Department of Chemical Engineering August Newsletter
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Letter from the Chair

Transitioning to the Fall Semester on Very High Notes!

Well, it is the end of the summer and as we reflect back, we could not be more proud of our students, alumni, faculty, and staff for their  outstanding representation of what Northeastern Chemical Engineering is all about! Leadership, innovation, energy, and momentum! This summer, our students continued to show their leadership in biomaterials, energy, and other areas of chemical engineering by starting new conferences, receiving awards, and pushing boundaries in science.  For example, our students hosted the first ever Boston Biomaterials Day on campus and our iGEM team entered the iGEM Jamboree. Our alumni continued to be engaged in our efforts by initiating a ribbon cutting ceremony for our new Unit Operations Lab (please come!) on Sept. 27th and other events to coalesce our ever expanding chemical engineering family. Our faculty continued to win awards such as Prof. Ed Goluch who was selected to attend a very prestigious educational event at the National Academy of Engineering. And, our staff were incredibly busy this summer designing a new chemical engineering front office, welcoming new staff, and continuing to meet and exceed chemical engineering needs, such as welcoming our highest ever incoming graduate student class size and four new faculty members. So, please enjoy this August Newsletter as we say goodbye to a very rewarding summer and welcome the largest number of students, staff, and faculty we have ever had in the history of Northeastern's Chemical Engineering!


Thomas Webster
Professor and Department Chair, Chemical Engineering
Art Zafiropoulo Chair in Engineering
Faculty Highlight
Ryan Koppes
Assistant Professor
PhD, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute
The goal of my research is to better understand and develop bioelectronics therapies for the treatment of heart disease by interfacing with the autonomic nervous system. Towards this aim, we are trying to break the barrier between the nervous system and synthetic electronics by developing softer, biologically-inspired technologies.

A subconscious communication occurs between the brain and the heart via the autonomic nervous system to meet the physiological demands of environmental stress. In healthy individuals, an overall balance exists between the parasympathetic and sympathetic nervous system. However, a prolonged imbalance can lead to a number of cardiovascular and cognitive maladies. We are developing a set of tools and model platforms to not only establish a clearer understanding of the role of this imbalance on the development of disease, but conceive new diagnostic paradigms and treatment therapies for cardiovascular disease, leveraging new conductive materials for interfacing with the autonomic nervous system.
Upcoming Events and 
Unit Operations Lab Ribbon Cutting Ceremony
Tues. September 27

007 Mugar (basement) Northeastern Campus
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

In honor of Prof. Srinivas Sridhar receiving the 2016 BMES Diversity Award, we are having a FREE reception on Oct. 7th! The reception will be in Marquette II and III from 8:00pm to 10:00pm.

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)

Prof. and Chair Thomas Webster To Run 1st International Meeting on the Advanced Applications of Natural Biomaterials

On September 29-30, a hundred researchers will gather at the 1st International Meeting on the Advanced Applications of Natural Biomaterials. This conference will be held at the Center of Natural Tropical Biomaterials located in Rionegro, Antioquia, Colombia. Attendees include researchers and graduate students from engineering as well as biomedical companies, pharmaceutical companies, and representatives from the agro-food industry.

The Center of Natural Tropical Biomaterials is a joint center between Northeastern University and the University of Antioquia, with a mission to strengthen collaborations around the use of natural materials commonly found in tropical locations for medicine.

Research at the center is of great importance to the scientific community throughout the region and the country, and has led to collaboration between Dr. Juan Jose Pavon Palacio and Dr. Thomas Webster. Most recently, Dr. Pavon Palacio travelled to Northeastern to speak at Boston Biomaterials Day for his presentation titled “Advanced Processing of Porous Titanium for Bone Tissue Repair: Multi-Factorial, Multi-Scale and Multi-Functional New Therapies”. Dr. Webster will represent Northeastern University in the conference discussion “Opportunities and Strategies to Participate in the Center of Tropical Biomaterials”.

Northeastern iGEM Team to Compete in iGEM Jamboree

International genetically engineered machine (iGEM) is a synthetic biology competition in which over 250 collegiate teams from around the world employ biology as an engineering substrate to try and address societal problems. The actual competition of iGEM is from the judged design and application of BioBricks: genetic parts that conform to iGEM standards. “The use of the ‘biobricks’ allows for collaboration between various teams, while still fostering the program’s competitive spirit. I wouldn’t be surprised to see significant scientific contributions come out of the iGEM program,” notes ChemE PhD student Marissa Puzan, Team Advisor.

The competition itself fits into the larger trend of increasing interest in synthetic biology, evidenced by the emergence of synthetic biology startups in therapeutics (Synlogic), manufacturing (Ginkgo Bioworks & Zymergen), and even software (Benchling and Lattice Automations). Several technologies are driving this trend, including laboratory automation, cheaper synthetic DNA, CRISPR and microfluidics.

“Last year we explored the production of heterologous antibodies in microalgae. It was a learning experience, to say the least. At the end of the year we were able to successfully design and construct a microalgae expression plasmid, conforming to the iGEM standards, which will allow future iGEM teams to further explore microalgae as a synthetic biology chassis. We received a bronze medal, which we were happy with, but we hope to do much better this second time around,” remarks team captain Josh Timmons, S’16.


Prof. Edgar Goluch to Represent Chemical Engineering at NAE

Prof. Edgar Goluch has been invited to participate at the National Academy of Engineering's eighth Frontiers of Engineering Education (FOEE) symposium. Prof. Goluch will be presenting a poster at the symposium about his engineering education innovations, with a focus on entrepreneurship training.

The vision of the FOEE is to strengthen the engineering and innovation capacity and capability of the nation by catalyzing a vibrant community of emerging engineering education leaders. During the 2.5 day symposium, they participate in discussions and workshops focused on approaches to classroom, laboratory, project, experiential, computer-based, or other modes of preparing engineering students to work and lead in the 21st century.

The attendees at FOEE are nominated by NAE members or deans and chosen from a highly competitive pool of applicants.

Recent Publications
Lipid-associated oral delivery: Mechanisms and analysis of oral absorption
By:  Rezhdo, O., Speciner, L., Carrier, R. L. 2016. 

Decellularized retinal matrix: Natural platforms for human retinal progenitor cell culture
Kundu, J., Michaelson, A., Talbot, K., Baranov, P., Young, M. J., Carrier, R. L.
ACTA BIOMATERIALIA   Volume:  31   Pages: 61-70

A combined experimental and molecular simulation investigation of the individual effects of Corexit surfactants on the aerosolization of oil spill matter 
By: Zhang, Zenghui; Avij, Paria; Perkins, Matt J.; Liyana-Arachchi, Thilanga P.; Field, Jennifer A.; Valsaraj, Kalliat T.; Hung, Francisco R.
THE JOURNAL OF PHYSICAL CHEMISTRY A  Volume: 120   Issue: 30  Pages: 6048-6058  Published: JUL 2016.

Multi-staged chip for self-sorting bacterial cells to obtain pure cultures 
By: Nil Tandogan, Edgar D. Goluch , Clara Romero Santiveri
Proc. of The 20th International Conference on Miniaturized Systems for Chemistry and Life Sciences 
Presented: OCT. 2016

Addition of Selenium Nanoparticles to Electrospun Silk Scaffold Improves the Mammalian Cell Activity While Reducing Bacterial Growth
By: Chung, Stanley; Ercan, Batur; Roy, Amit K.; Thomas J. Webster
FRONTIERS IN PHYSIOLOGY   Volume: 7     Article Number: 297   Published: JUL 14 2016
A solid self-nanoemulsifying system of the BCS class IIb drug dabigatran etexilate to improve oral bioavailability
By: Chai, Fujuan; Sun, Linlin; Ding, Yafei; Thomas J. Webster
NANOMEDICINE   Volume: 11   Issue: 14   Pages: 1801-1816   Published: JUL 2016
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