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Chemical Engineering Approaches to Challenges in Energy and Biomedicine

Chemical Engineering Approaches to Challenges in Energy and Biomedicine
Reported by
Craig Hardgrove

Posted May 03, 2012

Presented By


As the human population continues to grow, demand for more energy and for high quality healthcare increases. At the forefront of tackling both of these issues are chemical engineers, who are crucial to meeting the energy demands of the future and whose innovations promise higher quality healthcare for our growing population. Chemical engineers gathered at the New York Academy of Sciences on March 30, 2012 for the Chemical Engineering Approaches to Challenges in Energy and Biomedicine symposium to discuss new and innovative ways to harness the Earth's energy resources through natural solar or biochemical processes as well as to generate creative solutions to healthcare problems. Importantly, this symposium represents the first such meeting of chemical engineers in the New York metropolitan area, bringing together individuals from academia, industry, and government sectors.

Speakers from the energy sector discussed the current state of energy usage and production in the United States. Several researchers discussed their own exciting projects that aim to improve biofuels and to extend the lifetime of traditional batteries. Speakers on the topic of biomedical engineering presented several ways that high-tech analytical techniques can be used to improve large-scale production of tablet medicines. Additionally, researchers discussed their innovative work on improving stem cells for therapeutic applications and on designing biologically-inspired molecules.

Use the tabs above to find a meeting report and multimedia from this event.

Presentations available from:
Treena Arinzeh, PhD (New Jersey Institute of Technology)
Scott Banta, PhD (Columbia University)
Mauricio Futran, PhD (Rutgers University)
Rohit Ramachandran, PhD (Rutgers University)
Dan Steingart, PhD (The City College of New York, CUNY Energy Institute)
Eric Toone, PhD (U.S. Department of Energy, ARPA-E)
Raymond S. Tu, PhD (The City College of New York)

Platinum Sponsor

  • The Chemists' Club
  • Brenntag

Gold Sponsors

  • The City College of New York
  • The Columbia University School of Engineering

Bronze Sponsor

  • AIChE

Books & Journal Articles

Treena Arinzeh

Arinzeh TL, Peter SJ, Archambault MP, et al. Allogeneic mesenchymal stem cells regenerate bone in a critical-sized canine segmental defect. J. Bone Joint Surg. Am. 2003;85-A(10):1927-1935.

Arinzeh TL, Tran T, Mcalary J, et al. A comparative study of biphasic calcium phosphate ceramics for human mesenchymal stem-cell-induced bone formation. Biomaterials 2005;26(17):3631-3638.

Briggs T, Treiser MD, Holmes PF, et al. Osteogenic differentiation of human mesenchymal stem cells on poly(ethylene glycol)-variant biomaterials. J. Biomed. Mater. Res. A 2009;91(4):975-984.

Patlolla A, Collins G, Arinzeh TL. Solvent-dependent properties of electrospun fibrous composites for bone tissue regeneration. Acta. Biomater. 2010;6(1):90-101.

Stevens MM, George JH. Exploring and engineering the cell surface interface. Science 2005;310(5751):1135-1138.

Amos Avidan

Blarke M, Lund H. The effectiveness of storage and relocation options in renewable energy systems. Renewable Energy 2008;33(7):1499-1507.

Colborn T, Kwiatkowski C, Schultz K, et al. Natural gas operations from a public health perspective. Human and Ecological Risk Assessment: An International Journal 2011;17(5):1039-1056.

de Vries BJ, van Vuuren DP, Hoogwijk MM. Renewable energy sources: Their global potential for the first-half of the 21st century at a global level: An integrated approach. Energy Policy 2007;35(4):2590-2610.

Kargbo DM, Wilhelm RG, Campbell DJ. Natural gas plays in the Marcellus Shale: challenges and potential opportunities. Environ. Sci. Technol. 2010;44(15):5679-5684.

Makogon Y, Holditch S, Makogon T. Natural gas-hydrates — A potential energy source for the 21st Century. Journal of Petroleum Science and Engineering 2007;56(1-3):14-31.

Salameh MG. Can renewable and unconventional energy sources bridge the global energy gap in the 21st century? Applied Energy 2003;75(1-2):33-42.

Scott Banta

Atsumi S, Hanai T, Liao JC. Non-fermentative pathways for synthesis of branched-chain higher alcohols as biofuels. Nature 2008;451(7174):86-89.

Campbell E, Meredith M, Minteer SD, et al. Enzymatic biofuel cells utilizing a biomimetic cofactor. Chem. Commun. (Camb.) 2012;48(13):1898-1900.

Chain P, Lamerdin J, Larimer F, et al. Complete genome sequence of the ammonia-oxidizing bacterium and obligate chemolithoautotroph Nitrosomonas europaea. J. Bacteriol. 2003;185(9):2759-2773.

Valdés J, Pedroso I, Quatrini R, et al. Acidithiobacillus ferrooxidans metabolism: from genome sequence to industrial applications. BMC Genomics 2008;9:597.

Yan Y, Liao JC. Engineering metabolic systems for production of advanced fuels. J. Ind. Microbiol. Biotechnol. 2009;36(4):471-479.

Mauricio Futran

Dubey A, Sarkar A, Ierapetritou M, et al. Computational Approaches for Studying the Granular Dynamics of Continuous Blending Processes, 1–DEM Based Methods. Macromol. Mater. Eng. 2011;296(3-4):290-307.

Leighty RW, Antoniewicz MR. Dynamic metabolic flux analysis (DMFA): a framework for determining fluxes at metabolic non-steady state. Metab. Eng. 2011;13(6):745-755.

Orman MA, Androulakis IP, Berthiaume F, et al. Metabolic network analysis of perfused livers under fed and fasted states: incorporating thermodynamic and futile-cycle-associated regulatory constraints. J. Theor. Biol. 2012;293:101-110.

Yang H, Roth CM, Ierapetritou MG. Analysis of amino acid supplementation effects on hepatocyte vultures using flux balance analysis. OMICS: A Journal of Integrative Biology 2011;15(7-8):449-460.

Rohit Ramachandran

Glaser T, Sanders CF, Wang F, et al.Model predictive control of continuous drum granulation. Journal of Process Control 2009;19(4):615-622.

Ramachandran R, Barton PI. Effective parameter estimation within a multi-dimensional population balance model framework. Chemical Engineering Science 2010;65(16):4884-4893.

Ramachandran R, Immanuel CD, Stepanek F, et al. A mechanistic model for breakage in population balances of granulation: theoretical kernel development and experimental validation. Chemical Engineering Research and Design 2009;87(4):598-614.

Ramkrishna D. Population Balances: Theory and Applications to Particulate Systems in Engineering. San Diego: Academic Press; 2000.

Stepánek F, Rajniak P, Mancinelli C, et al. Distribution and accessibility of binder in wet granules. Powder Technology 2009;189(2):376-384.

Dan Steingart

Gaikwad AM, Whiting GL, Steingart DA, et al. Highly flexible, printed alkaline batteries based on mesh-embedded electrodes. Adv. Mater. Weinheim. 2011;23(29):3251-3255.

Gallaway JW, Desai D, Gaikwad A, et al. A lateral microfluidic cell for imaging electrodeposited zinc near the shorting condition. J. Electrochem. Soc. 2010;157(12):A1279.

Ito A, Li D, Sato Y, et al. Cyclic deterioration and its improvement for Li-rich layered cathode material Li[Ni0.17Li0.2Co0.07Mn0.56]O2. Journal of Power Sources 2010;195(2):567-573.

Wadia C, Albertus P, Srinivasan V. Resource constraints on the battery energy storage potential for grid and transportation applications. Journal of Power Sources 2011;196(3):1593-1598.

Eric Toone

Cheriyan M, Toone EJ, Fierke CA. Improving upon nature: active site remodeling produces highly efficient aldolase activity toward hydrophobic electrophilic substrates. Biochemistry 2012;51(8):1658-1668.

National Research Council. Rising Above the Gathering Storm: Energizing and Employing America for a Brighter Economic Future. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press, 2007.

Toone EJ. Advances in enzymology and related areas of molecular biology. Preface. Adv. Enzymol. Relat. Areas Mol. Biol. 2011;78:ix-xi.

Raymond Tu

Chou PY, Fasman GD. Empirical predictions of protein conformation. Annu. Rev. Biochem. 1978;47:251-276.

Cölfen H, Mann S. Higher-order organization by mesoscale self-assembly and transformation of hybrid nanostructures. Angew. Chem. Int. Ed. Engl. 2003;42(21):2350-2365.

Xiong H, Buckwalter BL, Shieh HM, et al. Periodicity of polar and nonpolar amino acids is the major determinant of secondary structure in self-assembling oligomeric peptides. Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA 1995;92(14):6349-6353.

Chemical Engineering Discussion Group Steering Committee

Note: The Steering Committee welcomes feedback and suggestions for topics for future meetings.

Alexander Couzis, PhD

City College of New York, CUNY
e-mail | website | publications

Dilhan M. Kalyon, PhD

Stevens Institute of Technology
e-mail | website | publications

Srinivasan S. Krishnan, PhD


Sanat K. Kumar, PhD

Columbia University
e-mail | website | publications

Norman W. Loney, PhD

New Jersey Institute of Technology
e-mail | website

Dominick N. Mazzone, PhD


Nat Ricciardi, PhD

Formerly of Pfizer, Inc.

Jose E. Tabora, PhD

Bristol-Myers Squibb

Jamie Kass, PhD

The New York Academy of Sciences

Keynote Speakers

Amos Avidan, PhD

e-mail | website | publications

Amos Avidan is a Senior Vice President and Bechtel's Corporate Manager of Engineering and Technology. Prior to assuming his current role in 2010, Avidan was General Manager of Strategic Planning, Marketing & Business Development and Technology for the Bechtel Oil, Gas & Chemicals, Inc. His previous assignments in Bechtel included Manager of Technology, Project Director of the Equatorial Guinea LNG project, and General Manager of Operations, LNG. Avidan joined Bechtel in 2000, and was elected a Principal Vice President and a Bechtel Fellow in 2001. He was elected Senior Vice President of Bechtel in 2007. Prior to joining Bechtel, Avidan was employed by Mobil Technology Company in a variety of assignments, including manager of Catalytic Cracking, manager of Upstream Surface Engineering, and VP of LNG technology. Avidan has received a PhD degree in Chemical Engineering from the City University of New York in 1980. He has authored and co-authored more than 70 books and technical publications and 31 US patents. Amos has served as a director of the American Institute of Chemical Engineers (AIChE). He is a Fellow of the AIChE, and in 2009 he was elected to the US National Academy of Engineering.

Mauricio Futran, PhD

Rutgers University
e-mail | website

Mauricio Futran is Professor and Chair of Chemical and Biochemical Engineering at Rutgers University. He came to this position after 28 years of pharmaceutical product and process development work at Merck and Co. and Bristol-Myers Squibb, where he was Vice President of Process R&D. His areas of expertise include all aspects of process development, technology transfer, validation, regulatory compliance, new product registration worldwide, external manufacturing and partnership development. He has demonstrated scientific leadership in applying automation and modeling to process development. In charge of envisioning and designing a Pilot Plant which remains the only paperless, fully automated installation of its kind. Futran led the process development, scale-up, plant design or retrofit and validation of numerous commercial products. As a consultant Futran works with pharmaceutical companies in technical issues, with legal firms in Intellectual Property cases, and with software developers seeking to improve modeling and project management for the pharmaceutical industry. Futran has Chemical Engineering degrees from Rice University and Princeton University, where he obtained his PhD under the direction of Prof. Carol Hall.

Eric Toone, PhD

U.S. Department of Energy, ARPA-E
website | publications

Eric Toone is the Deputy Director for Technology for the Advanced Research Projects Agency – Energy (ARPA-E), responsible for oversight of all ARPA-E Technology and directs the ARPA-E's Electrofuels program. In addition to his role at ARPA-E, Toone is currently the Anne T. and Robert M. Bass Professor of Chemistry and Professor of Biochemistry at Duke University. Toone is a scientific founder of two venture-backed companies: Aerie Pharmaceuticals, a research-based ophthalmology company, and Vindica Pharmaceuticals, a nitric oxide delivery company. He has served as a permanent member of the Bioorganic and Natural Products Study Section at the National Institutes of Health, and is currently a member of the NSERC Organic & Inorganic Review panel (Canada). Toone has authored over 100 scientific papers and over 30 patents. He is an associate editor of the journal Biopolymers and the editor in chief of the monograph series Advances in Enzymology. He studied chemistry as an undergraduate at the University of Guelph, graduating in 1983. That same year he moved to the University of Toronto to begin graduate studies with Professor J. Bryan Jones. Toone graduated from the University of Toronto in 1988 and moved to Harvard University to continue his studies with Professor George Whitesides.


Treena Arinzeh, PhD

New Jersey Institute of Technology
e-mail | website | publications

Treena Arinzeh received her BS from Rutgers University in Mechanical Engineering, her MSE in Biomedical Engineering from Johns Hopkins University, and her PhD in Bioengineering from the University of Pennsylvania. She worked for several years as a project manager at a stem cell technology company, Osiris Therapeutics, Inc. Arinzeh joined the faculty of the New Jersey Institute of Technology (NJIT) in 2001 as one of the founding faculty members of the department of Biomedical Engineering. Arinzeh has been recognized with numerous awards, including the National Science Foundation CAREER Award in 2003, Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers (PECASE) in 2004, Outstanding Scientist Award from the NJ Association for Biomedical Research in 2004, People to Watch in 2005 in The Star Ledger and the Coulter Foundation Translational Award in 2010. Her research support is from the National Science Foundation, Coulter Foundation, Musculoskeletal Transplant Foundation, New Jersey Commission on Science and Technology, New Jersey Commission on Spinal Cord Repair and medical device/biotechnology companies.

Scott Banta, PhD

Columbia University
e-mail | website | publications

Scott Banta is Associate Professor of Chemical Engineering at Columbia University. His research focuses on applying protein engineering and metabolic engineering tools to solve a variety of important problems in bioengineering. Banta received his PhD from Rutgers University in 2002. He was awarded the James D. Watson Investigator Program Award from the New York State Office of Science, Technology and Academic Research (NYSTAR) in 2005.

Rohit Ramachandran, PhD

Rutgers University
e-mail | website

Rohit Ramachandran is Assistant Professor of Chemical & Biochemical Engineering at Rutgers University. Ramachandran received his PhD in Chemical Engineering from Imperial College London in 2008. His research interests span the areas of modeling, simulation, experimental validation, optimization and control of chemical and pharmaceutical processes.

Dan Steingart, PhD

The City College of New York, CUNY Energy Institute
e-mail | website | publications

Dan Steingart is an assistant professor in the department of chemical engineering at the City College of New York, and a founding faculty member of the CUNY Energy Institute. He has developed printing processes for electrochemical energy storage, distributed sensors for large scale electrochemical processes, and power conversion circuitry for wireless sensor nodes in both academic and industrial laboratories. As a co-founder of Wireless Industrial Technologies (WIT) he spent considerable time probing conductors carrying over 50 kA in commercial electrowinning plants while trying to remember what not to touch or breathe on.

Raymond S. Tu, PhD

The City College of New York
e-mail | website | publications

Raymond S. Tu is an Assistant Professor in Chemical Engineering at The City College of The City University of New York. He received his BS in Chemical Engineering from The University of Florida, and his PhD in chemical engineering from the University of California–Santa Barbara in 2004. At Santa Barbara, he studied with Matthew Tirrell examining the design and self-assembly of peptide functionalized molecular architectures. He completed a post-doctoral fellowship in 2005 at Georgia Institute of Technology investigating rheological properties of biologically functionalized polymer-based materials. The focus of his research program at CUNY is the synthesis of surface-active molecular building blocks, which are derived from the combination of elements that direct interfacial assembly with components responsible for selective binding. This methodology is proving to be an effective tool for engineering complex composite materials that contain structures with multiple length-scales. The research in his group has been supported by AFOSR, NSF, NSF-PREM, DOE and industry.

Craig Hardgrove, PhD

Craig Hardgrove is a postdoctoral research associate at Stony Brook University. He has a PhD in geology and is a researcher in planetary science. Specifically, he studies the thermal infrared properties of sedimentary materials that are analogous to those found on Mars. He was made a collaborator on Mars Science Laboratory for his contributions to the neutron detector instrument on the rover, which is capable of identifying water. Hardgrove is the founder of Astrum Terra, a group of professional scientists who are avid video gamers who want to help incorporate scientific concepts into gaming. He is interested in using video games as educational tools and for communicating scientific concepts and is also interested in improving his own ability to explain scientific concepts clearly.


Platinum Sponsor

  • The Chemists' Club
  • Brenntag

Gold Sponsors

  • The City College of New York
  • The Columbia University School of Engineering

Bronze Sponsor

  • AIChE