Xiaohui (Sophie) Ju
Xiaohui (Sophie) Ju

PULLMAN, Wash. – A WSU-Tri-Cities chemical engineering PhD student won third place in a student poster competition at Pacific Northwest National Laboratory.

Xiaohui Ju’s research is related to biofuels. She and her advisor, Xiao Zhang, are working to understand the deconstruction of cellulose in biofuels in hopes that their findings will lead to more efficient methods of biofuel production.

Ju presented her poster, Mechanism of Nanocrystalline Cellulose Decrystallization during Enzymatic Hydrolis, at PNNL’s Environmental Molecular Sciences Laboratory (EMSL) annual user meeting. Her research is supported by a National Science Foundation award.

“It is a very good opportunity for a brand new student to get to work with professional scientists, and getting recognized for my work makes me feel I’m doing something important for renewable energy,” Ju said.

Opportunities such as developing and presenting that research are part of what brought Ju to WSU. Originally from China, she earned her bachelor’s there, and then came to WSU because of its prestigious chemical engineering program and involvement in biofuels.

“My advisor is very helpful in giving me instruction, and I appreciate the chance to come here where there are many opportunities for career development,” she said.

Ju hopes to finish her doctoral degree within the next couple of years, and then plans to stay in the area and continue to work in the development of biofuels. Ju sees it as a promising industry, and would like to help make it commercially viable. Zhang is confident in her ability to pursue her goals.

“She is a very intelligent and hardworking woman,” he said.