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School of Engineering

ChBE faculty receive research grants

Thursday, September 20, 2018
Four professors in the Department of Chemical and Biological Engineering received funding for new projects.
Four headshots in a grid

In 2018, Professor and Chair Kyongbum Lee, Assistant Professors James Van Deventer and Prashant Deshlahra, and Associate Professor Matthew Panzer were awarded grants for new research projects.

As a co-Principal Investigator, Professor and Chair Kyongbum Lee received a grant from the National Institutes of Health, working with a team that includes Arul Jayaraman, EG94. The goal of the project, titled "Dietary Flavonoids-Microbiota-Ah Receptor Interactions in the Gut" (Number 1R01AT010282-01) is to investigate the role of intestinal microbiota metabolites in the anti-inflammatory activities of phytochemical compounds in health promoting foods.

Professor Van Deventer received two grants as a principal investigator and one as a co-PI with Associate Professor Qiaobing Xu in the Department of Biomedical Engineering. The first grant, from the National Science Foundation (Grant #1815022), supports a project titled “EAGER: High throughput inhibitor discovery for dissecting serine hydrolase function.” This research will identify strategies for integrating chemical functionality into antibodies for the discovery of inhibitors of serine hydrolases (enzymes that play important roles in biological processes).

The second grant, from the National Institute of Health, funds the development of technology that supports the discovery of highly specific enzyme inhibitors of matrix metalloproteinases that will help researchers understand cancer biology and improve cancer treatments, titled “Discovering hybrid inhibitors for tumor microenvironment disruption.”

The third, with Professor Xu, is also granted by the NSF (Grant #1807415). The grant title is “Engineering and intracellular delivery of recombinant antibodies” and the researchers seek to establish general strategies for utilizing antibodies to understand and disrupt signaling processes that occur within cells.

Professor Deshlahra is co-PI on an NSF-funded project titled “Collaborative Research: Selective Oxidation Catalysis on Oxides Containing Pores of Molecular Dimensions.” This work seeks to understand how the size and shape of pores within solid mixed metal oxide may be engineered to more selectivity catalyze the oxidative alkane to alkene reaction for efficient shale gas utilization. The project will be funded for three years (Grant #1803798).

Professor Panzer’s research grant is also for a three-year term and will support a project titled “Nonvolatile Gel Electrolytes for Safer Lithium Ion Batteries” (Grant #1802729). The work will explore a new class of zwitterionic (co)polymer-supported ionic liquid-based gels, which are expected to function as nonvolatile, nonflammable, and leak-proof electrolytes with high lithium ion conductivity and enhanced safety for next-generation batteries.