Catch-up on the latest news from the Chemical Engineering department.
Northeastern University College of Engineering
Department of Chemical Engineering Newsletter  January | 2016
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Letter from the Chair

Thomas J. WebsterWe have decided to implement monthly newsletters to keep our colleagues, alumni, and friends abreast of the plethora of activity surrounding the Department of Chemical Engineering at Northeastern.

New highlights include a summary of scholarly activities (including published articles), more frequent updates on events and awards, and student highlights.

As you can see, we have started 2016 out with a bang with news of Prof. Shashi Murthy becoming a fellow of AIMBE (representing the highest two percent of the medical and biological engineering field), Prof. Art Coury hosting a workshop in China to improve research collaborations, and our largest incoming spring graduate student body ever. We are also happy to announce that Dick Giberti (E'65 and PhD'70) will be our new Industrial Advisory Board (IAB) Chair. Prof. Kate Ziemer also brought five of our undergraduates to the 2015 AIChE Gala in New York City.

With all of this news, how can we not start publishing monthly newsletters?

Webster sig
Thomas J. Webster

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

Dick Giberti Announced as New Industrial Advisory Board (IAB) Chair for Chemical Engineering.

Dick GibertiDick Giberti is a 1965 graduate of Northeastern's Chemical Engineering Department. He also received his PhD from Northeastern in 1970. Since retiring in 2011 as President of Artisan Industries, a small chemical process equipment manufacturer, Dick has been consulting in the area of process technology management. Prior to joining Artisan, Dick held various environmental and technology management positions with Kennecott Copper and Dorr-Oliver, a subsidiary of Sohio and British Petroleum. Dick has been an active member of our IAB over the past couple of years.

Please join us in welcoming Dick!

Save The Date: Chemical Engineering Alumni Day is Feb. 6

On Saturday Feb. 6, you will have the chance to tour new parts of campus, hear about faculty research, and cheer on chemical engineering student Caleb Donnelly, E'16, at the Northeastern men's basketball game against the University of North Carolina-Wilmington at Matthews Arena.

You'll enjoy a meeting and demonstration from the Chem-E Car student group, a tour of the Unit Operations Lab, and a tour of Snell Library. Afterward, attendees will head over to the Alumni Center on the 6th floor of Columbus Place, for refreshments and mingling before the 7 p.m. basketball game.

» Don't miss out — these tickets will go fast!

Shashi Murthy Elected Fellow of AIMBE

Shashi MurthyChE Professor Shashi Murthy has been elected a Fellow of the American Institute for Medical and Biological Engineering for outstanding contributions to the science and technology of cell purification for therapeutic and analytical applications. AIMBE Fellows represent the top two percent of the medical and biological engineering community and are elected via a rigorous process. The AIMBE College of Fellows is a group of around 1,500 individuals who have distinguished themselves through their contributions in research, industrial practice and/or education in medical and biological engineering. Congratulations to Shashi on receiving this honor!

Webster Interviewed for Recent Chipotle Outbreak

It’s been a scary past few months for fans of the burrito chain Chipotle. The restaurants founded in 1993 have been battling numerous issues of foodborne illnesses. In an effort to be transparent about the issues and avoid a PR crisis, Chipotle’s corporate website has added new sections to their homepage: “Our Commitment to Food Safety” and “Food Safety Update”. For Bostonians, the health threats hit close to home. Boston College reported that 141 students have said they suffered norovirus symptoms after eating the same weekend (December 4th- to 5th) at the Cleveland Circle Chipotle.

Chemical Engineering Professor and Department Chair Thomas Webster was recently interviewed by Today Show, WBUR, and for his expertise on the norovirus. As an internationally renowned researcher with a focus on nano-biomaterials and serving as the President of the Society for Biomaterials, Webster was able to explain to the public where the virus came from, how to eradicate it, and the typical symptoms people will experience.

The warning signs of infection are not always dramatic, which may lead to a person being unaware of their initial illness. “It’s even more difficult with these symptoms. You know, they usually start as stomach cramps. You know, there’s a lot of things that cause that,” said Webster. “And every time you have a stomachache, should you really stay home from work?”

Whatever the reason for this case, Webster said the food preparation model at Chipotle raises the risk of spreading illness. Burritos are filled and rolled assembly-line style. “We seem as a culture to like when people prepare food in front of us,” he said. “And, you know, I’m sorry to say, but putting up a Plexiglas window is not the safest way to keep a virus or a bacteria from contamination.” Webster says it’s better to prepare food in a controlled area, and that companies that choose to prepare food in the open need to be extra vigilant. Unfortunately, Chipotle also receives a larger exposure to pathogens from their food suppliers because Chipotle serves a large quantity of raw vegetables on a daily basis.

Norovirus also is not easy to eradicate, according to Webster. "Hopefully they'll be effective, but you have to do a lot more than cleaning solutions.'' Webster notes, "You know you need things like ultra violet lights, you need things like high temperature."

BioE PhD Student Michelle Stolzoff Travels to Dubai for Nanotechnology Event

Michelle StolzoffMichelle Stolzoff, PhD'17, traveled to Dubai last December to present at the 4th Nano Today Conference, representing the Webster Nanomedicine Lab. The invited talk, titled "15 Years of Commercializing Medical Devices Using Nanotechnology" covered a wide range of research done in the Webster lab, both past and present. In the short time there, Michelle was not only able to network with fellow nano-researchers but also explore the sandy landscape of the Arabian Desert surrounding Dubai.

Five ChE Undergraduate Students Represent Northeastern at AIChE Safety Gala

The 2015 AIChE Gala, held in NYC celebrated the Center for Chemical Process Safety’s 30th anniversary. The CCPS is an organization of companies that develop and share safety technologies, information, and best practices. Since 1985, CCPS has focused on faculty training, curriculum and learning modules, and student boot camps.

With over 350 people at the event, attendees were VPs, CEOs, and CTOs of companies employing chemical engineers around the world and representing most of the industries employing Chemical Engineers. The gala honored CEOs of Exxon Mobil Corporation, The Dow Chemical Company, and Eastman Chemical Company for outstanding contributions to process safety. Primarily a fundraising event, the AIChE Safety Gala raised more than $600,000, a record amount for the organization. These funds will support the global expansion of process safety education in the undergraduate chemical engineering curriculum.

A highlight of the event was five Chemical Engineering undergraduate students who sat at different tables around the room and engaged in informal conversation with the industry representatives. Emma Kaeli, Heather Davis, Jennifer Langh, Owen Durham, and Chris Lionetti traveled to NYC with Professor Kate Ziemer. Each of these students has some experience with Process Safety at Northeastern University in coursework, dialogs abroad, and co-op. As the only undergraduate students invited to the gala, it was quite an accolade from AIChe.

Rose Perkins Honored as First Distinguished Alumni Speaker

Rose PerkinsOn Friday, Nov. 13, 2015, faculty and students gathered to hear alumna Rose Perkins deliver a seminar on work-life balance and how Northeastern ChE helped her career.

Perkins received her BS in Chemical Engineering from Northeastern University. She serves as co-chair of the business sector in EPA’s New England Green Chemistry Initiative and also serves on corporate advisory boards for two non-profits; Beyond Benign and Net-Impact.

Rose Perkins works in the Corporate Sustainability group as Associate Director of Sustainability for The Dow Chemical Company. Her responsibilities include developing and deploying business integration and employee engagement sustainability programs across the company. Focused on advancing Dow’s leadership in sustainability through the power of collaboration, Perkins leads a strategic network of Dow business leaders to promote best-practice sharing on sustainable business strategies.

Professor Ron Willey was delighted to give his former student the award, for First Distinguished Alumni Speaker in the Department of Chemical Engineering. “It is always exciting to see a former student, who worked hard in the Unit Operations Laboratory under my instruction in the 90’s and 00’s, succeed and give back to the students of today. Rose did extremely well in UO lab. She had the “neatest” penmanship of anyone that I have taught in NU,” says Professor Willey.

December/January Publications

Identification, Characterization, and Expression of Diacylgylcerol Acyltransferase Type-1 from Chlorella Vulgaris
By: Linda Kirchner, Alison Wirshing, Lutfiye Kurt, Thomas Reinard, James Glick, Erin J. Cram, Hans-Jörg Jacobsen, and Carolyn W.T. Lee-Parsons
AGAL RESEARCH, Volume: 13 Pages 167-181 Published: JAN 2016

Enhanced apatite-forming ability and antibacterial activity of porous anodic alumina embedded with CaO-SiO2-Ag2O bioactive materials
By: Ni, Siyu; Li, Xiaohong; Yang, Pengan; Webster, Thomas J

The influence of nanostructured features on bacterial adhesion and bone cell functions on severely shot peened 316L stainless steel
By: Bagherifard, Sara; Hickey, Daniel J.; de Luca, Alba C.; Webster, Thomas J
BIOMATERIALS Volume: 73 Pages: 185-197 Published: DEC 2015

Reducing Staphylococcus aureus growth on Ti alloy nanostructured surfaces through the addition of Sn
By: Verissimo, Nathalia C.; Geilich, Benjamin M.; Oliveira, Haroldo G.; Webster, Thomas J.
JOURNAL OF BIOMEDICAL MATERIALS RESEARCH PART A Volume: 103 Issue: 12 Pages: 3757-3763 Published: DEC 2015

Shape and surface chemistry effects on the cytotoxicity and cellular uptake of metallic nanorods and nanospheres
By: Favi, Pelagie Marlene; Morales Valencia, Mariana; Elliott, Paul Robert; Webster, Thomas J
JOURNAL OF BIOMEDICAL MATERIALS RESEARCH PART A Volume: 103 Issue: 12 Pages: 3940-3955 Published: DEC 2015

Antibacterial Nanostructured Polyhydroxybutyrate Membranes for Guided Bone Regeneration
By: Karahaliloglu, Zeynep; Ercan, Batur; Taylor, Erik N.; Webster, Thomas J.
JOURNAL OF BIOMEDICAL NANOTECHNOLOGY Volume: 11 Issue: 12 Pages: 2253-2263 Published: DEC 2015

Pseudomonas aeruginosa: arsenal of resistance mechanisms, decades of changing resistance profiles, and future antimicrobial therapies
By: El Zowalaty, Mohamed E.; Al Thani, Asmaa A.; Webster, Thomas J.; et al.
FUTURE MICROBIOLOGY Volume: 10 Issue: 10 Pages: 1683-1706 Published: DEC 2015
For more information on this and other happenings in Chemical Engineering, visit the Department news blotter.
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