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The Gene and Linda Voiland School of Chemical Engineering and Bioengineering

Chrystal Quisenberry receives Hariet B. Regas Award

Chrystal Quisenberry and Dr. Nehal Abu-Lail

Chrystal Quisenberry and Dr. Nehal Abu-LailThe Association for Faculty Women announced its 2015-2016 award winners for outstanding women in graduate studies. These awards recognize superlative academic and scholarly accomplishments, as well as professional potential of women graduate students at WSU completing their degrees in the 2015-2016 academic year. Voiland School graduate student Chrystal Quisenberry was one of the recipients.

Dissertation: “Nanomechanics in Cartilage Tissue Engineering”
Chair: Dr. Nehal I. Abu-Lail Schol of Chemical Engineering and Bioengineering

Familiar with and impressed by her achievements as an undergraduate both as a leader and a researcher, Dr. Abu-Lail recruited Chrystal for her lab. She summarizes her research saying, “Although more than 27 million people in the U.S. suffer from the joint disease osteoarthritis, current treatments do not restore the full functions of the tissue. Because articular cartilage is avascular, meaning it lacks blood vessels, it has a limited capacity for self-repair. This has prompted researchers to focus on cartilage tissue engineering. As cartilage acts as a load bearing surface, one of the challenges in tissue engineering is creating a construct with mechanical properties near that of native cartilage. We, along with our collaborators, use a bioreactor to apply loads to the growing tissue with one of our intentions being to improve the tissue’s mechanical properties which is then measured using an atomic force microscope.”

Chrystal has received thirteen scholarship and awards including a NASA Space grant and an NIH grant. She has worked as a TA in four classes and mentors five students as a Future Cougar of Color Ambassador. She has published four journal articles in peer-reviewed journals and presented at twenty-four conferences.

View the story at the Association for Faculty Women’s website.

Professor Yong Wang catalyzes graduate education initiative

Chambroad and WSU executives partner together to educate the next generation

PULLMAN, Wash. – Washington State University has entered into an agreement with Shandong Chambroad Holding Company Ltd., a private Chinese corporation, to educate WSU doctoral students to meet significant societal needs in energy and environment.

The corporation will provide up to $5 million to support five new students each year, up to a total of 20 students simultaneously, in chemical engineering, chemistry or materials science and engineering.

The privately run company started in 1991 and employs about 11,000 people in Boxing, China. Chambroad is engaged in petrochemicals, fine chemicals, culture and arts, education, agriculture and strategic investment..

A WSU team led by Vice President for Research Chris Keane and Vice President for International Programs Asif Chaudhry reached the agreement on a trip to China in January.

Support for studies in energy, environment

Yunsheng Ma, chairman of Shandong Petrochemical Co. Ltd., left, and WSU’s Chris Keane and Asif Chaudhry sign the agreement in China.
Yunsheng Ma, chairman of Shandong Petrochemical Co. Ltd., left, and WSU’s Chris Keane and Asif Chaudhry sign the agreement in China.
The Chambroad Distinguished Fellowship will provide graduate student and research support in the area of catalysis, a critical component of the manufacturing sector, especially in the production of high energy fuels and household chemicals.

Catalysts contribute more than 35 percent of the global gross domestic product (GDP). They are important in food production because fertilizer and pesticide production requires up to two percent of the world’s energy.

They are also important for environmental systems management, such as for vehicle emissions, and for production of many everyday products, said Jim Petersen, director of the Gene and Linda Voiland School of Chemical Engineering and Bioengineering. Improving catalyst efficiency is important for increasing supplies, reducing costs and decreasing environmental impacts of petroleum-based and alternative fuels, he added.

With significant support from Gene (‘69, ChemE) and Linda Voiland, WSU’s program in catalysis has grown significantly in the past five years, nearly tripling student enrollment and research expenditures. The program benefits from extensive collaboration with the U.S. Department of Energy’s Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL). Voiland Distinguished Professors Yong Wang and Norbert Kruse hold joint appointments at PNNL.

Next-generation leaders meeting global challenges

“This partnership fits squarely within our university’s goals and mission and promises to address society’s biggest global challenges at the nexus of food, energy and the environment,” said Keane. “We look forward to working with Chambroad in training students to become our next generation leaders in addressing these pressing scientific challenges.”

The fellowship program will allow students to work collaboratively with WSU researchers. Research areas will be focused on energy conversion, carbon capture technology and utilization, and petrochemical conversion with the goal of creating economical, dependable and environmentally sustainable systems, said Petersen.

“This collaborative agreement provides a foundation for a multidimensional partnership between WSU and Chambroad to provide education and research that will strategically contribute to the advancement of society,” said Chaudhry. “As such, it represents an example of the impact that international collaborations can have on the world.”

The program will be supported by WSU’s Office of Research, Office of International Programs and Graduate School.

“Chambroad has a strong culture of teamwork and giving back that fits nicely with WSU’s land-grant heritage of applied and practical research to enhance the economy and improve quality of life,” said Keane. “I believe this partnership will strengthen our programs while producing high-impact research with real-world applications.”

Lifetime Achievement Award Honors Neil Ivory

Neil Ivory receives Lifetime Achievement Award

PULLMAN, Wash. – Faculty member Cornelius F. Ivory has been recognized with a Lifetime Achievement Award for pioneering work and leadership in electrokinetics (the motion of small particles in fluids induced by an electrical field).

He is the Paul Hohenschuh Distinguished Professor in the Gene and Linda Voiland School of Chemical Engineering and Bioengineering at Washington State University.

He was honored by the Advancing Electrokinetic Science (AES) Electrophoresis Society “for major advances in alternative electrophoretic focusing methods, including those employing gradients of velocity, electric field, conductivity and temperature, all of which have potential for protein purifications.”

“Professor Ivory has produced several pioneering works that shape the field of applied electrokinetics and separations. He is generous leader and truly interested in supporting the professional community,” said Mark Hayes, president of AES.

The society is a nonprofit organization dedicated to advancing and promoting electric field-mediated separations, manipulations and related phenomena. The organization was formed to promote and generate scientific knowledge and engineering techniques.

Read article at WSU News

Researchers Develop Antibiotic Alternative to Treat Infections

Haluk Beyenal
Haluk Beyenal

PULLMAN, Wash.—Washington State University researchers for the first time have discovered how electrical stimulation works for the treatment of bacterial infections, paving the way for a viable alternative to medicinal antibiotics.

The researchers passed an electric current over a film of bacteria and in 24 hours killed almost all of a multi-drug resistant bacterium that is often present in difficult-to-treat infections. The remaining bacterial population was 1/10,000th of its original size.

The researchers also tested the method on pig tissue, where it killed most of the bacteria and did not damage surrounding tissue.

The research appears in Nature Scientific Reports, an open-access online journal from the publishers of Nature.

View full story at WSU Today

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WSU Researchers Develop Inexpensive Waste Cleanup System for Rural Areas

Haluk Beyenal
Haluk Beyenal
A team of researchers at Washington State University (WSU) has successfully tested a microbial fuel cell that collects electrons from microbes during the biological processes that occur in agricultural wastewater lagoons and then converts that to small bursts of electricity that can power an aerator. In tests, this self-powered system improved some measures of lagoon efficiency by more than 50 percent.

The research team is led by Haluk Beyenal, Ph.D., a professor in WSU’s Voiland School of Chemical Engineering and Bioengineering. The researchers recently published their findings, “Self-powered wastewater treatment for the enhanced operation of a facultative lagoon,” in the Journal of Power Sources.

View the entire story at The Magazine of the American Society of Civil Engineers ↗

Jean-Sabin McEwen Receives Grant to Improve Biofuel Production

Jean-Sabin McEwen
Jean-Sabin McEwen
PULLMAN, Wash. – A researcher at Washington State University has received a three-year $450,000 federal grant to develop computer models for using iron to more efficiently refine bio-oils and make better biofuels.

Jean-Sabin McEwen, assistant professor in the Voiland School of Chemical Engineering and Bioengineering, will collaborate on the U.S. Department of Energy Office of Basic Energy Sciences grant with colleagues at Pacific Northwest National Laboratory and the Université Libre de Bruxelles.

View entire story at WSU News ↗

Iglesia Speaks at Lanning Lecture

Enrique Iglesia
Enrique Iglesia

PULLMAN, Wash.—Enrique Iglesia, the Theodore Vermeulen Chair in Chemical Engineering at the University of California, Berkeley, a faculty senior scientist at the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, and director of the Berkeley Catalysis Laboratory, spoke on “Nanoparticles, Nanospace, and the Catalysis Toolbox” at the Voiland College annual Lanning Lecture in April.

Iglesia’s research group addresses the synthesis and the structural and functional characterization of solids used as catalysts for production of fuels and petrochemicals, for conversion of energy carriers, and for improving the energy and atom efficiency and the sustainability of chemical processes. His work combines synthetic, spectroscopic, theoretical, and mechanistic techniques to advance novel concepts and applications in heterogeneous catalysis. He has coauthored more than 300 publications and holds 40 U.S. patents.

Washington State University civil engineering alumnus Jack Dillon (class of ‘41) established the Lanning Lecture in 1988 in honor of his late wife, Frances Lanning Dillon. The fund supports lectures that broaden students’ knowledge of the profession beyond the academic dimension, including societal, cultural, and economic impacts, professional and business ethics, and leadership.

View Video of Lanning Lecture featuring Enrique Iglesia ↗

2015 Lanning Lecture Poster ↗

2015 Lanning Lecture Announcement ↗