and develop a business plan for the technology.
Dr. Greg McKenna has been elected president of the Society of Rheology; his term will start during the annual meeting on October 17, 2013.
Dr. Rajesh Khare has been selected as the chair of AIChE's Area 1a (Thermodynamics and Transport Properties) Programming Committee; his term will begin at the 2013 annual meeting. Khare is currently a member of the Area 1a Programming Committee and handled thermodynamics programming for the 2013 annual meeting.
The department is pleased to welcome Dr. Chau-Chyun Chen as Professor and Jack Maddox Distinguished Engineering Chair in Sustainable Energy. Chen, a member of the National Academy of Engineering, comes to Texas Tech from AspenTech where he was Vice President for Technology. His research expertise is in molecular thermodynamics, thermophysical properties and fluid phase equilibria, and process modeling.
Dr. Ronald C. Hedden and Dr. Rajesh Khare were awarded a three year, $639,929 grant from the National Science Foundation (NSF) through the Designing Materials to Revolutionize and Engineer our Future (DMREF) program. Their funded project is entitled, "DMREF: Combinatorial Methods to Enable Rapid Prototyping of Pervaporation Membranes for Bio-alcohol Recovery."
Ketan S. Khare, a chemical engineering graduate student working in Dr. Rajesh Khare's research group, was awarded the first place in the poster competition at the Polymer Composites and High Performance Materials workshop organized by the Division of Polymer Chemistry, American Chemical Society (ACS) in Santa Rosa, California in July 2013. The poster titled "Effect of the Chemical Functionalization of Carbon Nanotubes on the Thermo-mechanical Properties of Cross-linked Epoxy-Carbon Nanotube Nanocomposites," presents results that elucidate the key role played by matrix-filler interfacial interactions in load transfer between the polymer matrix and the carbon nanotubes in nanocomposites. This research was sponsored by the National Science Foundation.
Jeevan Maddala was awarded an NSF STTR grant to commercialize his doctoral work, which was performed under the supervision of Dr. Raghunathan Rengasamy. The project, titled "Development of a Computational Tool for Modeling, Simulation, and Design of Next Generation Discrete Droplet Microfluidic Systems," is a collaboration with Rengasamy. The aim is to develop novel design concepts for microfluidic lab-on-a-chip devices that allow precise control of chemical composition and concentration. Such devices are anticipated to facilitate discovery of materials for various pharmaceutical and biomedical applications, including protein crystallization, stem cell growth, and drug screening.
Several chemical engineering faculty and staff members were recognized by the Whitacre College of Engineering. Dr. Rajesh Khare received the George T. and Gladys Abell-Hanger Faculty Award for outstanding graduate teaching, Dr. Micah Green received the Lockheed Martin Excellence in Teaching Award, Dr. Ronald C. Hedden received the Whitacre Research Award for excellence in research, and Dr. Micah Green received the Whitacre Research Award for growth in research. The department's unit coordinator, Mary Beth Abernathy, received the Orval Leroy Lewis Award. At the university level, Dr. Micah Green will also receive the Texas Tech Alumni Association New Faculty Award.
Graduate Student Jing Zhao's work on 20 million year old amber published in Nature Communications, was highlighted by National Geographic, the Tikalon blog and by Texas Tech. Zhao made calorimetric and viscoelastic measurements on 20 million year old amber under the guidance of Dr. Sindee L. Simon and Dr. Greg McKenna. The purpose of the work was to test the idea of glass formation through an “ideal” glass transition. The findings challenge this view and alter the current paradigms for the physics of glasses.
The Texas Tech AIChE Student Chapter hosted the 2013 Southwest AIChE Regional Conference in Lubbock. Students from UT, Rice, LSU, UH, TAMU, TAMU-Kingsville, Lamar, and Tecnológico de Monterrey attended. Naureen Suteria, a student under the supervision of Dr. Siva A. Vanapalli, won first place in the Regional Student Paper Competition. The Texas Tech ChemE Jeopardy Team, consisting of Braden Pate, Seth Spear, Amber Helm, and Michael Sees, also took first place. The Texas Tech AIChE Student Chapter officers are Donny Torres, Kim Davis, Erika Yamasaki, and Jimmy Woods.
Siyang Gao, a fourth-year graduate student in Dr. Sindee L. Simon's research group won third place at the International Polyolefins Conference for her poster, titled "The Calorimetric Glass Transition of Single Polystyrene Ultrathin Films." The conference, which was held in Houston on February 23-27, 2013, attracted more than 600 participants and more than 40 poster presentations.
Deepak Solomon, a chemical engineering graduate student working under the supervision of Dr. Siva A. Vanapalli, was awarded fourth place in the graduate student poster competition at the 84th Annual Meeting of The Society of Rheology in Pasadena, California in February 2013. The poster was titled, "Measurement of hydrodynamic resistance due to purely elastic instabilities in curvilinear microchannels."
The department is pleased to welcome Dr. Carla Lacerda as an Assistant Professor. Dr. Lacerda earned her Ph.D. from Colorado State University in Chemical Engineering with a focus on metal resistance in microbial communities. After completion of her Ph.D., Dr. Lacerda transitioned from environmental to biomedical science. Her current research is aimed at understanding the effects of mechanical stimuli on heart valves.
Texas Tech made a big impression at the first Texas Soft Matter Meeting held at the University of Houston in January 2013. Texas Tech had 24 representatives at the meeting including 19 students, two post-doctoral researchers, and three faculty members. An invited lecture was given by Dr. Sindee L. Simon. The students and other faculty were from the Soft Matter Working Group at Texas Tech. The group focuses on research and education in the blossoming field of Soft Matter and Soft Materials and is represented by faculty from the Departments of Chemical Engineering, Mechanical Engineering, Industrial Engineering, and Chemistry and Biochemistry.
Dr. Sindee L. Simon was named recipient of the 2013 Lubbock Women of Excellence Award in Science from the Lubbock YWCA
Qiuying Gu, a doctoral student under the supervision of Dr. Karlene Hoo, recently completed a seven-month internship with Halliburton in Carrollton, Texas. Her project involved modeling a cement flow valve and mixing system, designing and testing an appropriate controller strategy, preparing a written report, and orally presenting the results to the Halliburton staff.