Spring 2021

Departmental Seminars

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January 11, 2021
10:30 AM
Via Zoom
Dr. William Koros
Georgia Tech
McCabe Lecture 2020

New opportunities for chemical processing industries in so-called “upstream” and “downstream” hydrocarbon process sectors are emerging, thanks to now abundant natural gas resources.  Upstream processes refer to production of raw materials, while downstream processes refer to those closer to the end user or consumer.  Although current technology is effective in both sectors, it still relies primarily upon energy-intensive processes for key separations with large CO2 footprints. This presentation will explain why advanced polymer-derived membranes, in asymmetric hollow fiber forms, can provide significant positive changes across the separation spectrum to reduce energy intensity and carbon dioxide emissions. I will consider practical approaches to achieve such changes based on a strategy that merges fundamental science and engineering principles to introduce such membranes into large-scale processes.

BIO

William J. Koros is the Roberto Goizueta Chair and Georgia Research Alliance Eminent Scholar in Membranes at Georgia Tech.  He received his PhD from UT Austin and was a faculty member at NC State University from 1978-1984, and at UT Austin from 1984-2001.  Dr. Koros served as the Editor-in-Chief of the Journal of Membrane Science for 17 years from 1991-2008 and is currently Editor-in-Chief Emeritus of the Journal of Membrane Science.  He was elected to the National Academy of Engineering in 2000 and is a Fellow of the AICHE and AAAS.  His research has been recognized by the AIChE Institute Award for Excellence in Industrial Gases Technology, the AIChE Separation Division Gerhold Award, the William Walker Award for Excellence in Chemical Engineering Publications and as the 63rd Institute Lecturer for the AICHE.  In 2008, Dr. Koros received the Alan Michaels Award for Innovation in Membrane Science & Technology from the North American Membrane Society.   He has 38 US patents and more than 500 ISI Web of Science publications with over 28,000 citations and an h-index of 91.

January 25, 2021
10:30 AM
Via Zoom
Dr. Simon Rogers
University of Illinois at Urbana–Champaign

Modern society relies on soft materials, which are important for foods, consumer products, biological materials, and energy and environmental applications. The interactions that hold soft materials together are often comparable in magnitude to the thermal energy, making them especially susceptible to weak forces. In order to develop functional soft materials, they need to be processed far from equilibrium. Despite recent progress, we still do not understand how molecular-scale behavior informs macroscopic properties in these systems. Of particular interest is the transient nonlinear rheology, where stresses and deformations can induce massive molecular reorganizations that manifest as transformations in the macroscopic material properties. Transient conditions are encountered in most biological situations, and well as industrial flows including startup and cessation, which often dictate the success of a product or process.

One particularly interesting class of materials undergoes changes that transform their physical behavior from that of solids to that of liquids. These so-called yield stress fluids have been studied for over a hundred years, and still present significant scientific and engineering challenges. Yield stress fluids have a wide variety of microstructures, including filled polymer systems, colloidal glasses, and jammed microgels, and yet present a consistent rheology. Phenomena such as the overshoot in the loss modulus in a strain amplitude sweep, viscosity bifurcation and avalanches under stress-controlled tests, and the presence of apparent yield strains are all typical features of yield stress fluid rheology.

In this talk, I will present a rheological framework for understanding yield stress fluid rheology that is commensurate with recent rheo-SANS studies of self-assembled soft systems. The new approach describes responses in terms of instantaneous recoverable and unrecoverable strains that can be determined by iteratively performing constrained recovery steps during traditional rheological characterizations. I will show how the results of these new experiments elucidate the physics underlying yield stress fluid phenomena, and also provide insight into the phenomenon of mechanical memory observed in colloidal glasses, emulsions, and foams. The lessons learned from these experimental results have led to the development of a simple rheological model that accurately predicts yield stress fluid behavior across a wide range of situations. The new model does not contain features that have been considered crucial to understanding yield stress fluids, and yet does a better job of describing real behaviors than current state-of-the-art models.  Taken together, these studies are providing a rational route toward understanding and designing structure-property-processing relationships for yield stress fluids.

BIO

Simon A. Rogers is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Dr. Rogers uses experimental and computational tools to understand and model advanced colloidal, polymeric, and self-assembled materials. He joined the department in 2015. He received his BSc in 2001, BSc (Hons) in 2002; and his PhD from Victoria University of Wellington in New Zealand in 2011. He completed his postdoctoral research at the Foundation for Research and Technology in Crete, the Jülich Research Center in Germany, and the Center for Neutron Research at the University of Delaware.

February 1, 2021
10:30 AM
Via Zoom
Dr. David Ollis
North Carolina State University

To conceive of a new idea is difficult. To create something novel driven by the suggestions of others is easier. This autobiographical presentation surveys a five decade career of suggestion-driven collaborations with graduate and undergraduate students, as well as faculty colleagues, in the diverse areas of biotechnology, photocatalysis, and engineering education. The story is arranged in five parts, as follow:

  1. A California prelude in which an idyllic agricultural valley is transformed into suburbs and silicon chips.
  2. A biotechnology text arriving in time for the genetic engineering revolution, illustrating that serendipity is your friend if you can find it.
  3. An exploration of light combined with catalysis and applied to air and water treatment and self-cleaning surfaces, in which we demonstrate that a new research field can be advanced using the undergraduate topics of mass and energy balances, along with well-known kinetic formulations.
  4. Miscellaneous engineering education ventures to offer undergraduate student exploration of modern devices, presented by using and dissecting functioning contraptions, understanding their technical content, and considering the societal context in which they were created.
  5. A closing “Thank You” to NCSU colleagues and students, with a brief reflection on loving retirement in the time of COVID.

February 8, 2021
10:30 AM
Via Zoom
Dr. Billy B. Bardin
Global Operations Technology Director – Dow Inc.

Digital tools and digitalization have been much hyped in the media and the discreet manufacturing industries as the definitive pathway to technology and productivity advancement. While not all projected forecasts have come to fruition, there are lessons and technologies to be applied in the process industries that will improve safety, reliability, productivity, and ultimately profitability. The combination of fundamental chemical engineering principles with advanced data analytics allows engineers and operators to develop greater insights into facility performance. Advanced process control and real time optimization, while classically used in the process industries, are updated to include new sensor technologies and mathematical approaches that enhance performance and that allow real time optimizations across the enterprise, a production site, or a product value chain. Robotic tools and mobile devices are allowing process operators to perform inspections, maintenance activities, and construction projects more efficiently and safely. Novel materials and compact sensors are being developed to extend the range and capabilities of our robotic tools, encompassing new challenges for chemical engineers in this arena. This talk will describe several examples of digitalization for chemical processes and how industry is looking to advance further as well as how digital skill development for new and experienced workers is required for the industry to be successful.

BIO

Billy B. Bardin is the Global Digitalization Director for Dow Inc. He is responsible for ensuring the development of a well-integrated digital strategy to realize the vision of Digital Dow and the end to end connectivity necessary to make it a reality, including leadership for the Dow Operations Manufacturing 4.0 program. He leads efforts to explore, evaluate, and implement emerging and next generation digital technologies that are required to maintain and improve Dow’s competitive position. He also drives initiatives to ensure Dow’s workforce has the required skills, characteristics, and training to be digital ready. Bardin began his career in 2000 with Union Carbide/Dow in South Charleston, W. Va., where he led alternative feedstock and catalytic process development programs. He has held numerous global leadership roles in research, development, and manufacturing in which he has developed and commercialized technologies including new heterogeneous catalysis research capabilities, novel catalytic processes for feedstocks and derivative products, process technologies for improved olefins production, and advanced digital manufacturing capabilities, among others. Bardin holds a Bachelor of Science in Chemical Engineering from North Carolina State University, and a Master of Science and a Doctor of Philosophy in Chemical Engineering from the University of Virginia. He is a Registered, Professional Engineer (PE) with the W. V. State Board of Registration for Professional Engineers. Bardin is an executive member and past Chair of the Industrial Advisory Board for the School of Chemical Engineering at Purdue University and a member of the advisory boards for the Departments of Chemical Engineering at the University of Virginia and North Carolina State University. He was elected to the Board of Directors for the American Institute of Chemical Engineers (AIChE) in 2016. He is a Fellow of the AIChE and holds board seats for the MxD and RAPID manufacturing institutes. He was recently named as one of Smart Industry Magazines Top 50 Industrial Digital Transformation Leaders.

February 15, 2021
10:30 AM
Via Zoom
Dr. Ethan Lippman
Vanderbilt University

Neurological disease imposes a significant socioeconomic burden, and the incidence of neurological disease is expected to rise concurrently with increases in worldwide life expectancy. However, no disease-modifying therapies are currently available for any acute or chronic neurodegenerative conditions, and the number of failed clinical trials in this space continues to grow. Some of these failures may be attributed to insufficient knowledge of the underlying mechanisms for disease onset and progression, a lack of robust model systems to appropriately test therapeutics, and an inability to deliver drugs to the diseased brain in appreciable doses. To address these issues, our research group applies biomolecular and biomedical engineering strategies to in vitro and in vivo investigations, with the goal of modeling, understanding, and ultimately treating neurodegeneration. In this talk, I will highlight subsets of recent progress in the lab, including our efforts to: (1) build next-generation models of the vascularized human brain in health and disease; (2) develop new strategies for blood-brain barrier molecular targeting, biosensing, and drug delivery by leveraging affinity reagent selection techniques.

BIO

Dr. Lippmann received his bachelor’s degree in Chemical Engineering from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign in 2006 and his doctoral degree in Chemical Engineering from the University of Wisconsin-Madison in 2012. He spent three years as a postdoctoral fellow in Biomedical Engineering at the Wisconsin Institute for Discovery and then transitioned to a tenure-track assistant professorship in the Department of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering at Vanderbilt University in 2015, where he currently resides. Ethan’s research program generally focuses on modeling, understanding, and treating neurodegeneration, with a particular emphasis on the cerebrovascular interface. In recognition of his research efforts, he has received a NARSAD Young Investigator Award from the Brain and Behavior Research Foundation, a Ben Barres Early Career Acceleration Award from the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative, a CAREER Award from the National Science Foundation, and a Cellular and Molecular Bioengineering Young Innovator Award from the Biomedical Engineering Society. He is also a two-time recipient of his department’s teaching award (ChBE Award for Excellence in Teaching) in recognition of his contributions to undergraduate education.

February 22, 2021
10:30 AM
Via Zoom
Dr. Erich Müller
Imperial College London
Gubbins Lecture 2021

In this presentation, I discuss the development and deployment of the SAFT ( Statistical Associating Fluid Theory) force field for molecular simulations of fluids. In this approach, a molecular-based equation of state is used to fit coarse-grained intermolecular potentials that can then be employed in molecular simulations over a wide range of thermodynamic conditions. This methodology allows for a reliable representation of the fluid-phase equilibria (for which the models are parametrized), as well as an accurate prediction of other properties such as interfacial tension and transport properties of complex fluids, polymers, asphaltenes surfactants and mixtures. Through some examples, it is shown how the results from the SAFT force fields are found to be of comparable quality (and sometimes superior) to those obtained using the more sophisticated all-atom (AA) and united-atom (UA) models commonly employed in the field with a reduction of several orders of magnitude in computational expense.

BIO

Erich A. Müller, professor of thermodynamics, obtained his Ph.D. from Cornell University (under the supervision of professors Keith Gubbins, Ben Widom and Paulette Clancy) in 1995. He is currently the professor of thermodynamics at Imperial College London and a fellow of the Royal Society of Chemistry. Prof. Muller leads the Molecular Systems Engineering group, where a combination of theoreticians and modellers work in a productive and collaborative environment focusing on the application of fundamental modelling to engineering scenarios. He has a track record of over 150 papers, over 300 presentations in international conferences, 11 books and chapters and multiple awards on teaching and research excellence. His research interests are in the molecular simulation of complex fluids (liquid crystals, asphaltenes, polymers), interfacial phenomena and adsorption and transport in nanoporous materials. His recent work has focused on the development of coarse-grained intermolecular potentials and the application of machine learning to predict thermophysical properties of fluids.

February 23, 2021
9:35 AM
Via Zoom
Dr. Erich Müller
Imperial College London
Gubbins Lecture 2021

The currently available computational power has provided us with avenues for the simulation of fluids with an unprecedented speed. In this two-part lecture, I will initially discuss the “illusion” that molecular modelling provides an undisputed and trustworthy representation of thermophysical properties of fluids, showcasing some examples of common pitfalls and limitations surrounding common force fields and simulation techniques.

In a second part of the talk, I will discuss how this same computational power can now be harnessed, through machine learning algorithms, to bypass theoretical constructions with the aid of molecular simulations. As an example, I will discuss the generation of an equation of state for the Mie potential employing artificial neural networks and Gaussian process regression.

BIO

Erich A. Müller, professor of thermodynamics, obtained his Ph.D. from Cornell University (under the supervision of professors Keith Gubbins, Ben Widom and Paulette Clancy) in 1995. He is currently the professor of thermodynamics at Imperial College London and a fellow of the Royal Society of Chemistry. Prof. Muller leads the Molecular Systems Engineering group, where a combination of theoreticians and modellers work in a productive and collaborative environment focusing on the application of fundamental modelling to engineering scenarios. He has a track record of over 150 papers, over 300 presentations in international conferences, 11 books and chapters and multiple awards on teaching and research excellence. His research interests are in the molecular simulation of complex fluids (liquid crystals, asphaltenes, polymers), interfacial phenomena and adsorption and transport in nanoporous materials. His recent work has focused on the development of coarse-grained intermolecular potentials and the application of machine learning to predict thermophysical properties of fluids.

March 1, 2021
10:30 AM
Via Zoom
Dr. Ashutosh Chilkoti
Duke University

This talk will highlight recent work from my laboratory that illustrates the clinical translation of molecular bioengineering technologies for point-of-care clinical diagnostics, drug delivery, and regenerative medicine.   In the first example, I will describe a point-of-care diagnostic —the D4 assay — that we have developed, in which all reagents are printed and stored on a “non-fouling”—protein and cell resistant—polymer brush. The D4 assay has a speed and sensitivity that is as good or better than commercially available point-of-care tests and is far simpler, cheaper more rugged, and does not require a cold-chain.   In the area of drug delivery, I will describe a recombinant fusion of peptide and protein drugs to a thermally sensitive polypeptide that forms an insoluble depot upon subcutaneous injection and provides sustained and tunable release of the drug from the injection site.  In the area of tissue engineering/regenerative medicine, I will discuss how we have used ELPs as a template to encode higher order, hierarchical self-assembly into macroscopic biomaterials by modulating the degree of order in these intrinsically disordered polymers, leading to materials that are soluble at room temperature but upon injection subcutaneously —or elsewhere in the body— self-assemble into a physically crosslinked material with interconnected pores. These materials spontaneously vascularize, exhibit minimal inflammation, and show excellent tissue integration, and these properties suggest that they may be useful for regenerative medicine.

BIO

Ashutosh Chilkoti is the Alan L. Kaganov Professor and the Chair of the Department of Biomedical Engineering at Duke University. His areas of research include genetically encoded materials and biointerface science. He has pioneered the development of the first artificial polypeptides to enter clinical trials for drug delivery that provide a genetically encoded, injectable system for sustained delivery of protein drugs. He also invented a new method to purify protein drugs without chromatography, and developed an innovative technology for point-of-care clinical diagnostics. He was awarded the Clemson Award for Contributions to the Literature by the Society for Biomaterials in 2011, the Robert A. Pritzker Distinguished Lecture award by the Biomedical Engineering Society in 2013, was elected to the National Academy of Inventors in 2014, received the Distinguished Alumni award from the Indian Institute of Technology, Delhi in 2015, and the Diamond award from the College of Engineering at the University of Washington in 2017, and was elected to the American Association for the Advancement of Science in 2020. He is a fellow of American Institute of Medical and Biological Engineering, the Biomedical Engineering Society, and the Controlled Release Society, He is the founder of five start-up companies: (1) PhaseBio Pharmaceuticals, a publicly traded company on NASDAQ (sticker: PHAS) that is taking drug delivery technology that he developed into clinical trials; (2) Sentilus, a clinical diagnostics company that was acquired by Immucor in 2014;; (3) GatewayBio, that is commercializing a next-generation PEGylation technology for biologics; (4) Isolere Bio that is developing a non-chromatographic technology for purification of monoclonal antibodies; and (5) inSoma Bio that is developing a recombinant protein matrix for tissue reconstruction.

March 8, 2021
10:30 AM
Via Zoom
Dr. Amay Bandodkar
North Carolina State University

Recent advances in materials, mechanics, and device architectures form the foundations for rapidly emerging classes of sensors and energy devices with mechanical characteristics that allow for conformal interfaces with the soft, curvilinear surfaces of the human body. While the field of tissue-integrated biophysical sensors exhibits commendable progress in capturing clinical quality thermal, kinematic, and electrophysiological information, the advancement of complementary biochemical sensors severely lags due to unique challenges associated with seamless integration of delicate biochemical receptors, transducing components, and suitable packaging materials. Similarly, the vast majority of demonstrated tissue-mounted energy storage and energy harvesting systems unfortunately rely on toxic components that substantially diminish their attractiveness in bio-related applications. In this talk, I will discuss non-traditional approaches to address some of these grand challenges. At their core lies a set of concepts, enabling materials, device architectures, and heterogeneous fabrication processes that lay the foundations for new classes of tissue-integrated biochemical sensors and biocompatible energy sources, with special applications in wearable sweat analysis and implantable neurochemical sensing. These devices result from an unconventional amalgamation of disparate technologies such as advanced microfluidics, biofuel cells, batteries, wireless electronics, optogenetics, colorimetrics, and electroanalytics, to impart unique, multi-functional capabilities.

BIO

Dr. Bandodkar is an assistant professor in the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering at NC State with affiliation to the ASSIST Center. His research interests include working at the interface of electronics, materials science, and biology to realize next-generation conformal sensors and energy devices with broad applications in wearables, implants, and distributed systems. He obtained his undergraduate degree from the Indian Institute of Technology – Banaras Hindu University (India) in 2011 and a PhD from the Department of NanoEngineering at the University of California, San Diego in 2016. Thereafter he joined Northwestern University as a postdoctoral researcher (2016-2020). He is the recipient of the MRS Graduate Student Award, Metrohm Young Chemist Award, Siebel Scholars Award, Interdisciplinary Research Award, Seed Fund from von Liebig Entrepreneurism Center, and Undergraduate Research Publication Award.

March 22, 2021
10:30 AM
Via Zoom
Dr. Michael Jewett
Northwestern University

Synthetic Biology (SB) is one of the most promising fields of research for the 21st century. SB offers powerful new ways to improve human health, build the global economy, manufacture sustainable materials, and address climate change. However, current access to SB-enabled breakthroughs is unequal, largely due to bottlenecks in infrastructure and education. Here, I describe our efforts to re-think the way we engineer biology using cell-free systems to address these bottlenecks. We show how the ability to readily store, distribute, and activate low-cost, freeze-dried cell-free systems by simply adding water has opened new opportunities for on-demand biomanufacturing of vaccines for global health, point-of-care diagnostics for environmental safety, and education for SB literacy and citizenship. By integrating cell-free systems with artificial intelligence (AI), we also show the ability to accelerate the production of carbon-negative platform chemicals. Looking forward, advances in engineering tools and new knowledge underpinning the fundamental science of living matter will ensure that SB helps solve humanity’s most pressing challenges.

BIO

Michael Jewett is the Charles Deering McCormick Professor of Teaching Excellence, the Walter P. Murphy Professor of Chemical and Biological Engineering, and Director of the Center for Synthetic Biology at Northwestern University. Dr. Jewett received his PhD in 2005 at Stanford University, completed postdoctoral studies at the Center for Microbial Biotechnology in Denmark and the Harvard Medical School, and was a guest professor at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology (ETH Zurich). He is the recipient of the NIH Pathway to Independence Award, David and Lucile Packard Fellowship in Science and Engineering, Camille-Dreyfus Teacher-Scholar Award, and a Finalist for the Blavatnik National Awards for Young Scientists, among others. He is the co-founder of SwiftScale Biologics, Stemloop, Inc., Pearl Bio, Induro Therapeutics, and Design Pharmaceuticals. Jewett is a Fellow of AIMBE, AAAS, and NAI. 

March 29, 2021
10:30 AM
Via Zoom
Dr. Joe DeSimone
Stanford University
McCabe Lecture 2021

Until recently, 3D printing was largely relegated to prototyping and small-scale projects due to fundamental limitations — slowness and an inability to generate objects with adequate mechanical strength and thermal properties that would entail widespread, durable utility. A limited range of materials also hindered the ability to make parts comparable to injection molded parts. Rethinking the basic physics and chemistry of 3D printing, we invented Digital Light SynthesisTM (DLS) to address these longstanding major drawbacks (Science 2015, 347, 1349). DLS is now transforming how parts are manufactured in industries including automotive, footwear and medicine. Here at Stanford, we are pursuing new advances in 3D printing including software treatment planning for digital therapeutic devices in pediatric medicine, the design of a high-resolution printer capable of single-digit micron resolution, multiple materials in a single build and recyclable materials. In particular, with a high-resolution 3D printer, we are advancing microneedle designs as a potent delivery platform for vaccines.

BIO

DeSimone joined Stanford after a 30-year career in North Carolina, where he was the Chancellor’s Eminent Professor of Chemistry at UNC and the William R. Kenan, Jr. Distinguished Professor of Chemical Engineering at NC State. DeSimone and his trainees have made significant scientific breakthroughs in green chemistry, medical devices, nanotechnology and 3D printing. He has mentored more than 80 students through Ph.D. completion, half of whom were women and members of underrepresented groups in STEM. An author of more than 370 publications, DeSimone is a named inventor on >200 issued patents. He has co-founded several companies including Liquidia Technologies, Blue Current, Advanced Chemotherapy Technologies and Carbon. He was selected as the 2019 EY Entrepreneur of the Year National Overall winner. DeSimone has achieved recognition as a scientist, inventor and entrepreneur, earning major accolades including the U.S. Presidential Green Chemistry Challenge Award, 2017 Heinz Award and the $500,000 Lemelson-MIT Prize. He is one of only 25 individuals elected to all three U.S. National Academies — the National Academies of Sciences, Medicine and Engineering. In 2016, President Obama presented him the National Medal of Technology and Innovation.

April 5, 2021
10:30 AM
Via Zoom
Dr. Zachary W. Ulissi
Carnegie Mellon University

Machine learning accelerated catalyst discovery efforts has seen much progress in the last few years. Datasets of computational calculations have improved, models to connect surface structure with electronic structure or adsorption energies have gotten more sophisticated, and active learning exploration strategies are becoming routine in discovery efforts. However, there are several large challenges that remain: to date, models have had trouble generalizing to new materials or reaction intermediates and applying these methods requires significant training. I will review and discuss methods in my lab for high-throughput catalyst screening and on-line discovery of interesting materials, resulting in an optimized Cu-Al catalyst for CO2-to-ethylene conversion. I will then introduce the Open Catalyst Project and the Open Catalyst 2020 dataset, a collaborative project to span surface composition, structure, and chemistry and enable a new generation of deep machine learning models for catalysis, with initial results for state-of-the-art deep graph convolutional models. Finally, I will discuss on-going work to develop small ML models to accelerate routine calculations without requiring expert intervention.

BIO

Zachary Ulissi is an Assistant Professor of Chemical Engineering at Carnegie Mellon University. He works on the development and application of high-throughput computational methods in catalysis, machine learning models to predict their properties, and active learning methods to guide these systems. Applications include energy materials, CO2 utilization, fuel cell development, and additive manufacturing. He has been recognized nationally for his work including the 3M Non-Tenured Faculty Award and the AIChE 35-under-35 award among others.

April 12, 2021
10:30 AM
Via Zoom
Dr. Tarit K. Mukhopadhyay
Merck Research Laboratories
Ollis Lecture 2021

Vaccines and the act of vaccination has proven to be the most successful public health policy of the modern age. Through vaccination millions of lives are saved annually, and most of them children, increasing life expectancy and adding to the global economy. The current pandemic has reminded the public of the utility of vaccines – yet in this backdrop we see common challenges facing the industry on speed, supply, risk, and distribution. This talk will discuss some of the limitations of the status quo, the challenges in the current vaccine market, and what technologies and approaches could be utilize to ensure that these lifesaving products reach all those in need of vaccination.

BIO

Tarit K. Mukhopadhyay trained as a biochemical engineer and completed his undergraduate at University College London (UCL) in the United Kingdom. He conducted his doctorate in a joint venture between UCL and Public Health England, Porton Down, working on 2 vaccines of commercial interest, a novel Meningitis B vaccine and the UK licensed Anthrax vaccine.

As a former Professor in Vaccine Bioprocessing at the Department of Biochemical Engineering, UCL, he headed up the vaccine bioprocess research portfolio. His work spanned Japanese Encephalitis virus vaccine, a novel tandem-core Hepatitis B virus like particle, influenza and the use of lentiviruses for gene therapy. His work later focused on global health and vaccine access; with one grant from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation on low-cost vaccine manufacturing (ULTRA) and the second from the UK Government to create a Future Vaccine Manufacturing Research Hub (VaxHub).

Tarit was formerly the Chair of the Vaccine Development Working Group for the UK Vaccine Network established by the UK Government to develop strategies and policies to tackle disease outbreaks of epidemic potential. He has also acted as a review for both the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and CEPI, the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations.

Tarit is now Head of Vaccine Process R&D at Merck Research Laboratories where he oversees the development of Merck’s pipeline vaccine projects including projects on Dengue, PCV and Covid vaccines at West Point, PA, USA.

April 19, 2021
10:30 AM
Via Zoom
Dr. Alán Aspuru-Guzik
University of Toronto

The world is facing several time-sensitive issues ranging from climate change to the rapid degradation of our climate, as well as the emergence of new diseases like COVID-19. We need to rethink the way we do science and think of it as a workflow that could be optimized. Where are the pain points that can be solved with automation, artificial intelligence, or better human practices? My group has been thinking about this question with an application to the design of organic optoelectronic materials. In this talk, I will discuss the progress in developing materials acceleration platforms, or self-driving labs for this purpose.

BIO

Alán Aspuru-Guzik’s research lies at the interface of computer science with chemistry and physics. He works in the integration of robotics, machine learning and high-throughput quantum chemistry for the development of materials acceleration platforms. These “self-driving laboratories¨ promise to accelerate the rate of scientific discovery, with applications to clean energy and optoelectronic materials. Alán also develops quantum computer algorithms for quantum machine learning and has pioneered quantum algorithms for the simulation of matter. He is jointly appointed as a Professor of Chemistry and Computer Science at the University of Toronto. Alán is a faculty member of the Vector Institute for Artificial Intelligence. Previously, Alán was a full professor at Harvard University where he started his career in 2006. Alán is currently the Canada 150 Research Chair in Quantum Chemistry as well as a CIFAR AI Chair at the Vector Institute. Amongst other awards, Alán is a recipient of the Google Focused Award in Quantum Computing, the MIT Technology Review 35 under 35, and the Sloan and Camille and Henry Dreyfus Fellowships. Alán is a fellow of the American Association of the Advancement of Science and the American Physical Society. He is a co-founder of Zapata Computing and Kebotix, two early-stage ventures in quantum computing and self-driving laboratories respectively.

April 26, 2021
10:30 AM
Via Zoom
Dr. Svetlana Sukhishvili
Texas A&M University

Current polymer coatings and 3D polymer networks do not always satisfy the criterion of multifunctionality and traditionally do not self-heal. This talk will first discuss molecular design criteria for creating antioxidant self-healing coatings, and then focus on a family of reconfigurable, reprocessable dynamic polymer networks based on Diels–Alder (DA) reactions. Antioxidant coatings which will be discussed in the first part of the talk were constructed using layer-by-layer assembly of gallol- and cathehol-based linear synthetic polyphenols and exhibited strong dependences of film layering, molecular diffusion and self-healing on the chemistry of the phenol ring. The second part of the talk will introduce a platform of 3D printable DA polymer networks with stiffness tunable within nearly three orders of magnitude (MPa to GPa), controlled solid-to-liquid transitions and an inherent capability to interbond. These materials demonstrate a wide range of glass transition temperatures (Tg), can spontaneously self‐heal at room temperature, and can be reconfigured at temperatures significantly exceeding Tg. We will discuss the role of endo- to exo- DA transformations in the reconfigurability of these materials and show the advantages in utilizing these networks for constructing highly conductive reprogrammable nanocomposites.