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Department of Chemical and Biological Engineering

Chair's message

Kyongbum Lee

Spring 2019

Dear Alumni, Colleagues, and Friends,

I hope that this letter finds you well.

I am pleased to share some exciting news about the department and update you on the events and achievements of the 2018-2019 academic year.

In the fall, the department welcomed its newest faculty member, Assistant Professor Nidhi Rajput. She was previously a postdoctoral fellow at the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, where she worked on developing high-throughput computation infrastructure for the Electrolyte Genome initiative of the Joint Center for Energy Storage Research (JCESR). Prof. Rajputobtained her Ph.D. in chemical engineering from Louisiana State University in 2013. Her research uses first principles modeling and molecular dynamics simulations to gain fundamental insights into synthesis-structure-property relationships of materials. These insights are used to predict properties of fluids and solid-fluid interfaces. I am delighted to have Prof. Rajput join our faculty.

We are celebrating Prof. Emmanuel (Manolis) Tzanakakis’ promotion to Full Professor and Prof. Asatekin's tenure and promotion to Associate Professor, which were approved this spring by the university’s Board of Trustees. Congratulations, Ayse and Manolis!

I have some news to share regarding the Gregory Botsaris Fund. Earlier this year, we exceeded the fundraising goal of $100,000. I want to thank all of our alumni and friends whose generous gifts made this possible. I would like to acknowledge Y.A. Liu (EG70) for kickstarting the fundraising and Bob Haber (E79, EG80) for providing matches to the gifts that took us over the top! The Gregory Botsaris Fund will celebrate Greg’s legacy by ensuring that the Botsaris lectures continue in perpetuity while also recognizing outstanding students and providing critical funding for programs of importance to the department. This spring’s lecture was delivered by Dr. Michael P. Thien of Merck & Co., Inc.

I am happy to tell you that the department continues to excel in teaching and research. Our total research expenditure this past year reached a record high, doubling the expenditure from five years ago. Faculty members secured new grants and contracts totaling more than $ 3.5 million. A particularly exciting development is the growth in industrial partnerships, reflecting the visibility and real-world impact of research programs in the department. These partnerships span the breadth of our discipline, with projects ranging from developing advanced materials for membranes used in semiconductor manufacturing to enhancing bioprocess performance. Faculty and students have published their research findings in high-impact journals and gave invited lectures at institutions and conferences across the U.S. and the world. Inside this newsletter, you will find short summaries and highlights of several exciting new research projects.

This newsletter also highlights prestigious awards received by the department’s students, alumni, and faculty. This spring, current senior Tommy George received the prestigious NSF Graduate Research Fellowship. Alumnus Ryan Pandya (E13) was named to the 2018 Forbes 30 Under 30 list for social entrepreneurs as the co-founder of the company Perfect Day. Alumna Paula Soteropoulos (E89, EG90) was an honored speaker at the 2018 School of Engineering commencement ceremonies for graduate students. Haber Endowed Prof. Maria Flytzani-Stephanopoulos, along with her collaborator Prof. Charles Sykes in Chemistry, were recognized by the American Chemical Society with the Catalysis Lectureship for their groundbreaking work on single-atom alloy catalysts. These are a few of the many noteworthy accomplishments by former and present members of the department.

As you can see, the department has much to celebrate. I am very grateful for the dedication of our faculty members, students, and staff as well as generous support from our alumni and friends. Thanks to their efforts, the department continues to thrive as a vibrant community of learning and scholarship. I invite you to browse our pages to learn more about the department. Please don’t hesitate to reach out – we love to hear from you.

With warm regards,

Kyongbum Lee
Professor and Chair