CBE Asst. Professors All Receive 2017 NSF Funding

The Department of Chemical and Biochemical Engineering is pleased to announce that each of the department’s assistant professors has been recognized by the National Science Foundation with 2017 funding.

The department has extensive research expertise in areas that include advanced pharmaceutical manufacturing, energy and biofuels, process systems and reaction engineering, complex fluids and nanostructured materials, biotechnology, and bioengineering.


Fuat Celik

First-Principles Design of Coke-Resistant Dehydrogenation Catalysts for Valorization of Light Hydrocarbon Feedstocks ($300,000)

Celik’s research will study the mechanism in which catalysts used to convert light hydrocarbon gases to higher value products are poisoned—or deactivated. Poison-resistant dehydrogenation catalysts are needed to effectively utilize the country’s gas reserves.

Shishir P. S. Chundawat

SusChEM: Designer Glycoligands for Enabling Targeted Multimodal Protein Bioseparations ($300,000)

Chundawat’s research involves designing enzymes to synthesize multifunctional, sustainable, and designer sugar-based materials—called glycoligands—for conducting low-cost biopharmaceutical separations. Separation of protein-based biopharmaceuticals is a complex, resource-intensive process, but is essential to ensure the purity and quality of the resulting pharmaceutical product.

George Tsilomelekis

Elucidating Solvent Effects in Biomass Conversion Reactions by Means of Operando Spectroscopy ($300,000)

Tsilomelekis’s research aims at elucidating the underlying principles behind solvation effects that govern the reaction rates, selectivity, and stability of catalysts in biomass conversion reactions. His research will focus on the design and development of a versatile prototype multispectroscopic optical cell-reactor.

Haoran Zhang

Engineering Microbial Co-cultures for Complex Natural Product Biosynthesis ($300,000)

Zhang’s research will investigate the co-culture population stability and bioproduction behaviors of engineered bacterium E. coli strains, which will lay the foundation for establishing robust, stable, and scalable co-culture bioproduction systems. The results could dramatically improve the efficiency of large molecule drug production and also increase the speed of identification of more effective drug molecules.