Message from the Chair
Our department continues to be a catalyst for change. We are at the forefront of research efforts in the areas of energy, fuel cells, biomaterials, and catalysis to name just a few. For example, Professor’s Heyden's computational-catalysis work on understanding the solvent effects on heterogeneous catalysts in reactions important to biomass conversion made the cover of Green Chemistry. This honor not only reflects the great work Dr. Heyden and his group, but it also emphasizes the leadership role our department has within the university and nationally in renewable energy. Another example is the NSF (National Science Foundation) IGERT (Integrative Graduate and Research Traineeship) program headed by Professors Chris Williams and Jochen Lauterbach. This grant, entitled Functional Nanomaterials for Sustainable Energy Solutions, is an interdisciplinary graduate training program involving researchers from across the College of Engineering and Computing as well as Chemistry, Physics, and the Darla Moore School of Business. Our business school is providing expertise to help our students learn about commercialization, entrepreneurship and science communication in the knowledge-based economy.
Our expertise goes beyond energy though. Biomedical-engineering research continues to expand as we develop ever increasing ties to our School of Medicine (SOM). Our most recent hire is Professor Michael Gower, who specializes in immuneeengineering, biomaterials, and gene and protein delivery. He and other faculty members in our department are teaming with researchers in our SOM through their Center for Dietary Supplements and Inflammation (CDSI). The CDSI was awarded $10.1 million over a period of five years by the National Institute of Health (NIH) to conduct research on the mechanism of regulation of inflammation by dietary supplements during chronic inflammatory processes associated with cancer, obesity, hypertension, diabetes, Alzheimer's and several other autoimmune diseases. Another great example of applying chemical-engineering principles to biological systems is Professor Mark Uline recent paper in Nature Chemical Biology. He too had a figure from this paper appear on the journal cover.
Our outstanding research efforts are also catalyzing our undergraduate program. Our enrollments in chemical engineering have doubled since 2007, which is almost twice the rate of growth as the entire College and four times the rate of the entire university. In addition, enrollments in biomedical engineering, which admitted its first students in 2007, is now the second largest degree program in the College after mechanical engineering. This rapid growth is occurring while class rank and SAT scores of incoming students continue to increase.
We expect our success to continue due to the tremendous support we receive from our alumni and friends.
John W. Weidner
CEC Campaign for Excellence Professor of Chemical Engineering