Spring 2019

Departmental Seminars

 

January 7, 2019
10:30 AM
Room 1011, EB1
Dr. Michael Hoffmann
California Institute of Technology 
 Ollis Lecture

With support from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, we have developed, tested, and implemented transportable reactor systems and public toilet systems that are designed for the onsite treatment of domestic wastewater with the total recycle of treated water as flushing water.  Our research and development efforts are a major component of the Gates Foundation “Reinvent the Toilet Challenge (RTTC)“.  After pre-treatment with a sequential anaerobic/aerobic baffled bioreactor, the effluent is processed sequentially through semiconductor electrochemical arrays where the COD and microbial loads are reduced to below US EPA reuse standards.  Special mini-reactors are used to convert the treated wastewater to handwashing and drinking water standards.   The treated black water is recycled back into flushing water reservoirs without discharge to the surrounding environment.   Human wastewater can be clarified with the elimination of suspended particles along with >95% reduction in chemical oxygen demand (COD), and a total elimination of fecal coliforms, E. coli, viruses, and total coliforms.  Enteric organism disinfection is achieved for bacteria and viruses via anodic reactive chlorine generation from in situ chloride coupled with cathodic reduction of water to form hydrogen. Improvement of the performance and durability of the core semiconductor anodes along with materials modifications to lower their production costs ongoing. Third-generation prototypes are undergoing field-testing in locations that lack conventional urban infrastructure for wastewater discharge and treatment; the packaged treatment systems can operate without an external source of electricity or fresh water.  Two Caltech-China joint-venture companies, Eco-San and Entrustech, have been established in Yixing, Jiangsu Province to manufacture solar units for the developing world and to provide associated biochemical and electrochemical reactor systems. Additional industrial collaborations have been established in India with ERAM Scientific and with the Kohler Company (USA/India) for production of units to be used in urban and peri-urban environments in India. At the current time, larger-scale systems (> 1000 users/day) are being assembled for use in South Africa, Southern China, and the Philippines.  In late 2017, President Xi Jinping launched the “Chinese Toilet Revolution“ to provide improve public toilets throughout China. Caltech/Eco-San will play a major role in this initiative.

January 14, 2019
10:30 AM
Room 1011, EB1
Dr. Dennis Hess
Georgia Institute of Technology

Engineers typically work in teams where a leader oversees and guides process/product research, development, and direction.  When technically-trained individuals undertake a leadership role, frustration is a frequent outcome, despite technical competency and good intentions.  This situation largely occurs because our technical training has developed within us a mindset wherein we approach problems in a particular way that is based solely on logic, facts, and data.  People are not facts or data, and in many cases, their approach to problems does not appear logical.  Sudden awareness of such behavior is disconcerting to technically-trained individuals who are now in a position of leadership.  The leader must recognize that decisions, even by engineers or scientists, may be driven by biases, priorities, emotions, and previous experiences; the complex interplay of personal attitudes with technical issues has been referred to as sociotechnical problems.  This seminar will discuss reasons why engineers and scientists often find adaptation into leadership roles frustrating and discouraging.  Approaches that facilitate the transition from a purely technical mindset to a technical leader mindset will be described.

February 4, 2019
10:30 AM
Room 1011, EB1
Dr. Abraham Lenhoff
University of Delaware

Protein solutions are ubiquitous in bioprocessing, structural biology and in nature, making it important to understand and predict their physical and thermodynamic properties, including formation of dense phases such as precipitates, crystals, gels and aggregates.  The anisotropic shape and chemical character of protein molecules, on which extensive information down to the atomic level is available from X-ray crystallography, add considerable complexity, especially in describing intermolecular interactions and phase behavior – the molecular sociology.  In particular, the statistical mechanics of anisotropy, including the contributions of strongly attractive interactions guided by the same mechanisms that give rise to biomolecular recognition, can lead to counterintuitive consequences.  This presentation will explore these consequences, with a focus on the structure and evolution of amorphous dense phases of proteins, such as precipitates and gels.

February 11, 2019
10:30 AM
Room 1011, EB1
Dr. Anant Pravastu
Georgia Institute of Technology

Abstract TBA

February 18, 2019
10:30 AM
Room 1011, EB1
GSA Panel

The panelists are:

–       Dr. Zach Mundy (BASF)

–       Dr. Joe Lavoie (Glen Raven)

–       Dr. Brittany Mertens (Biogen)

–       Dr. Mark Schulte (Novozymes)

Often students transitioning from academic research to industrial research may still be unsure of what PhD’s do in industry and how to apply. Four recent CBE PhD alumni from different industries will give their perspective on being a PhD in industry, how they originally obtained a position, and what you can do to prepare. After a brief introduction by our panelists on their education and career trajectory, there will be plenty of time for questions from the audience.

February 25, 2019
10:30 AM
Room 1011, EB1
Dr. Chang Lu
Virginia Tech

Abstract TBA

March 4, 2019
10:30 AM
Room 1011, EB1
Dr. James van Deventer
Tufts University

Abstract TBA

March 11, 2019
10:30 AM
Room 1011, EB1
Dr. Ehssan Nazockdast
UNC Chapel Hill

Abstract TBA

March 18, 2019
10:30 AM
Room 1011, EB1
Dr. Pablo Debenedetti
Princeton University
Gubbins Lecture

Abstract TBA

March 25, 2019
10:30 AM
Room 1011, EB1
Dr. James Spivey
Louisiana State University

Abstract TBA

April 1, 2019
10:30 AM
Room 1011, EB1
Dr. Fernando Escobedo
TBD

Abstract TBA

April 8, 2019
10:30 AM
Room 1011, EB1
Dr. Tom Truskett
The University of Texas at Austin

Abstract TBA

April 15, 2019
10:30 AM
Room 1011, EB1
Dr. Joan Brennecke
The University of Texas at Austin

Abstract TBA

April 22, 2019
10:30 AM
Room 1011, EB1
Dr. Yi Tang
UCLA