The Department of Chemical Engineering at the University of Virginia will present the third annual Edward L. Paul Lecture on Industrial Engineering at 11 a.m. Friday, May 10, in Harrison Auditorium at the Albert and Shirley Small Special Collections Library. This year’s speaker is Jean Tom, head of Development Engineering, Chemical and Synthetic Development in the Global Product Development and Supply organization at Bristol-Myers Squibb. A reception with light refreshments starting at 10:30 a.m. will precede the lecture.

Tom’s talk, “New Approaches for Chemical Process Development in the Pharmaceutical Industry,” will focus on recent innovations that contribute to more efficient chemical process development. These include utilization of high-throughput experimentation; applications of big data-tools such as multivariate and Bayesian analysis, machine learning and data visualization techniques to develop robust design spaces for final manufacturing processes; and modeling and process analytical tools to understand the fundamentals of key unit operations.

Tom — a newly elected member of the National Academy of Engineering — leads a group of chemical engineers focused on development of chemical processes to synthesize small-molecule drug candidates at Bristol-Myers Squibb. Her team generates process knowledge through lab experimentation, modeling and data visualization, and scale-up activities to enable technology transfer to manufacturing.

Prior to joining Bristol-Myers Squibb in 2006, Tom spent 19 years in the chemical engineering research and development group at Merck Research Laboratories. During that time, she held positions overseeing process development, pilot plant operations and technology transfer. She has had a role in 12 pharmaceutical products now in the market.

Tom received B.S. and M.S. degrees from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and her Ph.D. from Princeton University in chemical engineering. She is active in the Enabling Technologies Consortium and the Association of Crystallization Technology and a fellow of the American Institute for Medical and Biological Engineering.

Tom also is active in the American Institute of Chemical Engineers, where she is a fellow and 2018 recipient of its Industrial Leadership Award. In 2019, she was elected to the National Academy of Engineering for leadership in the process development of multiple commercialized drugs. She contributes to the academic community through her service to ABET, external advisory committees for several chemical engineering departments; and the editorial board of the Annual Review of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering.

Beyond her contributions to the product pipeline at Merck and Bristol-Myers Squibb, Tom is recognized in the pharmaceutical industry for driving innovation and pre-competitive collaboration, developing its next generation of chemical engineers and leaders, and connecting academic and industrial interests.

The Edward L. Paul Lecture on Industrial Chemical Engineering is endowed thanks to past and continuing generous contributions of individual and corporate donors. The endowment currently supports an industry-focused chemical engineering seminar annually. The lecture series honors Edward L. Paul, a 1952 B.S. graduate of the chemical engineering program at UVA and 1995 winner of the UVA Engineering Distinguished Achievement Award.

Paul developed some of the most innovative pharmaceutical processes in the industry and served as a mentor to scores of chemical engineers during his 40-year tenure at Merck. He is a fellow of the American Institute of Chemical Engineers and is an internationally recognized expert in the field of mixing and crystallization.

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