Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering at Illinois

The Department of Chemical & Biomolecular Engineering graduate students and members of the ChBE Graduate Student Advisory Council organized the 10th annual Graduate Research Symposium, which was held Oct. 7, 2011.

During the symposium, students gave 10 posters presentation and 10 oral presentations about their research.
The presentations showcased a wide variety of cutting-edge research. Topics varied from protein and tissue engineering to energy conversion in fuel cells and applications of microfluidics for high-throughput screening.

Industry leaders and former alumni of the School of Chemical Sciences served as judges, including Ahmad Hilaly from Archer Daniel Midland Company, Brian Anderson and Abdelqader Zamamiri from Abbott Laboratories and Dennis Guthrie from the Dow Chemical Company.

The judges provided students with insights gained from their experience in the commercial world. Judges and students also had an opportunity to socialize during the informal social event the evening before the symposium.

Guthrie, associate R & D director for external technology at Dow, said the graduate students in Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering are doing some exciting research and presented it well.

“All the students did a nice job,” he said. “However, in both the posters and oral presentations, a small number of students stood out from the rest, so narrowing it to say the top three was not overly difficult, but selecting the best of the three was difficult.”

Congratulations to the winners.

Oral Presentations

First Place: Ryan Cobb (advisor Dr. Huimin Zhao), “Characterization and Directed Evolution of FrbF for Combinatorial Biosynthesis of Novel FR-900098 Derivatives.”

Second Place: Steven Caliari (advisor Dr. Brendan Harley), “The Effect of Scaffold Microstructure and Soluble Factor Presentation on Cell Bioactivity for Tendon Tissue Engineering.”

Third Place: Ross DeVolder (advisor Dr. Hyunjoon Kong), “Directed Blood Vessel Growth Using an Angiogenic Microfiber/Microparticle Composite Patch.”

Poster Presentations

First Place: Matthew Naughton (advisor Dr. Paul Kenis), “Effects of Hydrophobicity and Catalyst Binder on Alkaline Fuel Cell Electrode Performance.”

Second Place: Sachit Goyal (advisor Dr. Paul Kenis), “Microfluidic Platform for Evaporation-Based Solid Form Screening of Pharmaceutical Compounds.”

Third Place: Bhushan Mahadik (adviser Dr. Brendan Harley), “Multigradient Hydrogels to Decode Extrinsic Regulation of Hematopoietic Stem Cell Fate.”