Marianthi Ierapetritou, University of Delaware
Host: Prof. Krishna Mahadevan
The growing concerns over global warming and environmental issues motivate the research on replacing oil-based feedstocks with biomass raw material for chemical and fuel production. This however comes with a number of challenges as the new technologies have to compete with the fossil based mature processes to ensure economic viability and market competitiveness. Moreover, life cycle analysis is not always in favor of the “green” solutions depending on the pathway explored.
Optimization of the biomass feed splitting among alternative pathways considering their economic and environmental impacts can be thus explored to discover the best available routes and determine the optimal mix of the value-added products. Hence, the integrated biorefinery is proposed to combine different conversion technologies and fully utilize all biomass components using the superstructure optimization framework. In addition to selecting the most economical and sustainable feedstock-technology-product combinations, the integrated biorefinery strategy can also include process flexibility to adjust its production in the volatile chemical market.
Acknowledging the increasing market competition, environmental concerns, and uncertainty in price and transportation times, there is a growing interest in achieving modularization, design standardization, and process intensification for biomass processing. The integration of modular designs within the existing supply chain could be challenging. Supply chain networks have become more prominent, complex, and difficult to manage, especially considering the multitude of risks and uncertainty that may manifest. In this talk, I will also touch upon the work in our group towards developing a supply chain model that aids decision-making addressing the complexities of a modular infrastructure and provide some ideas to deal with disruptions by considering both proactive and reactive strategies.
Marianthi Ierapetritou is the Bob and Jane Gore Centennial Chair Professor in the Department of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering at University of Delaware. Prior to that she has been a Distinguished Professor in the Department of Chemical and Biochemical Engineering at Rutgers University. During the last year at Rutgers University she led the efforts of the university advancing the careers in STEM for women at Rutgers as an Associate Vice President of the University.
Dr. Ierapetritou’s research focuses on the following areas: 1) process operations; (2) design and synthesis of flexible production systems with emphasis on pharmaceutical manufacturing; 3) energy and sustainability process modeling and operations; and 4) modeling of biopharmaceutical production. Her research is supported by several federal (FDA, NIH, NSF, ONR, NASA, DOE) and industrial (BMS, J&J, GSK, PSE, Bosch, Eli Lilly) grants.
Among her accomplishments are the appointment as the Gore Centennial Professor in 2019, the promotion to distinguished professor at Rutgers University in 2017, the 2016 Computing and Systems Technology (CAST) division Award in Computing in Chemical Engineering which is the highest distinction in the Systems area of the American Institute of Chemical Engineers (AIChE), the Award of Division of Particulate Preparations and Design (PPD) of The Society of Powder Technology, Japan; the Outstanding Faculty Award at Rutgers; the Rutgers Board of Trustees Research Award for Scholarly Excellence; and the prestigious NSF CAREER award. She has served as a Consultant to the FDA under the Advisory Committee for Pharmaceutical Science and Clinical Pharmacology, elected as a fellow of AICHE and as a Director in the board of AIChE. She has more than 290 publications and has been an invited speaker to numerous national and international conferences.
Dr. Ierapetritou obtained her BS from The National Technical University in Athens, Greece, her PhD from Imperial College (London, UK) in 1995 and subsequently completed her post-doctoral research at Princeton University (Princeton, NJ).
Rizwan Yusufali, UNICEF
Host: Prof. Levente Diosady
From urban centers to remote corners of Earth, the depths of the oceans to space, humanity has always sought to transcend barriers, overcome challenges, and create opportunities that improve life on our part of the universe. One such challenge is securing good nutrition for the global population, many of whom have just a few dollars a day to secure a nutritious meal. Nutrition is a ‘Grand Challenge’ affecting the world’s most vulnerable populations and needs a multidisciplinary approach and a ‘new breed’ of Engineers that can transcend across multiple disciplines and apply their analytical and solution-oriented thinking. While Engineers have and continue to develop ingenious solutions and technologies to make food healthier and safer, global rates of malnutrition remain unacceptably high in many countries resulting in productivity losses, morbidity and mortality. The aim of my lecture is to share some of my experiences and perspectives that have enabled me to make a positive impact on nutrition with the hope that this may inspire engineering researchers and students to solve the world’s most stubborn problems.
Rizwan Yusufali is a Nutrition Specialist at UNICEF providing technical and advisory support on scaling up essential nutrition interventions with a specific focus on food fortification and food systems. Mr. Yusufali has held several positions in program management, operations and product development and has extensive experience in food fortification. Prior to joining UNICEF, Mr. Yusufali was the Regional Director for the Strengthening African Processors of Fortified Foods program at TechnoServe providing direction, leadership and technical support covering Nigeria, Kenya and Tanzania. He has also worked for the World Food Programme (WFP), Global Alliance for Improved Nutrition (GAIN), Micronutrient Initiative (MI) managing programs in several countries across Africa and Asia. Mr. Yusufali has a Masters Degree in Chemical Engineering from the University of Toronto and has several publications on food fortification.
Harris Wang, Columbia University
Host: Prof. Chris Lawson
Microbes that live in soil are responsible for a variety of key decomposition and remediation activities in the biosphere. Microbes that colonize the gastrointestinal tract play important roles in host metabolism, immunity, and homeostasis. Better tools to study and alter these microbiomes are essential for unlocking their vast potential to improve human health and the environment. This talk will describe our recent efforts to develop next-generation tools to study and modify microbial communities. Specifically, I will discuss new platforms for automated microbial culturomics, techniques to genetically engineer complex microbial consortia and methods for biocontainment. These emerging capabilities provide a foundation to accelerate the development of microbiome-based products and therapies.
Harris Wang is an Associate Professor at Columbia University jointly appointed in the Department of Systems Biology and the Department of Pathology and Cell Biology. Dr. Wang received his B.S. degrees in Mathematics and Physics from MIT and his Ph.D. in Biophysics from Harvard University. His research group mainly develops enabling genomic technologies to characterize the mammalian gut microbiome and to engineer these microbes with the capacity to monitor and improve human health. Dr. Wang is an Investigator of the Burroughs Wellcome Fund and the recipient of numerous awards, including the Vilcek Prize or Creative Promise in Biomedical Science, NIH Director’s Early Independence Award, NSF CAREER, Sloan Research Fellowship, and the Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers (PECASE) from President Obama, which is “the highest honor bestowed by the United States Government on science and engineering professionals in the early stages of their independent research careers.”
Professor Jason Hattrick-Simpers
Department of Material Science & Engineering
University of Toronto
The past few years have been marked by a literal exponential increase in the number of publications with the words “machine learning,” “artificial intelligence,” and “deep learning” in their titles. These tools now pervade materials science workflows and have been integrated with experimental/computational automation to form autonomous research agents, capable of planning, executing, and analyzing entire scientific campaigns. Lurking beneath the surface truly amazing accomplishments are serious questions around trust, bias, reproducibility, and equity which will ultimately determine the overall adoption of AI and autonomy by the broader community. Here, I will speak to recent work done by our group to systematically (1) remove human bias from experimental data analysis, (2) identify and actively remediate bias in large datasets , and (3) foster and promote a community of equity and reproducibility within the materials AI sub-domain. Specific case studies will center around standard electrochemical impedance spectroscopy analysis, building stability model predictions for complex alloys from large theoretical datasets, and maximizing the amount of information extracted from imaging techniques.
Jason Hattrick-Simpers is a Professor in the Department of Materials Science and Engineering, University of Toronto, and a Research Scientist at CanmetMATERIALS. He graduated with a B.S. in Mathematics and a B.S. in Physics from Rowan University and a Ph.D. in Materials Science and Engineering from the University of Maryland. His research interests focus on using AI and experimental automation to discover new functional alloys and oxides that can survive in extreme environments and materials for energy conversion and storage.
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Education in Engineering Lecture
Eric Kaler, Case Western Reserve University
Host: Prof. Krishna Mahadevan
I will describe the outcomes of a US National Academies (NA) study I chaired called “New Directions for Chemical Engineering.” As described by the NA Press, it “details a vision to guide chemical engineering research, innovation, and education over the next few decades. This report calls for new investments in U.S. chemical engineering and the interdisciplinary, cross-sector collaborations necessary to advance the societal goals of transitioning to a low-carbon energy system, ensuring our production and use of food and water is sustainable, developing medical advances and engineering solutions to health equity, and manufacturing with less waste and pollution. The report also calls for changes in chemical engineering education to ensure the next generation of chemical engineers is more diverse and equipped with the skills necessary to address the challenges ahead.
Eric W. Kaler is the president of Case Western Reserve University. He joined Case Western Reserve in July 2021 from the University of Minnesota, where he served as university president for eight years. An accomplished chemical engineer and visionary university leader, Kaler’s career in higher education spans more than 40 years. He has significant expertise in elevating research, expanding fundraising, forming collaborative partnerships, encouraging entrepreneurship, and advocating for diversity, equity and inclusion.
Kaler studies surfactant and colloid science and engineering. His work on these ‘complex fluids’ has implications for many processes and products, ranging from pharmaceutical formulations to personal care products to enhancing oil-field production. He has published over 200 papers and holds 10 U.S. Patents and is a member of the National Academy of Engineering (2010). He was elected as a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences (2014) for his leadership in engineering and in higher education. He was a member of the inaugural class of the National Academy of Inventors (2012). He also is a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science and the American Chemical Society.
Born in Vermont, Kaler is a first-generation college graduate who earned his bachelor’s degree in chemical engineering from the California Institute of Technology and his PhD in chemical engineering from the University of Minnesota.
Eric Kaler, President, Case Western Reserve University
Ajay Kochhar (ChemE 1T3), President & CEO, Co-Founder, Li-Cycle
Sandra Odendahl (ChemE MASc 9T0), Senior Vice President & Head of Sustainability and Diversity, BDC
Michael Sefton (ChemE 7T1), University Professor, University of Toronto
4:30pm – 5:30pm
The panel discussion will also be livestreamed through Zoom (registration not required):
Meeting link: https://utoronto.zoom.us/j/83556865393
Meeting ID: 835 5686 5393
Poster & Cocktail Reception
5:30pm – 7:00pm
(Free, cash bar)
7:00pm – 9:30pm
All events will be held at the Chelsea Hotel, 33 Gerrard St W. REGISTRATION HAS NOW CLOSED!
Maciek Antoniewicz, University of Michigan
Host: Prof. Chris Lawson
Syntrophy, or cross-feeding, is the co-existence of two or more microbes whereby one feeds off the products of the other. Recently, we have developed an integrated multi-scale flux modeling approach that allows us, for the first time, to dissect interactions in microbial communities using 13C tracers. Specifically, to quantify metabolism and identify cross-feeding interactions we have developed a compartmental multi-scale 13C metabolic flux analysis (13C-comMFA) approach that quantifies metabolic fluxes for multiple cell populations in microbial communities without separation of cells or proteins. In this presentation, I will illustrate our investigations of metabolic interactions between E. coli auxotrophs that are unable to grow on glucose in minimal medium by themselves, but can grow on glucose when cultured together. Using our novel 13C-comMFA flux analysis tool we have quantified metabolic interactions (i.e. metabolite cross-feeding) in four distinct synthetic E. coli co-cultures. We also applied adaptive laboratory evolution to elucidate how syntrophic interactions evolve and are strengthened through adaptive co-evolution of co-cultures. Overall, the methods we have developed for studying microbial communities enable a broad new area of investigations, allowing us and others to dissect complex microbial systems that are of significant importance in biology but cannot be investigated with current tools. More broadly, by better understanding syntrophic relationships at the genetic, molecular, cellular and systems levels we are generating new knowledge on microbial syntrophy that enables us to ensemble synergistic interactions in engineered microbial communities for novel applications.
Maciek R. Antoniewicz is a Full Professor of Chemical Engineering at the University of Michigan. Dr. Antoniewicz earned his B.S. and M.S. degrees in Chemical Engineering from Delft University of Technology (2000), and his Ph.D. in Chemical Engineering from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (2006). After graduating he performed post-doctoral research at the DuPont Company. Dr. Antoniewicz started as an Assistant Professor in 2007 at the University of Delaware and was promoted to Associate Professor in 2013 and to Full Professor in 2017. In 2019, Dr. Antoniewicz moved to the University of Michigan.
Dr. Antoniewicz is an expert and a pioneer in the field of 13C-metabolic flux analysis (13C-MFA). Dr. Antoniewicz has received many awards for his research accomplishments, including the DuPont Young Professor Award (2008), the James E. Bailey Young Investigator Award in Metabolic Engineering (2008), the NSF CAREER Award (2011), and the Biotechnology and Bioengineering Daniel I.C. Wang Award (2015). In 2018, Dr. Antoniewicz was elected as a Fellow of the American Institute for Medical and Biological Engineering (AIMBE). His current interests include elucidating syntrophic interactions in microbial communities, adaptive laboratory evolution, optimizing CHO cell cultures for therapeutic protein production, and metabolic engineering of microbes for enhanced utilization of renewable substrates for production of value-added chemicals.
Research Scientist, Air Quality Research Division
Environment and Climate Change Canada (ECCC)
Abstract: Atmospheric carbonaceous aerosols can have significant impacts on both air quality and climate. However, impacts of atmospheric brown carbon (BrC), the light absorbing fraction of organic aerosols (OAs) that can heat up the atmosphere, on global and regional climate are subject to large uncertainties due to the lack of understanding on their sources, formation processes and atmospheric evolution. While biomass burning has been recognized as the major sources of atmospheric BrC in global scale, the contributions of other primary sources and secondary processes to atmospheric BrC remain less understood. The first part of this talk will focus on the field observations in Singapore, a well-developed coastal city in warm and humid tropical region, based on a novel combination of high resolution aerosol mass spectrometry and aethalometer measurements. The results provide evidence that local combustion emissions and fresh secondary OA (SOA) formed with industrial influence can be important sources of BrC in urban environments, and biomass burning-derived BrC observed during the haze episode in the Southeast Asian region are susceptible to significant degradation in light absorptivity during regional transport. The second part will present laboratory observations that shows the dynamic impacts of relative humidity on secondary BrC formation in aqueous-phase upon fast droplet evaporation that is relevant to atmospheric cloud processing. The potential effects of anthropogenic-biogenic interactions on secondary BrC formation via aqueous-phase processing will be also discussed.
Biography: Alex Lee is a Research Scientist in Air Quality Research Division at Environment and Climate Change Canada (ECCC). Alex obtained his PhD in Chemical Engineering at the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology, and pursued his postdoctoral research at the University of Toronto. Before joining ECCC, Alex was an Assistant Professor in the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering at the National University of Singapore. His is particularly interested in investigating aerosol properties and compositions that are relevant to climatic and health impacts. His recent research focuses on optical properties of black and brown carbon, particle-bound reactive oxygen species and its potential linkage to human health, and characterization of micro/nanoplastic in airborne particles.
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Patrick Lee, Associate Professor
Department of Mechanical & Industrial Engineering, University of Toronto
Abstract: Most new polymeric products contain two or more polymers and/or functional additives resulting in desired properties contributed from each component. Recently, our group is focusing on creating hierarchically structured hybrid composites and coextruded micro-/nano-layered structures to tune the material properties. In this presentation, an approach will be presented to develop synergy-induced hierarchically structured Polypropylene (PP)-based hybrid composites, reinforced with Graphene Nanoplatelets (GnP) and Glass Fibers (GF), capable of achieving advanced properties and functionalities. These advanced multifunctional hybrid composites can be tailored for a variety of high-performance applications by exploiting the mechanisms governing the synergistic effect. In this hierarchical system, the GnPs (i.e., nano-sized filler) are chemically and electrostatically attached to the GFs (i.e., micro-sized filler), favoring load transfer at the interface, while simultaneously enhancing the crystalline microstructure of the PP matrix. Furthermore, the volume exclusion effect induced by the GFs, promotes the formation of GnP-based conductive networks. Strategically controlling the reinforcement concentrations has been proven to directly influence the magnitude of these mechanisms, effectively enhancing the synergistic effect, thereby allowing the mechanical, electrical, and thermal conductive properties of these advanced hybrid composites to be tailored based on their application.
Secondly, a fundamental and experimental investigation of cell nucleation and growth mechanisms in advanced Micro-/Nano-Layered (MNL) polymeric structures with alternating film and foam layers will be discussed. Foams can be prepared from any type of plastic by introducing a gas or supercritical fluid (SCF) within the polymer matrix. The applications of microcellular plastics containing billions of tiny bubbles less than 10 microns in size have broadened due to the lightweight characteristics, excellent strength-to-weight ratios, superior insulating abilities, energy absorbing performances, and the comfort features associated with plastic foams, as well as their cost-effectiveness and cost-to-performance ratios. We found that the cell nucleation and growth phenomenon in MNL systems are governed by the synergy of two categories of parameters: morphological parameters (i.e., film and foam layer thicknesses and the number of layer interfaces) and material parameters (i.e., material stiffness and compatibility with neighboring layers). The presence of adjacent film layers can significantly increase cell density through three mechanisms: promoting heterogeneous cell nucleation, preventing cell deterioration, and confining cell growth. The influence of film layers varied in different layer thickness regions and interface densities, where stiffer and more compatible film layers produced higher cell densities.
Biography: Dr. Lee is an Associate Professor in the Department of Mechanical & Industrial Engineering at the University of Toronto. He received his B.Sc. degree in Mechanical Engineering from the University of British Columbia, and then obtained his M.A.Sc. and Ph.D. in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Toronto in 2001 and 2006, respectively. Then he pursued Postdoctoral study in the Department of Chemical Engineering and Materials Science at the University of Minnesota. Dr. Lee began his professional career at The Dow Chemical Company in 2008. He was a Research Scientist and Project Leader in Dow’s Research and Development organization. Dr. Lee joined the Department of Mechanical Engineering at The University of Vermont as an assistant professor in 2014. Since joining UVM, he created his own research platform on the lightweight and smart composite structures. He joined the Department of Mechanical and Industrial Engineering at The University of Toronto starting July 1st, 2018.
Dr. Lee’s research areas focus on processing and characterization, and processing-structure-property relationships of hybrid nano-composites and foams. He has 84 journal papers, over 100 refereed conference abstracts/papers, 5 book chapters, and 20 filed/issued patent applications. He is the PI or co-PI on domestically and internationally awarded grants from various government agencies and industries. Among his honors, Dr. Lee received the G.H. Duggan Medal from Canadian Society for Mechanical Engineering (CSME) in 2020, the AKCSE Early Achievement Award in 2019, the US National Science Foundation Early Faculty Career Development Award (NSF CAREER) in 2018, the Polymer Processing Society (PPS) Morand Lambla award in 2018, the Hanwha Advanced Materials Non-Tenured Faculty Award in 2017, and 3 best paper awards from the Society of Plastics Engineer (2005, 2 in 2011).
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Meeting ID: 210 388 735 276
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Professor of Wood Technology
Department of Materials and Environmental Technology,
Tallinn University of Technology
Abstract: Cellulose, as the most common bio-polymer in the world, is an important resource for replacing fossil-based plastics. Cellulose is not intrinsically thermoplastic and must be chemically modified to achieve melting behaviour, expected by the plastics processing industry. The cellulose modification methods known so far are resource- and energy-intensive. This stimulates development of more sustainable routes. Therefore, TalTech is devising and demonstrating novel, sustainable esterification routes for preparing thermoplastic fatty acid cellulose esters (FACEs). Sustainability is ensured by minimizing the impact of the esterification agents, dissolution environment and modification methods. The cellulose esterification processes are based on chemically modified plant oils, new protonic ionic liquids, catalytic effects and the mechanochemical effect of reactive extrusion (REX). Certain components of the ionic liquids, the organic superbases can catalyze the esterification reactions. Plant oils and especially their production residues are valuable source of sustainable, fully bio-based esterification reagents. Their reactivity is improved by certain chemical modifications as well as catalytic and mechanochemical effects. The process can accept several primary or secondary sources of cellulose as dissolving pulp or microcrystalline cellulose. The study is accompanied by life cycle assessment of both production and products, including recycling of solvents and by-products, environmental durability of biopolymer films and recyclability. Research in REX experiments with a recently installed laboratory scale pilot-line is directed by project PI Prof. Andres Krumme.
Biography: Professor Jaan Kers has received his BSc and MSc. in production technology from Tallinn University of Technology (TalTech) followed by the doctoral degree in Mechanical Engineering, also from TalTech (2006). He has 6 years of work experience in the private sector and over 17 years in the Department of Materials and Environmental Engineering at TalTech. He leads the research group of wood and composite materials. He is teaching wood science, wood- based products technology and biobased composites and he is program director of international Master’s curriculum, Technology of Wood, Plastics and Textiles“. His current research interests are in the areas of wood technology, wood modification, densification and natural fibre bio-composite materials. He has over 70 publications.
Host: Professor D. Grant Allen, firstname.lastname@example.org; Please contact Professor Allen if you’d like to arrange a meeting with Professor Kers.
Teams Link Meeting ID: Meeting ID: 269 921 957 030