Welcome to the Spring 2016 Purdue Chemical Engineering Newsletter!
It is with great satisfaction that I start this newsletter by telling you about
Dr. Nancy Ho’s 2016 National Medal of Technology and Innovation Award,
which she’ll receive this May from President Obama at the White House.
We could not be prouder of this accomplishment as she has developed the
most successful yeast currently available for the production of ethanol from
cellulosic feedstock. You can read more about this on page 8.
This year marks a historic milestone for Purdue ChE – we have the highest
enrollment in our graduate program, with 151 graduate students. At 591
students, the undergraduate sophomore-senior numbers are also among
the highest we have experienced; it was only after the World War II and in the
mid-1990s that the UG enrollment was above 600. In Fall 2015 we launched
the ChE Professional Master’s Program and we are currently in full recruiting
mode for the 2016-17 cohort, planning to attract as many as 25 students.
Our research programs are pushing the boundaries of knowledge more than ever. Bryan Boudouris won a 2016
CAREER grant from the National Science Foundation for his work on "Advanced Molecular Architectures for
Electronically-Active Radical Polymers," (page 10); Raj Gounder also won a CAREER grant for his project titled
"Synthesis Methods to Control Framework Aluminum Distribution in Zeolites for NOx Pollution Abatement
Catalysis" (Page 12); Vilas Pol is perfecting a new technology to convert packing peanuts to battery components
(page 14); and Sangtae Kim just solved a 140-year old fluid mechanics enigma (page 16). What could be more
diverse, innovative and exciting than studying and working every day with this group of talented people?
After serving as the School Head since January 2004, effective August 1, 2016 I will step down from this
position and continue in ChE by focusing on research and teaching activities. I am pleased that Sangtae Kim
joined the School leadership team as Associate Head last Fall and will help with the transition. The School is
seeking applications and nominations for the Jay and Cynthia Ihlenfeld Head of Chemical Engineering. The full
advertisement can be viewed and applications submitted at https://engineering.purdue.edu/Engr/AboutUS/
Employment/Applications. Screening started on January 1, 2016, and will continue until the position is filled.
The past 12 years have been filled with challenges, opportunities, and wonderful results. I am honored to have
been at the helm of this program during this period.
I invite you to stop by and witness all that is happening in Chemical Engineering at Purdue!
R. Games Slayter Distinguished Professor
Jay and Cynthia Ihlenfeld Head of Chemical Engineering
MESSAGE FROM THE HEAD