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

Thomas J. WebsterFebruary continues to be a very active month for Chemical Engineering at Northeastern University.

We held our second annual Chemical Engineering Day on Feb. 24 during National Engineer's Week with many exciting events including a presentation from a Nobel laureate, games from our students, and stand-up comedy by Prof. Landherr. We will also be busy planning for "Biomaterials Day," which will occur June 30 and will be completely run by our Society For Biomaterials Student Chapter. Our plenary talk will be given by Prof. David Williams, former editor of Biomaterials. We held our first ever alumni appreciation day, which featured ChemE Car, nanoparticle synthesis by our graduate students, and rooting for the Huskies basketball team.

As our department continues to grow (and the activities we hold), please be sure to keep in touch via LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, and by frequently visiting our website. I hope to see you soon!

Webster sig
Thomas J. Webster

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

Alumni, Faculty, and Students Celebrate Chemical Engineering Alumni Day

On Saturday, Feb. 6, the Department of Chemical Engineering held a festive and fun alumni event on campus. For many alumni, it was the first time they had been back on campus in many years. Seeing the modern buildings, hearing about the newly created Global Exchange Program for undergraduate research, and touring the Unit Operations Lab and Snell Library impressed them with the growth and change happening at Northeastern University.

ChemE CarThe day started out with a demonstration from the ChemE Car student group, who showed attendees their competition-ready car and explained the chemical processes used to create it. “I think we’re on track to do really well this spring,” said team co-captain Cory Sweezo, E’18, referring to the group’s upcoming performance in the AIChE 2016 Northeast regional chem-e-car competition in April. Co-captain Justin Ramberger, E’18 further remarked, “I think the team’s success comes from our desire to innovate.”

Everyone then walked to the Unit Operations Lab together for a tour by instructor Tracy Carter and student Jonathan Soucy, E'19. Construction will begin on the Unit Operations Lab this summer, and attendees had the first look at the blueprint with plans. Although some familiar equipment remained in the lab from when alumni were students, people were pleasantly surprised with the new equipment, improvements, and the hands-on use of the lab by undergraduate students to learn engineering skills including river clean up techniques.

After a tour of Snell Library to see the 3D printer, audio recording studio, and new student study spaces, the group moved to the elegant 6th floor of Alumni Center for a reception. With views of the city skyline in the evening, it was a perfect place to relax over coffee, tea, and desserts. The lab students of Thomas Webster (Professor and Department Chair, Chemical Engineering and Art Zafiropoulo Chair in Engineering), Ece Alpaslan, Garima Bhardwaj, and Chris Hassan demonstrated nanoparticle synthesis to a captivated audience.

Although the Huskies did not win the basketball game, alumni cheered on Chemical Engineering student and basketball player Caleb Donnelly with enthusiasm! We hope to have more Chemical Engineering alumni events in the future.

ChE Professors Abby Koppes and Ryan Koppes Featured in Boston Globe

KoppesChemical Engineering professors Ryan and Abby Koppes were featured on the front page of the Boston Globe in a Valentine's Day themed article under the section “The Right Chemistry.” Abigail and Ryan Koppes are married and have known each other since the age of 15. They have completed high school, college, grad school, and an internship together. Now they work together in Mugar Hall with research focusing on nervous system injuries.

They say their closeness makes their work better. They can bounce ideas off each other, edit each other’s papers, and keep each other on track. “We can look across the couch and say, ‘Did you get my e-mail?’” said Abby.

The Department of Chemical Engineering agrees, two Koppes are better than one!

ChE PhD Student Mark Lalli Wins 2015 Graduate Seminar Award

LalliMark Lalli was honored with the 2015 Graduate Seminar Award. Lalli is a fourth year PhD student in Chemical Engineering under guidance of Anand Asthagiri. The winning seminar was titled "Impact of E-cadherin expression on highly confined electrotaxis."

The Graduate Seminar Award gives $1,500 to a recipient for traveling to a conference of their choice to present research. Lalli’s research focuses on using electrical stimuli to direct cell migration, particularly with respect to the breast cancer model system. He has published on the role of cell confinement in electrotaxis and currently has another paper in preparation about a high efficiency cell tracking algorithm for use in analyzing cell migration. Lalli and his team are also preparing a patent on a novel electrotactic device.

ChE Professor Ryan Koppes Featured in Materials Today for Research in Nerve Repair

Ryan KoppesChemical Engineering Professor Ryan Koppes is featured in Materials Today for his research on peripheral nerve repair and artificial scaffolds.

The difficulty of repairing nerve damage and the negative life-long symptoms associated with it motivated Polina Anikeeva of MIT and Ryan Koppes of Northeastern to find a solution.

As an alternative to autografts, artificial scaffolds can support and guide the regrowth of neurons. All of the synthetic and biopolymer scaffolds used in patients so far have had a cylindrical cross-section, but there is mounting evidence that the size and shape of a scaffold can have a significant effect on cell growth.

Koppes remarks, “Our findings indicate that grooved fibers yield the fastest nerve growth, and there is a correlation between the alignment (i.e. how linear the growth is with respect to fiber axis) and distance. Neuronal processes inherently follow topographical features and incorporating those cues into synthetic nerve grafts is critical for a device intended for regeneration.”

The researchers used a technique common to fiber photonics, the thermal drawing process (TDP), to fabricate their scaffolds. Says Koppes, “One advantage of this technique is resulting features in the fiber can be incorporated in the macroscopic preform with standard machining techniques. Therefore, we do not need use expensive microfabrication techniques to get the same small features we achieve using thermal drawing. Thermal drawing further allows for incorporation of multiple material types and a high yield.”

Society For Biomaterials Student Chapter Wins Biomaterials Day Conference Grant

Michelle StolzoffPhD bioengineering student Michelle Stolzoff and the Northeastern University Society for Biomaterials student chapter (advisor: Thomas Webster) were recently awarded a grant to host a Biomaterials Day conference at Northeastern this summer.

David Williams, former editor of the journal Biomaterials and pioneer in biomaterials, will be the keynote speaker. The conference will take place in the Curry Student Center on June 30, 2016 and is free for all attendees. A website with more information may be found at
Dana Farkas

ChE Student Dana Farkas Attends SPIE Photonics West Conference

Dana Farkas, a third year Chemical Engineering major, attended the SPIE Photonics West Conference in San Francisco, California. It is the largest optics conference in the U.S., drawing over 20,000 attendees each year.

Farkas was given the opportunity to present the work she completed on her first co-op at Radiation Monitoring Devices from January 2015 to June 2015. Reflecting on her experience, she says "I had a great experience there, and would never have been able to do any of this work without the help and guidance I received from mentors and team leaders, specifically my boss Noah Kolodziejski, with whom I attended the conference."

The paper is titled "A disposable, flexible skin patch for clinical optical perfusion monitoring at multiple depths" and will be published in the conference proceedings in a few weeks. In simpler terms, she worked to develop a skin patch that can be used in a clinical environment to noninvasively predict the early onset of hemorrhagic shock.

Farkas was also able to network with many attendees including PhD students, post docs, well-established professors, and leaders of the science world. Farkas found it inspiring to hear the talks about research and novel developments around the world. She reflects, "I am so incredibly grateful to have been given this opportunity, and would like to thank both RMD for their continuous support and guidance, and Northeastern for providing funding to allow me to take this trip. It was truly an unforgettable experience!"

January/February Publications

Effect of the structural constituents of metal organic frameworks on carbon dioxide capture
By: Andirova, Dinara; Cogswell, Christopher F.; Lei, Yu; Choi, Sunho
MICROPOROUS AND MESOPOROUS MATERIALS Volume: 219 Pages: 276-305 Published: JAN 1 2016

Reducing bone cancer cell functions using selenium nanocomposites
By: Stolzoff, Michelle; Webster, Thomas J.
JOURNAL OF BIOMEDICAL MATERIALS RESEARCH PART A Volume: 104 Issue: 2 Pages: 476-482 Published: FEB 2016

Preparation, characterization, and in ovo vaccination of dextran-spermine nanoparticle DNA vaccine coexpressing the fusion and hemagglutinin genes against Newcastle disease
By: Firouzamandi, Masoumeh; Moeini, Hassan; Hosseini, Seyed Davood; Webster, Thomas J.
INTERNATIONAL JOURNAL OF NANOMEDICINE Volume: 11 Pages: 259-267 Published: 2016

Improved molecular fingerprint analysis employing multi-branched gold nanoparticles in conjunction with surface-enhanced Raman scattering
By: Johnston, Jencilin; Taylor, Erik N.; Gilbert, Richard J.; Webster, Thomas J.
INTERNATIONAL JOURNAL OF NANOMEDICINE Volume: 11 Pages: 45-53 Published: 2016

Developing detailed kinetic models of syngas production from bio-oil gasification using Reaction Mechanism Generator (RMG)
By: Fariba Seyedzadeh Khanshan, Richard H West
FUEL Volume: 163 Pages: 25-33 Published: JAN 2016

Electrochemical detection of Pseudomonas in wound exudate samples from patients with chronic wounds
By: Sismaet, Hunter J.; Banerjee, Anirban; McNish, Sean; Choi, Yongwook; Torralba, Manolito; Lucas, Sarah; Chan, Agnes; Shanmugam, Victoria K.; Goluch, Edgar D.
WOUND REPAIR AND REGENERATION doi: 10.1111/wrr.12414. [Epub ahead of print] Published: JAN 2016

A liver-on-a-chip platform with bioprinted hepatic spheroids
By: Nupura S Bhise, Vijayan Manoharan, Solange Massa, Ali Tamayol, Masoumeh Ghaderi, Mario Miscuglio, Qi Lang, Yu Shrike Zhang, Su Ryon Shin, Giovanni Calzone, Nasim Annabi, Thomas D Shupe, Colin E Bishop, Anthony Atala, Mehmet R Dokmeci, Ali Khademhosseini.
BIOFABRICATION Volume: 8 Issue: 1 Page number: 014101 Published: Jan 2016

Highly elastic and conductive human-based protein hybrid Hydrogels
By: N. Annabi, S. Shin, M. Miscuglio, M. Afshar, S.M., M.R. Dokmeci, X. Tang, A.S. Weiss, A. Khademhosseini.
ADVANCED MATERIALS Volume:28 Issue:1 Page number: 40-49 Published: Jan 2016

Dermal Patch with Integrated Flexible Heater for on Demand Drug Delivery
By: S. Bagherifard, A. Tamayol, P. Mostafalu, M. Akbari, M. Comotto, N. Annabi, M. Ghaderi, S. Sonkusale, M.R. Dokmeci, A. Khademhosseini.
ADVANCED HEALTHCARE MATERIALS Volume:5 Issue:1 Page number: 175-184 Published: Jan 2016

Photocrosslinkable Gelatin Hydrogel for Epidermal Tissue Engineering
By: Xin Zhao, Qi Lang, Lara Yildirimer, Zhi Yuan Lin, Wenguo Cui, Nasim Annabi, Kee Woei Ng, Mehmet R Dokmeci, Amir M Ghaemmaghami, Ali Khademhosseini
ADVANCED HEALTHCARE MATERIALS Volume:5 Issue:1 Page number: 108-118 Published: Jan 2016
For more information on this and other happenings in Chemical Engineering, visit the Department news blotter.
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