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

Congratulations to our Faculty, Students, and Co-Op Awardees!

This month we highlight some significant awards our faculty and students have recently received. Of particular note, Prof. Sri Sridhar won the coveted Biomedical Engineering Society (BMES) Diversity Award which he will receive in Oct. in Minneapolis for his achievements using nano medicine as a way to increase minority student interest in science and engineering. Moreover, we issued our 1st Annual Co-Op Employee Award this summer to Genzyme/Sanofi who provide numerous excellent experiential learning opportunities to our chemical engineering undergraduates. We continue to be blown away by the number of high quality co-op experiences they offer to our students and recognized them for their strong, steadfast, partnership during a special lunch in Boston. Lastly, we held our first ever research retreat in which celebrated our highest ever research funding obtained during the last fiscal year. We also continued to push our boundaries of how we can impact research from health to energy applications in the years to come. So, please join me in congratulating the numerous faculty, students, and Co-Op employees for all of their success!

Thomas Webster
Professor and Department Chair, Chemical Engineering
Art Zafiropoulo Chair in Engineering
Faculty Highlight
Nasim Annabi
Assistant Professor
PhD, University of Sydney, Australia
Our research focuses on the synthesis of advanced biomaterials as well as their integration with nano- and microscale technologies to engineer implantable 3D tissue constructs, which mimic the properties of the native tissues. Engineering these biomimetic constructs will help to provide a better understanding of the mechanisms of human diseases, and aid in the development of new therapies and drug screening platforms.

We are also interested in the development of microengineered models to study cell biomaterial interactions for diagnostic and therapeutic applications, by integrating biomaterials, tissue engineering, and microfluidics approaches. The ultimate goal of our research program is to translate the engineered microscale biomaterials and tissue constructs into the clinical setting.

2016 AIChE Annual Meeting

November 13-18, 2016
San Francisco, CA
Come see our booth at the Grad Recruitment Fair on Nov. 13th and our FREE reception on Nov. 15th!
Chemical Engineering Honors Genzyme with Co-op Employer of the Year Award

Since 2011, Genzyme (now a Sanofi Company) has been a major employer partner for chemical engineering students at Northeastern.  In the past three years they have employed close to 10% of chemical engineering students working on co-op.  As Genzyme has made co-ops a part of their overall business plan, jobs are unique from term to term and dependent on existing projects. This provides students with true experiential education and a chance to work at an innovative company.

On May 26th, Department Chair, Thomas Webster and the undergraduate chemical engineering co-op coordinators, presented the Genzyme university relations staff with the first ever Department of Chemical Engineering Award for Employer of the Year.    

Genzyme was chosen for the award due to their outstanding contributions to the careers of chemical engineers at Northeastern. “It’s great to be able to recognize one of our employer partners for the outstanding work they do and the opportunities they provide for our students. Genzyme has consistently hired about 10% of our chemical engineering population each co-op cycle even with student enrollment reaching our highest numbers ever,” says Jake Walker.

Professor Srinivas Sridhar Receives 2016 BMES Diversity Award

The Awards Committee of the Biomedical Engineering Society (BMES) Board of Directors has selected Professor Srinivas Sridhar from the College of Science and Chemical Engineering as the recipient of the 2016 BMES Diversity Award.

“We are very fortunate to have Prof. Sri Sridhar affiliated with chemical engineering due to his tireless efforts promoting diversity at both the undergraduate and graduate levels which have clearly influenced the next generation on scientists and engineers. This award from BMES solidifies his legacy proactively promoting and achieving diversity across all levels of higher education,” remarks Thomas Webster, Professor and Department Chair, Chemical Engineering and Art Zafiropoulo Chair in Engineering.

The 2016 BMES Diversity Award honors an individual for outstanding contributions to improving gender and racial diversity in biomedical engineering. The award is given for a broad range of activities including research, education and service that improve diversity in biomedical engineering. Prof. Sridhar was selected for the award because of his strong impact on diversity through national institutional programs, training grants and mentoring. 

Professor and Chair Thomas Webster Receives Acta Biomaterialia Silver Medal

Thomas Webster will receive the 1st Annual Acta Biomaterialia Silver Medal at the Society For Biomaterials Conference in Minneapolis in April 2017.

The Acta Biomaterialia Silver Medal intends to honor and recognize scientific contributions and leadership from academic, industry and public sector leaders in the midst of their careers. Many awards recognize outstanding young investigators or integrated contributions throughout a career. The Silver Medal is established to recognize significant research contributions that are recent and timely.

Collaboration and Innovation at Chemical Engineering Research Retreat


On July 18, faculty and staff from the Department of Chemical Engineering came together for a Research Retreat led by Associate Professor & Associate Chair of Research, Rebecca Carrier. The retreat was held in the historic Fenway Center building.

The first part of the day focused on Faculty Highlight Presentations and group discussions to promote collaboration and sharing of resources. The department also shared exciting news, including updates on the renovations in the Unit Operations Lab and the Main Office. The last part of the day was an active and engaging poster session with over 30 graduate students presenting research from a variety of lab groups. Faculty and students were able to walk around the room and see research from areas including biological, materials, and engineering education.

Chemical Engineering Hosts "Boston Biomaterials Day" Conference with Society For Biomaterials


Over one hundred students, researchers, professors and industry professionals came together on June 30th for Boston Biomaterials Day at Northeastern University, funded by the Society For Biomaterials Biomaterials Days Grant. Led by Bioengineering PhD student Michelle Stolzoff, the conference featured top-tiered research in biomaterials from the Greater Boston Area and beyond. Dena Shahriari, a PhD student from the University of Michigan, received a travel grant from the NEU Department of Chemical Engineering to present an oral presentation and a poster on her work: “Northeastern Biomaterials day had so much to offer: meeting intelligent delightful colleagues, learning about exciting research, and making life-time collaborations. Thank you to the organizers and participants!”

Highlights included David F. Williams’ plenary presentation; a “Life after PhD” panel discussion including Northeastern professors Ryan Koppes and Adam Ekenseair, as well as recent BioE PhD graduate David Walsh; concurrent workshops highlighting biomaterials in food science and strategies for entering the entrepreneurial world; and, of course, networking with peers and colleagues.

The poster session was energetic and lively, with over 30 posters from a variety of research areas. A talented team of judges from industry and academia voted on “Best Student Poster” (Ehsan Shirzaei Sani), while all attendees voted for “People’s Choice Best Oral Presentation” (Andrew Spencer) and “People’s Choice Best Poster” (Caterina Bartomeu).

Recent Publications
XanoMatrix surfaces as scaffolds for mesenchymal stem cell culture and growth
By: Bhardwaj, Garima; Webster, Thomas J.
INTERNATIONAL JOURNAL OF NANOMEDICINE   Volume: 11   Pages: 2655-2661   Published: 2016

Cytoprotective effects of cerium and selenium nanoparticles on heat-shocked human dermal fibroblasts: an in vitro evaluation
By: Yuan, Bo; Webster, Thomas J.; Roy, Amit K.
INTERNATIONAL JOURNAL OF NANOMEDICINE   Volume: 11   Pages: 1427-1433   Published: 2016

The role of surfactants in the formulation of elastic liposomal gels containing a synthetic opioid analgesic
By:  Singh S, Vardhan H, Kotla NG, Maddiboyina B, Sharma D, Webster TJ
INTERNATIONAL JOURNAL OF NANOMEDICINE   Volume: 11   Pages: 1475-1482   Published: 2016

Review of recent research on biomedical applications of electrospun polymer nanofibers for improved wound healing
By: Hassiba AJ, El Zowalaty ME, Nasrallah GK, Webster TJ, Luyt AS, Abdullah AM, Elzatahry AA
NANOMEDICINE   Volume: 11   Issue: 6   Pages: 715-737   Published: 2016

A novel dissolution media for testing drug release from a nanostructured polysaccharide-based colon specific drug delivery system: an approach to alternative colon media
By: Kotla NG, Singh S, Maddiboyina B, Sunnapu O, Webster TJ
INTERNATIONAL JOURNAL OF NANOMEDICINE   Volume: 11   Pages: 1089-1095   Published: 2016

Antimicrobial performance of mesoporous titania thin films: role of pore size, hydrophobicity, and antibiotic release
By: Atefyekta S, Ercan B, Karlsson J, Taylor E, Chung S, Webster TJ, Andersson M
INTERNATIONAL JOURNAL OF NANOMEDICINE   Volume: 11   Pages: 977-990   Published: 2016

Enhanced chondrocyte culture and growth on biologically inspired nanofibrous cell culture dishes
By: Bhardwaj, Garima; Webster, Thomas J.
INTERNATIONAL JOURNAL OF NANOMEDICINE   Volume: 11   Pages: 479-483   Published: 2016

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; Liyana Arachchi,  Thilanga Prabhash; Field, Jennifer; Valsaraj, Kalliat; Hung, Francisco
THE JOURNAL OF PHYSICAL CHEMISTRY Published (Web): July 11, 2016

Silencing the transcriptional repressor, ZCT1, illustrates the tight regulation of terpenoid indole alkaloid biosynthesis
By: Rizvi, N.F., Weaver, J., Cram, E.J., Lee-Parsons, C.W.T. (2016).  
PLoS ONE   Accepted July 7, 2016.  

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