Gomes group publishes article in first edition of Nature Synthesis
Nature Synthesis

Predictably activating C–H and C–C bonds for the synthesis of new materials remains a challenge within the synthetic community. A ternary catalytic dance between radicals, metals and light may unlock this puzzle.



Whitehead quoted on mRNA abilities

ChemE’s Katie Whitehead was quoted in BBC on the capabilities of mRNA. Despite being believed to be years down the line, in the face of the Covid-19 pandemic, mRNA vaccinations were quickly brought to the forefront. However, Whiteheads remarks that this was not anticipated. “There weren’t many people in the mRNA therapeutics world who would have imagined 95% initial efficacy rates in this emergency scenario.” This success had lead people to wonder where mRNA technology will go next, with one possible use being to reduce the inflammation response in patients with autoimmune disorders who receive vaccines.

Sudoc named in 10 start-ups to watch

Sudoc (Sustainable Ultradilute Oxidation Catalysis) was named one of “C&EN’s 2021 10 Start-Ups to Watch.” MechE’s Ryan Sullivan is a co-founder of the company, which was publicly launched in 2020 and aims to reinvent cleaning supplies, making them both more effective and less damaging to the environment. Sudoc’s inaugural product, the first in its line of Dot-branded products, is a mold-remediation treatment.


Wayne co-authors Nature commentary

Diseases impact different populations with varying prevalence, which is reflected in health disparities that are seen for illnesses like lupus, cancer, and cardiovascular disease. To create effective medical treatments, researchers need representative population samples.

Even though disease impacts everybody, medical research samples are often not representative of diverse populations.

In a new article published by Nature, Carnegie Mellon's Elizabeth Wayne and the University of Florida's Erika Moore, Josephine Allen and Connie Mulligan, argue the need to consider ancestry in cell samples for medical research because ancestral differences are present in many diseases.

Ancestry typically refers to biological or genetic characteristics, but sociocultural factors, such as language and family history, also impact ancestry. The authors say that accounting for a person's ancestry will improve the effectiveness of treatment for patients of all backgrounds.


Grossmann gives keynote talk at 2021 INFORMS Annual Meeting

Chemical Engineering Professor Ignacio Grossmann explained the challenges in the application of mathematical programming approaches to enterprise-wide optimization of process industries at the 2021 INFORMS Annual Meeting. 

His keynote talk provided an overview of major modeling and computational challenges in developing deterministic and stochastic linear/nonlinear mixed-integer optimization models for planning and scheduling for the optimization of plants and entire supply chains involved in EWO problems. 

Enterprise-wide optimization (EWO) is an area that lies at the interface of chemical engineering and operations research. EWO has become a significant focus in process industries due to increasing pressure to remain competitive in the global marketplace. EWO focuses on optimizing companies' supply, production, and distribution activities to reduce costs and inventories. One primary focus of EWO is optimizing manufacturing plants as part of the overall optimization of supply chains. 

Ulissi featured in Physics World
Physics World

A feature in Physics World explains how Assistant Professor Zachary Ulissi and his group have developed a deep reinforcement learning (DRL) program, dubbed CatGym, used to find the best surface atom configurations for a given chemical reaction.

Biegler receives Long Term Achievements Award

ChemE’s Lorenz Biegler received the Long Term Achievements Award in Computer Aided Process Engineering at this year’s European Congress of Chemical Engineering (ECCE) and European Congress of Applied Biotechnology (ECAB) Conference. Awarded by the European Federation of Chemical Engineering, the Long Term Achievements Award recognizes life-long excellence and contributions to process systems engineering. During the conference, Biegler also presented a keynote lecture titled “Optimization-driven Modeling for Industry 4.0.”


Whitehead gives talk at Precision Medicine World Conference
Pittsburgh Business Times

Chemical Engineering Associate Professor, Katie Whitehead, presented on lipid nanoparticles in RNA drug delivery at the Precision Medicine World Conference on Friday, September 24th.

A pioneer and one of the world’s leading reachers on RNA drug delivery, Whitehead says this new technology has implications for many of the world’s diseases, such as cystic fibrosis, muscular dystrophy, sickle cell anemia, and cancer. She believes the breakthrough of mRNA vaccines will enable scientists to create protections against some of the most deadly and feared pathogens, like Malaria, Ebola and HIV.

Whitehead’s talk was reported on by the Pittsburgh Business Times.

Walker and Valentine mentioned on polymers
Argonne National Lab

ChemE’s Lynn Walker and Ph.D. student Connor Valentine were mentioned by Argonne National Lab on their diblock polymers research. Researchers want to form crystals using diblock polymers, but processing issues mean it could take months at room temperature. The team found a way to speed that up.

“We were able to show that this shear processing step is just a very controllable way to get the structure you want and how fast you want it,” said Valentine.


Walker and Valentine’s research featured
The Science Times

Research from ChemE’s Lynn Walker and Ph.D. student Connor Valentine was mentioned in The Science Times. The research focuses on diblock polymers, a specific type of soft material that can form crystal structures with a variety of uses. However, creating the structures have proven to be difficult, which led to a collaboration between Carnegie Mellon and the University of Minnesota. The team also investigated the effects of a manufacturing technique known as shear processing, which was able to reduce a manufacturing step’s time from five months into three minutes. “Shear processing can help with the dynamics, the speed, and the rates of structural change, not just the final result, which is something people don’t really think about,” says Valentine. “They often think when you shear these materials, it’s going to change the structure into something different, but that’s not necessarily true.”


2021 Engineering faculty award winners selected

Congratulations to the 2021 College of Engineering Faculty Awards winners.

  • Vincent Sokalski, MSE, >Philip L. Dowd Fellowship
  • Chrysanthos Gounaris, ChemE, Steven J. Fenves Award for Systems Research
  • Aaron Johnson, MechE and Zachary Ulissi, ChemE, George Tallman Ladd Research Award recipients
  • Shawn Blanton, ECE, Outstanding Mentoring Award recipient
  • Edward Rubin, EPP and MechE, David P. Casasent Outstanding Research Award recipient
  • Jonathan Cagan, MechE, Outstanding Service Award recipient
  • Elizabeth Holm, MSE, Benjamin Richard Teare Teaching Award recipient

Subramanyam accepts faculty position at Penn State

ChemE alum, Anirudh Subramanyam, will join Penn State's Harold and Inge Marcus Department of Industrial and Manufacturing Engineering as a Charles and Enid Schneider Early Career Assistant Professor in August 2022. Subramanyam graduated from CMU in 2018, earning his Ph.D. in Process Systems Engineering under the supervision of Associate Professor Chrysanthos Gounaris. He is currently a postdoctoral researcher in the Mathematics and Computer Science Division at Argonne National Laboratory.

ChemE Alum selected to take part in NAE’s U.S. Frontiers of Engineering symposium
National Academy of Engineering

Former ChemE Ph.D. student Cristiana Lopes Lara (’19) was selected as one of the nation’s brightest early-career engineers and has been invited to participate in the National Academy of Engineering’s (NAE) 27th annual U.S. Frontiers of Engineering symposium. Lara currently works as a research scientist for Amazon.

Bernard and Li offered tenure track positions at Purdue

ChemE graduates David Bernal and Can Li have been offered tenure track positions in the School of Chemical Engineering at Purdue University. They both join a distinguished list of alumni in CMU’s Process Systems Engineering group. Bernal and Li graduated in May 2020 after earning their Ph.D.s under the supervision of Professor Ignacio Grossmann. Before joining Purdue, they will each complete postdoctoral studies, Bernal at NASA and Li at Polytechnic Montreal.


ChemE professors awarded funds
Carnegie Mellon University

ChemE’s Lorenz Biegler and Chrysanthos Gounaris were awarded $400,000 from The U.S. Department of Energy. The financial support will be utilized in the creation of new gas separation processes.


Five engineering students named Innovation Scholars
CMU Swartz Center for Entrepreneurship

Five engineering students were named 2023 Innovation Scholars by CMU’s Swartz Center for Entrepreneurship. The Innovation Scholars program fosters innovation and entrepreneurship and seeks to increase the number of successful startup companies initiated by or involving Carnegie Mellon University’s undergraduate students.

Avika Bansal is double majoring in Chemical Engineering and Biomedical Engineering. She is also pursuing minors in business administration and innovation and entrepreneurship. Bansal has been a nationally ranked fencer for 10 years, and is the founder of TurnPRO, a mobile app to improve analysis of performance for fencers at all levels. 

Miguel Brandao is an aspiring engineer and robotics entrepreneur graduating in 2023. He is pursuing a bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering paired with a minor in innovation and entrepreneurship. This upcoming summer, Brandao plans to work in Carnegie Mellon’s Interactive Structures Lab, as well as start a company related to his research.

Becky Button is a sophomore studying electrical and computer engineering. She developed an open-source myo electric prosthetic that was much cheaper than existing open source solutions at the time.

Haoyang (Tiger) He studies electrical and computer engineering, with intended minors in robotics and machine learning. His entrepreneurial journey began in high school, where he founded a project focusing on programming education.

Audrey Young is studying mechanical engineering and biomedical engineering and is passionate about sharing knowledge and finding creative solutions to problems that our society faces. Her most recent project is an international tutoring business that she started in May 2020. Through this business, she is working to provide academic support for students regardless of socioeconomic status by working with other current university and high school students.

Engineering student named golf athlete of the week
The Piper

ChemE student Jason Folker was named University Athletic Association Men’s Golf Athlete of the Week following his performance earlier this month at the Wynlakes Intercollegiate tournament. Folker was the individual winner at Wynlakes Golf & Country Club in Montgomery, Alabama. He also helped the Tartans place second in the 15-team field tying the school record for the lowest 36-hole tournament score of 570.

CAPD holds annual review meeting
Center of Advanced Process Decision-making

The Annual Review Meeting of the Center for Advanced Process Decision-making from the Chemical Engineering Department took place in virtual form on March 9-11, 2021. It included talks by ChemE’s Larry Biegler, Chrysanthos Gounaris, Ignacio Grossmann, and Nick Sahinidis. In addition, 24 students involved in the CAPD presented posters, seven of last year’s students gave presentations on their Ph.D. theses, and 19 presentations by students were given on industrial research projects.

Alumna featured on SWE website
Society of Women Engineers

ChemE alumna Libby Williams Taylor was featured in a Society of Women Engineers article for Women’s History Month. Taylor participated in a yearlong German-American exchange program that included an internship at a German brewery, where she researched yeast. Several years later, she went back to Germany for a six-month master brewery program. She returned to the United States and took a position with Dogfish Head Brewery. She reports that women brewers are a minority, much like women in engineering, though there are four women brewers in her company. While different from her work as a chemical engineer, the background in chemicals has proven most helpful.


Engineering faculty named AIMBE Fellows
American Institute for Medical and Biological Engineering

BME/MSE’s Adam Feinberg, ChemE’s Kathryn Whitehead, BME/ECE’s Byron Yu, and BME’s Conrad Zapanta have been elected to the American Institute for Medical and Biological Engineering (AIMBE) College of Fellows. The College of Fellows is comprised of the top two percent of medical and biological engineers in the country. Feinberg, Whitehead, Yu, and Zapanta join 13 existing AIMBE members from CMU.

Engineering faculty quoted on climate policy
Carnegie Mellon University

President Joe Biden signaled that climate change is a national priority. Faculty were asked: what are the most critical issues that need to be addressed in the next four years?

  • ChemE/EPP’s Neil Donahue talked about carbon dioxide and particle pollution.
  • EPP’s Valerie Karplus talked about moving away from fossil fuels.
  • CEE/EPP’s Destenie Nock talked about the coronavirus pandemic and climate change.
  • CEE/EPP’s Costa Samaras talked about bold changes to tackle climate change.
  • MechE’s Ryan Sullivan talked about climate change and fossil fuels.
  • Scott Institute’s Anna Siefken talked about the advancement of new technologies.


Whitehead quoted on COVID vaccine

ChemE’s Katie Whitehead was quoted on Healthline about a cluster of allergic reactions tied to one lot of the Moderna COVID vaccine in California. It’s possible nothing is wrong with the Moderna lot. Whitehead said if given the offer of a dose from the lot, she would gladly take it. “Clustering of allergic reactions at a single vaccination site could be caused by other phenomena—for example, the healthcare workers may have all been preexposed to something in their community or work environment that made them more susceptible to an allergic reaction,” said Whitehead. “The difference here is that allergic reactions to the SARS-CoV-2 vaccines constantly make the news, while allergic reactions to influenza, chickenpox, and hepatitis vaccines do not.”

Jen and Sullivan quoted on wildfires

ChemE’s Coty Jen and MechE’s Ryan Sullivan were quoted in Salon about their experiences with wildfires in California. “I remember waking up to a smoke-filled apartment as I had left the window open in my bedroom at night,” Sullivan wrote to Salon about his first month of his Ph.D. program at the University of California - San Diego. A large wildfire had broken out in the San Diego area. Jen told Salon that she remembered the northern California wildfires of October/November 2017 while she lived in Berkeley, California, which she described as “a pretty surreal experience. Everywhere smelled like smoke and it continued for days,” she recalled. “Since I was researching wildfire smoke and how it impacts air pollution, I started collecting measurements of the smoke from our lab.”