Achieving Excellence at the Intersection of Chemical Engineering and Materials Science
Message from the Chair
I am very pleased to welcome you to the home page for the Department of Chemical Engineering and Materials Science at UC Irvine. The mission of the department is to create new knowledge in Chemical Engineering and Materials Science, and to prepare undergraduate and graduate students for successful careers in these respective fields.
Professor and Chair
Megan Campbell, Third-year, Chemical Engineering and Materials Science
Shehreen Dheda, Second-year Ph.D. Student
Advisor: Farghalli Mohamed
Vasan Venugopalan, Sc.D., Professor
biotechnology, energy, environment, microstructured materials, and nanotechnology.
In the biotechnology area, Assistant Professor Szu-Wen Wang's research group studies studies a new type of nanoparticle for drug encapsulation, as described in one of her recent articles published and featured on the cover of the journal Biotechnology and Bioengineering.
ChEMS in the News
- Chemical Engineering and Materials Science (ChEMS) Assistant Professor, , Ph.D., will use novel experimental techniques and computer simulations to better understand the viscoelasticity of colloidal gels with his proposal, “Shear-Induced Deformation and Nonlinear Rheology of Colloidal Gels,” which earned him a worth $400,000 from the National Science Foundation.
- Hung Nguyen, Ph.D., assistant professor of chemical engineering and materials science, joined the ChEMS Department in July 2009. His current research program is devoted to investigating the self-assembly of biological and biomimetic nanoscale materials based on amino acids and on nucleic acids with applications in nanotechnology, drug delivery, tissue engineering, gene therapy, disease diagnostics, antiviral therapeutics and imaging agent development.
- UC Irvine was recently awarded an infrastructure support grant for up to $300,000 from the U.S. Department of Energy to purchase equipment for nuclear energy research. The effort was initiated and led by Mikael Nilsson, Ph.D., assistant professor of chemical engineering and materials science. Nilsson, together with Russell Detwiler, Ph.D., assistant professor of civil and environmental engineering and George Miller, Ph.D., senior lecturer in the Department of Chemistry and director of the UC Irvine TRIGA reactor facility, will use the grant money to structure a nuclear science and engineering education and research program at UC Irvine. Using the current UC Irvine TRIGA reactor facility as a foundation, they plan to increase the research scope and student pool by acquiring instruments for training students and supporting cutting-edge research in nuclear technology.
- The ChEMS department has launched a revised senior design experience initiative for undergraduate majors in Materials Science Engineering. The goal is to provide undergraduates with a "real life" experience by embedding them in interdisciplinary design teams. As noted by Professor Albert Yee, Ph.D., who is overseeing the design projects, "This experience is intended to reflect the most important aspects of an industrial setting: expertise, the ability to acquire new knowledge, optimization, team work, and communication." Professor Farghalli Mohamed, Ph.D., began this initiative several years ago by teaming MSE students with mechanical and aerospace engineering students. The new initiative will strengthen the MSE student's role to be that of a materials expert who is critical to the success to the project. In a typical project, the MSE student will be embedded in a team consisting of biomedical engineering students and MAE students. "Biocompatibility of materials plays an especially critical role in biomedical devices, and so the MSE student will become an essential member of the team," noted Professor Yee.
At left, fourth-year biomedical engineering undergraduate student Peter Bui and third-year biological sciences student Kevin Ruzics test kidney tissue from a pig as part of a project in Professor Yee's lab to find the best type of polymer to use in training surgeons in suturing techniques.
- Mary Amasia, a chemical engineering doctoral student in the lab of Chancellor's Professor Marc Madou, Ph.D., developed a prototype antrax detection system to identify anthrax in one hour. The computer-automated platform uses CD-sized discs to separate blood or mucus samples and break down their cells so public health officials can confirm whether or not anthrax DNA is present. Although far from finished, the device could become a portable diagnostic tool for almost any microbial or viral infection.
- Daniel Mumm, Ph.D., assistant professor of chemical engineering and materials science, is the recipient of two major federal research awards for his work in advanced materials for energy and propulsion applications. In the area of solid oxide fuel cells, Mumm received a prestigious National Science Foundation Faculty Early Career Development Award (CAREER) for $400,000 over five years. The CAREER award funds research on the failure mechanisms of electrodes in solid oxide fuel cells - a crucial roadblock to the commercialization of this environmentally-friendly and fuel-efficient mode of energy generation. The second award from the Office of Naval Research, which is for $355,000 over three years, funds research on the failure of thermal barrier coatings in ship-board and aircraft turbines.
- The ChEMS Department is very pleased to announce that Ali Mohraz, Ph.D., assistant professor of chemical engineering and materials science, was selected to receive a 2009 Fariborz Maseeh Best Faculty Teaching Award from The Henry Samueli School of Engineering. The award is given to faculty in the School who have demonstrated outstanding leadership in teaching and mentoring undergraduate and graduate students. Learn more about Mohraz's research program in the area of microstructured materials.
- Mikael Nilsson, Ph.D., assistant professor of chemical engineering and materials science, is the latest faculty member to join the ChEMS department. Nilsson is a specialist in separations technology as it applies to the reprocessing of spent fuel from nuclear reactors. Nilsson also studies the effects of radioactive decay on solvents and chemicals used for nuclear waste management. His research was recently featured in the magazine Interface, a publication of UC Irvine's California Institute for Telecommunications and Information Technology (Calit2).
- Regina Ragan, Ph.D., assistant professor of chemical engineering and materials science, has been honored by the National Science Foundation with a prestigious Faculty Early Career Development (CAREER) $590,000 award, over five years, in recognition of her research in designing robust molecular scale devices.
Ragan’s project titled “A Fundamental Study of Biological/Inorganic Interfaces: Understanding Mechanisms for Probing Biomolecular Interactions Using Nanostructures,” will analyze how structure, interfaces and materials affect signal transduction in nanosystems that are designed to measure interactions between molecular systems.
- The Optoelectronics and Materials Lab at UC Irvine, led by Frank Shi, Ph.D., professor of chemical engineering and materials science, is making news for new materials that have diverse applications, ranging from highly efficient light emitting diodes to the creation of next-generation biomedical implants.