Northeastern University Department of Chemical Engineering September Newsletter
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Letter from the Chair

New Renovations for ChemE!

In order to accommodate our unprecedented growth in undergraduate students, graduate students, and faculty, we undertook two major projects this summer: renovation of our chemical engineering Main Office and expansion of our coveted Unit Operations Lab! I welcome you to campus to check out these two beautiful new additions to our department. Somehow, even with this extensive renovation over the summer, our department continued to excel. In this issue, we highlight our four new faculty (bringing our total faculty size to 26 primary faculty appointments, double from 2012), new faculty research grants, and student awards. Please enjoy reading about our ever changing department and I hope you can join us at any of our future receptions or directly here on campus in Boston to meet our growing extended family. 


Thomas Webster
Professor and Department Chair, Chemical Engineering
Art Zafiropoulo Chair in Engineering

Faculty Highlight
Francisco Hung, Associate Professor
Ph.D., North Carolina State University

Using molecular simulations, we aim at fundamentally understanding several interfacial and solvated systems that are relevant to developing new materials, recovering valuable solutes, storing energy and understanding chemical processing of pollutants in the environment. 

Current areas of interest in my group include: (1) modeling organic pollutants adsorbed on the surface of water droplets, ice and snowflakes; (2) computer simulations of ionic liquids and deep eutectic solvents, for recovering valuable solutes, separations and energy storage; (3) understanding nucleation of crystalline phases of ionic liquids and other complex molecules, which is relevant to developing novel materials; and (4) modeling fungal proteins near interfaces, for applications in oil dispersion, polymer processing, oil drilling and carbon sequestration.    

Read about our other new faculty members who will be featured in future newsletters!
Associate Professor Steve Lustig
Professor Debra Auguste
Assistant Professor Sidi Bencherif

Upcoming Events and 
Unit Operations Lab Ribbon Cutting Ceremony
Tues. September 27
007 Mugar (basement)

Come join us in celebrating a historic moment as we unveil the newly renovated Unit Operations Lab! Email Francesca Fuerman at to RSVP

2016 BMES Annual Meeting
Minneapolis, MN
October 5-8, 2016
Minneapolis Hilton

We will be at Booth #111 in the Exhibit Hall, from Thursday to Saturday

FREE reception!
NEW DATE AND LOCATION: Oct. 7th, 8:00pm-10:00pm in Grand Ballroom G. 

2016 AIChE Annual Meeting
November 13-18, 2016
San Francisco, CA

Come see our booth at the Grad Recruitment Fair on Nov. 13th (Parc 55 Hotel, Cyril Magnin Ballroom and Foyer, 9:00am-4:00pm) 

Meet our department at a FREE reception on Nov. 15th! Hilton San Francisco Union Square, Golden Gate Room 3, 7:00pm to 9:00pm)

ChE Student Tyler Cole Receives Joel Goldenberg Memorial Scholarship from ISPE

Tyler Cole '18, a fourth year Chemical Engineering student, has been selected as a recipient of the Joel Goldenberg Memorial Scholarship for the 2016 academic year. The scholarship is funded by the Boston Area Chapter of the International Society for Pharmaceutical Engineering (ISPE), which selects nine recipients and covers the cost of an engineering course for each student.

In addition to strong academic standing, selected students must have an active involvement in ISPE, participate in volunteer activities, and be recommended to receive the award by a professor or ISPE professional. Tyler was chosen as a student who meets these criteria and is pursuing a career in Chemical Engineering, specifically within the development and operation of a biopharmaceutical enterprise.

His co-ops at Northeastern have included process engineering roles at Genzyme and Amgen, both biotechnology companies. Within the College of Engineering, Tyler is a member of the Connections Program, which is a research-based group that provides tutoring and review sessions for first year COE students, and he is also a member of AIChE, Tau Beta Pi, and Omega Chi Epsilon. His scholarship will be put towards his Chemical Engineering Process Control course this semester.

Professor Rebecca Carrier Awarded $450K NSF grant for "Uncovering Regeneration-Permissive Cues in Lower Vertebrate Retina to Inform Retinal Regenerative Medicine".

ChE Associate Professor Rebecca Carrier was awarded a $450,000 NSF grant entitled “Uncovering Regeneration-Permissive Cues in Lower Vertebrate Retina to Inform Retinal Regenerative Medicine.” The overall goal of this project is to identify regeneration-permissive cues in retinal ECM of lower vertebrates (axolotl) to inform successful retinal regeneration strategies for humans.

Retinal degeneration, particularly associated with aging, is a widespread and increasing health problem currently affecting 2.1 million people in the U.S. and imposing a substantial burden on the economy (~$2 billion annually). Cell transplantation strategies have shown tremendous promise, but are significantly limited by low levels of cell survival and integration (<1%). In the body, chemical and physical cues presented by the matrix that surrounds cells, the extracellular matrix (ECM), drive cell behaviors such as survival, proliferation, and migration. Preliminary data indicates mammalian retinal progenitor cells (RPCs) exhibit regenerative behaviors (survival and integration) when introduced to a lower vertebrate eye in a manner mimicking transplantation to a much greater extent than when introduced to a mammalian eye.

This project will develop mechanistic and quantitative relationships between ECM properties (biochemical composition, mechanical properties), cell signaling events, and cell behaviors significant to regeneration. This fundamental, quantitative understanding will provide a framework to guide future retinal regeneration strategies and design of materials mimicking key ECM properties to serve as effective cell delivery vehicles. The proposed project will also nurture a cohesive education plan including teaching and learning across education levels spanning from K-12 to postgraduate.

Shashi Murthy Wins NSF Grant for Cell Therapy Manufacturing with Neon Therapeutics

Chemical Engineering Professor Shashi Murthy has received funding from the National Science Foundation to develop novel manufacturing technologies for cell-based cancer therapies.  This project will be a collaborative effort with Cambridge, MA-based Neon Therapeutics which is developing neo-antigen-based therapeutic vaccines and cell-based therapies for cancer.  Cell-based therapies represent the next major frontier in the treatment of cancer and their personalized nature presents unique challenges in manufacturing.   This project brings together an interdisciplinary team of engineers and immunologists to design innovative automated bioreactors that can be optimized for biological function.  This grant provides $300,000 in funding over a two year period to be shared equally by Northeastern and Neon Therapeutics.

Recent Publications
Extracellular matrix-based cryogels for cartilage tissue engineering
By: Han, Min-Eui; Kim, Su-Hwan; Kim,  Hwan D.; Yim, Hyun-Gu; Bencherif, Sidi A.; Kim, Tae-Il; Hwang, Nathaniel S.  

Silencing the transcriptional repressor, ZCT1, illustrates the tight regulation of terpenoid indole alkaloid biosynthesis
By: Noreen F. Rizvi, Jessica D. Weaver, Erin J. Cram, Carolyn W. T. Lee-Parsons 
PLoS ONE Published: JUL 2016

Complex, multi-scale small intestinal topography replicated in cellular growth substrates fabricated via chemical vapor deposition of Parylene C.
By: Abigail N Koppes, Megha Kamath, Courtney A Pfluger, Daniel D Burkey, Mehmet Dokmeci, Lin Wang and Rebecca L Carrier
BIOFABRICATION   Volume:  8   Number:  3  Published:  AUG 2016

Accelerated synthesis of biomimetic nano hydroxyapatite using simulated body fluid
By: Leena, Maria; Rana, Deepti; Webster, Thomas J.
MATERIALS CHEMISTRY AND PHYSICS   Volume: 180   Pages: 166-172   Published: SEP 1 2016

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Northeastern University Chemical Engineering · 360 Huntington Avenue · 313 Snell Engineering · Boston, Ma 02115 · USA

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