Category Archives: Biotechnology

Visiting Fulbright biochemical engineer to speak: Bio-inspired look at energy and environment issues

What: “A bio-inspired journey through some research challenges of energy and environment,” a lecture by Dr. Ramkrishna Sen, Fulbright Visiting Scholar at Columbia University.

When, where, etc: Tuesday April 15, 2014, 11 a.m. to noon, Fort IRC, Room 410. There is no charge for the workshop.  Fulbright campus representatives and interested faculty are encouraged to attend.  To reserve a seat please email Brendan McKennedy.

Background: Dr. Ramkrishna Sen is an associate professor in the Department of Biotechnology, Indian Institute of Technology, Kharagpur, India. He is currently working as Fulbright Visiting Faculty in the Department of Earth & Environmental Engineering, The Fu Foundation School of Engineering & Applied Sciences at Columbia University.

Dr. Sen is a biochemical engineer by training and profession. He has been engaged in R&D in energy and the environment and healthcare. His team has been working on the process development and optimization for antitumor, broad-spectrum antimicrobial and biofilm-disrupting biosurfactants of marine bacterial origin; biosurfactant-enhanced remediation of heavy metals and polyaromatic hydrocarbons; biosurfactant-mediated MEOR and nano-particle synthesis; bioethanol from lignocellulosic biomass; biodiesel from microalgal lipid and non-conventional vegetable oils and algae based CO2 capture & sequestration (CCS) from flue gas coupled with waste water treatment.

The Outreach Lecturing Fund allows Fulbright Visiting Scholars who are currently in the United States to travel to other higher education institutions across the country.  Each year some 800 faculty and professionals from around the world receive Fulbright Scholar grants for advanced research and university lecturing.  The fund allows these scholars to share their specific research interests; speak on the history and culture of their home country; exchange ideas with U.S. students, faculty and community organizations; become better acquainted with U.S. higher education; and create linkages between their home and host institutions and the Council for International Exchange of Scholars.

The metallic biomaterials revolution will be televised and it’s going to be on tonight, actually, on UNC-TV

Screenshot of UNC-TV webpage with video

Watch it tonight on UNC-TV or why not watch it now by clicking the picture to go to the network’s website.

UNC-TV is offering viewers of “North Carolina Now” an inside look at the revolutionary developments being fomented in the Engineering Research Center for Revolutionizing Metallic Biomaterials.  Next-generation implantable medical devices … bioresorbable magnesium alloys … A&T faculty and student researchers … great stuff.

The report will air tonight on the program, which is on at 7:30 on UNC-TV stations across the state.

But those of us who live in the 21st century and are no longer accustomed to waiting around for TV shows to come on can watch it now at the UNC-TV website.  Note: The video works just fine on most browsers (including Android, Chrome, Internet Explorer, and Safari), but your results may vary on Firefox or the Lotus Notes Browser.

 

Clean-energy developer Adewuyi, other faculty honored with 2014 Research Excellence Awards

A nationally recognized pioneer in clean-energy development has been named Senior Researcher of the Year at North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University.

Over a career of more than 25 years, Dr. Yusuf “Debo” Adewuyi has skillfully fused chemical engineering and environmental science to explore new dimensions of energy production, including the use of nanoscale materials and sound-wave technology for pollution control.

Dr. Adewuyi is one of five individual researchers and one research team selected this year for N.C. A&T’s highest research honor, the Research Excellence Awards. In addition to Dr. Adewuyi, the honorees are:

  • Dr. Justin Zhan, Department of Computer Science, Outstanding Junior Researcher;
  • Dr. Stephanie Kelly, Department of Business Education, and Dr. Lifeng Zhang, Department of Nanoengineering at the Joint School of Nanoscience and Nanoengineering, co-winners of the Rookie of the Year award;
  • Dr. Salil Desai, Department of Industrial and Systems Engineering, Intellectual Property Award; and
  • The NSF CREST Bioenergy Center, Interdisciplinary Team Award.

They were chosen from a field consisting of faculty members selected as researchers of the year by their colleges and schools. The winners and nominees will be honored Friday April 11 at the annual Celebration of Faculty Excellence.

Details on the winners follow the jump.

Continue reading

Biology weekly seminar: SPIRE fellows, UNC-CH

Flyer for Biology seminar 2/12/14The Seeding Postdoctoral Innovators in Research and Education (SPIRE) Postdoctoral Fellowship Program at UNC-CH is funded by the National Institute for General Medical Sciences.

SPIRE’s goal is to provide tomorrow’s science scholars and educators with a holistic approach to postgraduate professional development. SPIRE blends an outstanding research environment with broad professional development activities and hands-on classroom experiences for scientists who want to combine research with undergraduate and graduate education.

Bioenergy seminar: New Catalytic Approaches for the Production of Renewable Fuels and Chemicals

Seminar hosted by the Department of Energy and Environmental Systems and the NSF CREST Bioenergy Center:

Title: Process Development and Design of New Catalytic Approaches for the Production of Renewable Fuels and Chemicals

Where and when: Thursday, February 6, 11 a.m. to noon, New Science Building, Room 200

All EES CREST and Sustainable Bioproducts students must attend this seminar.  Others are welcome as well to hear this accomplished catalysis engineer and scientist.

Dr. George W. Huber

Huber

Speaker: Dr. George W. Huber, Professor of Chemical and Biological Engineering, University of Wisconsin-Madison

Dr. Huber’s research focus is on breaking the chemical and engineering barriers to lignocellulosic biofuels.  He is the co-founder of Anellotech, a biofuel company focused on commercializing catalytic fast pyrolysis, a new technology developed by Dr. Huber’s research group to convert biomass into gasoline-range aromatics.  His discovery of Raney-NiSn catalyst for hydrogen production from biomass-derived oxygenates was named as one of top 50 technology breakthroughs of 2003 by Scientific American.

Abstract: This presentation discuss different approaches for the production of renewable fuels and chemicals that are being developed in the Huber research group.  The presentation will highlight some of the challenges and future opportunities for future process development and design of new catalytic approaches.

Renewable aromatics and olefins can be produced from biomass by catalytic fast pyrolysis (CFP). The aromatics can be used as a feedstock to make renewable polymers including polycarbonates, polyurethanes, polystyrenes, and polyethylene terephthalates.

CFP involves the direct production of aromatics from biomass in a single catalytic step. Solid biomass is fed into a fluidized bed reactor, where the solid biomass thermally decomposes. The biomass vapors enter a zeolite catalyst, where a series of dehydration, decarbonylation and oligomerization reactions occur to form aromatics, olefins, CO, CO2, coke and water. Coke is formed from homogeneous decomposition reactions or catalytic reactions inside the zeolite.

Fundamental catalytic studies with model compounds combined with in-situ and temperature-programmed techniques have aided in the design of improved zeolite catalysts for CFP. Hydrodeoxygenation (HDO) is a platform technology used to convert liquid biomass feedstocks (including aqueous carbohydrates, pyrolysis oils, and aqueous enzymatic products) into alkanes, alcohols and polyols. In this process the biomass feed reacts with hydrogen to produce water and a deoxygenated product using a bifunctional catalyst that contains both metal and acid sites. The challenge with HDO is to selectively produce targeted products that can be used as fuel blendstocks or chemicals and to decrease the hydrogen consumption.

Atherosclerosis, insulin resistance and diet

This week’s Engineering Research Center-Bioengineering Joint Seminar, Friday January 31, 11 a.m., McNair Hall, Auditorium:

Topic: Atherosclerosis in Insulin Resistant Pigs Fed a High Fat – High NaCl Diet

Speaker: Timothy C. Nichols, MD, Professor of Medicine, Pathology & Lab Medicine, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Dr. Nichols is the Director of the Francis Owen Blood Research Laboratory.  The lab focuses on bleeding, thrombosis and atherosclerosis through the study of  genetically determined animal models. He is a board-certified adult cardiologist with experience as an invasive and interventional cardiologist. His research and clinical interests are hemorrhage, hemostasis, thrombosis, and atherosclerosis research in animal models and in clinical medicine.

Abstract: The increasing prevalence of insulin resistance and type 2 diabetes is likely to be attended by a significant increase in cardiovascular disease (CVD). Insulin resistance (IR) is defined as a decreased biological response to normal concentrations of serum insulin that over time leads to compensatory hypersinsulinemia.

Insulin resistant and diabetic humans often develop diffuse coronary atherosclerosis involving long arterial segments and including multiple distal lesions.  These patients require intensive medical therapy, and their lesions are less amenable to angioplasty, stent placement, surgical reconstruction, or bypass.  Often disease progression outside of the stented segment of the coronary artery or bypass insertion site limits the duration of benefit in patients with IR and diabetes, and even the most aggressive medical treatment regimens do not lower the risk for CVD to the non-diabetic level.

These findings strongly suggest that available treatments are not addressing key pathophysiological mechanisms that, when activated in these patients, augment the development of atherosclerosis. Thus, we developed a relevant pig model of insulin resistance that also exhibits severe and diffuse coronary and aortic atherosclerosis for future mechanistic-oriented and intervention studies.

Weekly Biology seminar: Nanobioelectronics

This week’s Department of Biology weekly seminar,  Wednesday January 29, noon, Barnes Hall, Room 221:

Topic: Nanobioelectronics: Convergence of Microsystems, Nanotechnology and Bioengineering

Speaker: Dr. Shyam Aravamudhan, Assistant  Professor, Joint School of Nanoscience and Nanoengineering

Abstract: Nanobioelectronics is an emerging field at the intersection of semiconductor nano/microfabrication, biology, and electronics, with the goal of novel devices for disease diagnostics, regenerative medicine, and even for advanced computing. In this talk, Dr. Aravamudhan will present the current work being done in the lab in this emerging field with a particular emphasis on (a) multi-modal diagnostic device-on-chip, (b) microsystem-based regenerative tissue engineering and (c) methods to understand toxicity of engineering nanomaterials.