April 2017 Newsletter

George Sorial, PhD, Department Head, BCEE

It is my pleasure to present to you our second newsletter of the 2016-2017 academic year. As you will learn in our first story below, our faculty continues to grow with the support and investment of our college leaders. Our new additions in the chemical and environmental programs allow us to maintain the excellence of our faculty in both research and teaching.

Together, our new and current faculty work in cooperation toward our mission of outstanding scholarly research and this is evidenced by the numerous awards and honors received by them and our graduate and undergraduate students.

I invite you to read of our many accomplishments below and I thank all who have supported us as we conclude another highly successful academic year.

George Sorial, PhD, Department Head, BCEE


BCEE Faculty Continues to Grow Under the “50 in 5” Plan

Our department continues to expand our influence of excellence as we welcomed three new faculty members this academic year.  

Teri Reed

Professor Teri Reed came to the Chemical Engineering Program from the Texas A&M University where her research interests included statistics education, concept inventory development, assessment and evaluation of learning and programs, recruitment and retention, diversity, and equity. She also holds the title of Assistant Vice President for Economic Development in the Office of Research.

Dr. Patrick Ray

Dr. Patrick Ray received his Ph.D. from Tufts University in Water Resources Engineering, and joined the Environmental Engineering Program as an Assistant Professor. His area of research expertise involves water systems planning & management; hydrologic & hydro-economic modeling; adaptation to change (esp. climate), international development, pathway mapping toward sustainability & resilience in the water sector.

Dr. Drew McAvoy

Dr. Drew McAvoy also joined the Environmental Engineering Program as a Professor Educator after spending part of his career at the Proctor & Gamble Company. Professor McAvoy teaches Environmental/Hydrologic Systems Analysis and Engineering Applications of Differential Equations. His research interests include evaluating ecological effects from trace organics in aquatic environment; evaluating fate mechanisms for contaminant of concern in treatment systems; renewable bioenergy; synergistic production of biogas & algae; developing exposure & toxicity data for priority trace organics in biosolids.

Welcome DBCEE Professors!

Professor Smirniotis

Dr. Peter Smirniotis is Elected Fellow of the Graduate School

The Fellows of the Graduate School recognize distinguished researchers and scholars at the University of Cincinnati. This group represents some of the most experienced and accomplished graduate-student mentors at the university and they are a significant resource of talent and intellect at UC. Dr. Smirniotis works in the area of catalysis and has recently had some very seminal publications on the gas phase oxidation of organic pollutants by doped-titanium catalysts. Congratulations to Professor Smirniotis for his election!

Nanoscale Cover

Beaucage Lab Takes January Cover of Nanoscale

Micelles assembled from copolymers can serve as a vehicles for drug transport to improve bioavailability and biodistribution. Dr. Gregory Beaucage and his group are studying such polyalkylated copolymers and their use as nano-sized drug delivery systems. They found that the worm-like structure has advantages over an elliptical structure in that it significantly extends biological residence time. Further, addition of the target cancer drug changes the worm-like structure, impeding drug delivery. This knowledge of the structure is crucial for connecting physicochemical properties with pharmacokinetics and bioavailability and a picture of their polymer creation was featured on the January cover of Nanoscale (Royal Society of Chemistry).

Dionysios D. Dionysiou

Dionysios D. Dionysiou, PhD, receives George Rieveschl Jr. Award for Distinguished Scientific Research

The Rieveschl Award for Distinguished Scientific Research was created through the generosity of Dr. George Rieveschl. The award recognizes a member of the faculty for professional achievement in science. It is given for a specific research, or the entire canon of one’s accomplishments. Selection criteria include attainment of national and international recognition for superior scholarship through archival publications, continued creativity over a sustained period of time, professional activities, including editorial activity for reputable national and international journals and academic awards of the candidate. Congratulations Dr. Dionysiou for this great honor!

Professor Vesselin Shanov and his group continue to excel in their exploration and development of nanomaterials

During the past calendar year of 2016 Dr. Vesselin Shanov and his group, including collaborators for the US Academia have published 16 papers in peer-reviewed journals, 1 book chapter and 1 full US Patent. Dr. Shanov and co-workers` current discovery on a new carbon form called “3D graphene” and its application in energy storage devices, has attracted attention worldwide. The finding has been protected by an UC patent application and some of the current results have been published in the January 5, 2017 issue of the high impact factor journal Small. In addition, Dr. Shanov has been invited as a keynote speaker at the Second International Conference on Smart Materials and Surfaces, March 23-25, Incheon, Korea (2016), where he presented a talk: “Synthesis, Characterization and Application of a New Form of Three-Dimensional Graphene”. Recently, Dr. Shanov has been nominated for the CEAS Research Award.

Dr. Dominic Boccelli

Environmental Engineering Professor Dominic Boccelli is chosen to participate in the Trans-disciplinary Research Leadership Program

Dr. Dominic Boccelli has been chosen to participate in a year-long program sponsored by UC’s Office of Research. The goal of the Trans-disciplinary Research Leadership Program is to provide an academic year-long trans- disciplinary team research leadership development training for an elite group of promising, future leaders. The focus will be on practical mentoring and collaborative research project development across disciplines with an actionable deliverable at the end of the year to begin or expand collaborative research. Professor Boccelli’s commitment to this project will begin in the fall of 2017.

 Enable UC

'Enable UC' highlighted in USA Today

Enable UC is an organization founded and operated by BME students and advised by Dr. James Lin. This group recently gained publicity in the USA Today as a result of its charitable works for Cincinnati youngsters in need of prosthetic limbs. Because children outgrow costly devices, this group uses 3D printing to fabricate a plastic replacement for under $20. UC students find a patient or a patient finds them, often through relationships with UC Health and Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center. To date, the group of about 30 students has built 42 prosthetic hands and assistive devices.

Read more about Enable UC

Read the USA Today article.

Xueyao Yang

BCEE Student News

Xueyao Yang, an environmental engineering graduate student, and his advisor, Dr. Dominic Boccelli were selected to receive the 2017 Best Research-Oriented Paper Award for their paper entitled "Dynamic Water Quality Simulation for Contaminant Intrusion Events in Distribution Systems." The award will be presented during the World Environmental & Water Resources Congress 2017 in Sacramento, California, during the Planning & Management Council Luncheon & Awards Ceremony.

Nathan Hertlein

Biomedical engineering undergraduate student Nathan Hertlein was awarded the 2016 Herman Schneider Medal. The annual Herman Schneider Medal award was initiated in 1964 through a bequest of the late Louise Bosworth Schneider. It is awarded to a senior for distinction as an exemplary co-op student--one who has taken fullest advantage of the unique opportunities of a cooperative education.

Nava Rijal

Biomedical engineering graduate student Nava Rijal was awarded the 2017 UC Sigma Xi Grant-In-Aid of Research (GIAR) Award. Nava studies under Dr. Daria Narmoneva and submitted his proposal entitled, "Engineering Microenvironment for Wound Healing Electrotherapy". This is a prestigious award as only four $2500 stipends are awarded university-wide. Students may use the funds for travel expenses to and from a research site, to present research results at a National science or engineering meeting, or for purchase of consumable research materials and supplies or non-standard laboratory equipment necessary to complete a specific research project.

Logan Leeson

Biomedical engineering undergraduate student Logan Leeson was awarded a $5000 scholarship from Freeman-ASIA to support his pursuit of an eight-month co-op position at Omron in Japan. Freeman Awards for Study in Asia provide scholarships for U.S. undergraduate students to study abroad in East or Southeast Asia. The Freeman Foundation's major objectives include strengthening the bonds of friendship between the United States and countries of East Asia. Through education and educational institutes, the Foundation hopes to develop a greater appreciation of Asian cultures, histories, and economies in the United States and a better understanding of the American people and of American institutions and purposes by the peoples of East Asia.

Son Dong

In a joint research project with A&S, chemistry undergraduate student Son Dong has been awarded the Department of Chemistry’s STEM Undergraduate Summer Research Fellowship. Son has been working on a collaborative project between Dr. Mingming Lu in Environmental Engineering and Dr. Anne Vonderheide in Chemistry. His project entails the conversion of toxic polychlorinated biphenyls to more useful and benign products through catalytic hydrodechlorination. He will receive a $4000 stipend for the summer during which time he will optimize his promising results with 3-chlorobiphenyl with the hope of moving on to test the technology with contaminated soils.

Rigwed Tatu

Biomedical engineering graduate student Rigwed Tatu won the Best Presenter Award at the Society for Biomaterials (SFB) Day Event held at Case Western Reserve University last fall. Rigwed studies in part under Dr. James Lin in the Structural Tissue Engineering, Engineering Lab (STEEL) group and his research is aimed at preventing post-natal complications through the improvement of fetal surgery.

Mohammad Sadegh Riasi

Mohammad Sadegh Riasi, an environmental engineering graduate student studying under Dr. Lilit Yeghiazarian, was a winner at the 2017 Graduate Student Expo. Each year the Graduate School hosts this even to showcase graduate student research, scholarship and creative works. This year, it was held on Friday, February 10, 2017, in the Tangeman University Center Great Hall. Sadegh was one of 11 winners out of over 100 participants coming from all university disciplines.

Michelle Platz

Environmental engineering undergraduate student Michelle Platz has been awarded the 2017 National Science Foundation (NSF) Graduate Research Fellowship Program Fellowship. The Graduate Research Fellowship Program is NSF’s oldest program, established in 1952, and aims to support students in the pursuit of advanced degrees in science and engineering. Michelle will be attending the University of South Florida next year, in the Master of Science in Environmental Engineering program, contributing to environmental engineering research for the ecological restoration of Tampa Bay.

Racquel Redwood

Biomedical engineering alumna Racquel Redwood received the Stanford University Biodesign Innovation Fellowship. This program entails “a project-based approach for identifying important healthcare needs, inventing innovative diagnostics, devices, or other health technologies to address them, and preparing to bring those products into patient care through start-up, corporate, or other implementation channels.” Rachel obtained her Bachelor’s from BCEE in 2012 and her Masters from Cornell University in 2013.

Rickey Terrell

Rickey Terrell, an undergraduate in the chemical engineering program, was named a Barry Goldwater Foundation Scholar for 2017. The Barry Goldwater Scholarship and Excellence in Education Foundation was established by Congress in 1986 to serve as a living memorial to honor the lifetime work of Senator Barry Goldwater. The purpose of the program is to provide support for undergraduate students who are preparing for careers in science, mathematics, and engineering research. Rickey is mentored by Dr. Anastasios Angelopoulos and hopes to pursue his Ph.D. in Chemical Engineering and research and fuel cell energy production for transportation applications to provide cheap and clean energy on a global scale.

Matthew Davenport

Biomedical engineering student Matthew Davenport won the National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship. His proposal was entitled, "Probing the physiological basis of sensory habituation: mechanisms of long-term habituation of the C-start escape response in Zebrafish". In describing his proposed work, Davenport states “in essence; fish hear a loud sound and turn around, if you play the sound over and over again, they learn to stop turning around in response to that sound. We don't know what changes occur in the neural substrate which account for that change in behavioral response to identical stimuli.” Matthew has decided to attend graduate school at the Rockefeller University.

Congratulations to these students on their outstanding accomplishments!!

Chemical Engineering Undergraduate Laboratory Upgrade

The Chemical Engineering Laboratory (CHE 4037) is a required 3 credit hour course in the Undergraduate Chemical Engineering Curriculum currently taught in Rhodes Hall 602.

This course represents the only opportunity for students in the program to obtain guided first-hand experience on the generation of fundamental system and material parameters essential to the analysis of practical problems encountered by practicing chemical engineers. The course encompasses concepts in the three foundational topics of Chemical Engineering: Thermodynamics, Transport Phenomena (Heat, Mass, and Momentum Transfer), and Reaction Engineering.

During the last academic year, a total of $100,000 has been pledged to upgrade the capability of the Undergraduate Chemical Engineering Laboratory. These pledges have come primarily from private donations by alumni but also from industrial sources. Funds will be used to replace older experimental modules and provide automated data collection and analysis capability to existing experiments so as to mirror current developments in industry.

Additional donations are urgently sought to complete our planned upgrade of the entire laboratory to provide a state-of-the-art, hands-on experience for our students.

Donate to the Chemical Engineering Undergraduate Lab.