Carlos Weiler Epling lab.jpg

Carlos Weiler, a Ph.D. student in William S. Epling’s Environmental Catalysis Lab, readies a reactor to run experiments simulating diesel engine aftertreatment systems.

The Department of Chemical Engineering’s work to build research strengths with great people has never shown more than in the past year. Whether developing new materials for applications in medicine, energy or national security, understanding cell behavior that leads to disease, or addressing environmental challenges, faculty and Ph.D. students are relentlessly pursuing new knowledge to make the world better. 

Here is a brief roundup of recent awards, plus links to stories on these projects.

Making the World a Better Place

William S. Epling, professor and chair of the department, is leading a multi-disciplinary project with Lisa Colosi Peterson, associate professor in the Department of Engineering Systems and Environment, and Chloe Dedic, assistant professor in the Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering. The team, funded by $1.7 million from a National Science Foundation program designed to address pressing environmental and sustainability challenges by bringing experts in disparate fields together toward a common goal, will study ways to reduce vehicle emissions of greenhouse gases through integrated catalysis and combustion technology research. William Mynn Thornton Professor of Chemical Engineering Robert J. Davis and assistant professor Chris Paolucci are also part of the team. 

Assistant professor Steven R. Caliari, who holds a secondary appointment in biomedical engineering, received a prestigious National Science Foundation CAREER Award to support his hydrogel engineering program for fibrosis research. Caliari also was awarded more than $2 million from the National Institutes of Health’s National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases for work that could lead to treatments for traumatic muscle loss

Bayer AG funded associate professor Bryan W. Berger’s program designing proteins to prevent harmful microbes and molds from forming on fruit in both pre- and post-harvest applications through the company’s 2021 Grants4Ag program. 

Associate professor Joshua J. Choi is working under a $1.75 million Department of Homeland Security grant. His team is designing an extremely low-cost, high-performing semiconductor material used for the detection of radioactive weapons or materials in cargo entering U.S. seaports, airports and borders. 

Associate professor Matthew J. Lazzara is collaborating with a colleague at Lehigh University to unlock the mysteries of a protein that plays a critical regulatory role in human health and disease. Knowing how the protein works could lead to improved therapies for cancers and other diseases. The National Institute of General Medical Sciences of the National Institutes of Health awarded the project $1.6 million.