Pitt | Swanson Engineering

The Chemical and Petroleum Engineering department at the University of Pittsburgh Swanson School of Engineering was established in 1910, making it the first department for petroleum engineering in the world. Today, our department has over 40 expert faculty (tenure/tenure-stream/joint/adjunct), a host of dedicated staff, more than 20 state-of-the-art laboratories and learning centers, and education programs that enrich with strong fundamentals and hands-on experience.

Chemical engineering is concerned with processes in which matter and energy undergo change. The range of concerns is so broad that the chemical engineering graduate is prepared for a variety of interesting and challenging employment opportunities.

Chemical engineers with strong background in sciences are found in management, design, operations, and research. Chemical engineers are employed in almost all industries, including food, polymers, chemicals, pharmaceutical, petroleum, medical, materials, and electronics. Since solutions to energy, environmental, and food problems must surely involve chemical changes, there will be continued demands for chemical engineers in the future.

Mar
30
2015

Pitt designated an Innovation Corps Site by National Science Foundation

All SSoE News, Bioengineering, Chemical & Petroleum, Civil & Environmental, Electrical & Computer, Industrial, MEMS

UNIVERSITY OF PITTSBURGH NEWS RELEASE PITTSBURGH- The National Science Foundation (NSF) has designated the University of Pittsburgh as an NSF I-Corps site. The award, which supports innovation activities at select academic institutions, comes with a three-year, $300,000 grant to be used to advance innovation, commercialization, and entrepreneurship at Pitt. The University's Innovation Institute will manage the Pitt I-Corps site. (The "I" in I-Corps stands for "Innovation.") Through the I-Corps grant, 30 Pitt Innovator teams per year will receive $3,000 to participate in the Institute's Pitt Ventures program, which provides Pitt teams with hands-on commercialization and entrepreneurial education activities in partnership with entrepreneurs-in-residence, investors, and local business mentors. Pitt Innovator teams may use the $3,000 stipends for market research, customer-discovery analyses, and other development efforts.  "We're honored to receive this prestigious NSF award to support our commercialization efforts," says Marc Malandro, founding director of the Innovation Institute and associate vice chancellor for technology management and commercialization at Pitt. "This award builds on our efforts to instill a culture of innovation and entrepreneurship across the entire University, bringing together more faculty, staff, and student innovators with educators, mentors, and other community partners to advance our commercialization activities." The Innovation Institute's goals for the I-Corps program are to accomplish the following: Increase the number of entrepreneurially minded faculty, staff, and students at Pitt through education, training, and outreach-particularly among innovators from diverse backgrounds and underrepresented academic disciplines. Enhance a recently deployed commercialization process at Pitt that includes experiential learning and customer-discovery support for Pitt Innovator teams. Improve Pitt's connection to-and support of-the Pittsburgh region's entrepreneurial ecosystem in nurturing startup companies emerging from University innovations. "Through support provided by the I-Corps program, the University of Pittsburgh now will be able to develop an even deeper pipeline of commercialization opportunities from a broader group of innovators, further enhancing our impact on regional and national economic development," Malandro says. The Innovation Institute , launched in November 2013, serves as the hub of innovation commercialization and entrepreneurship activities at the University of Pittsburgh.   ###
Joe Miksch
Mar
30
2015

Pitt's Dean of Engineering Gerald Holder elected Chair of ASEE’s Engineering Dean’s Council Executive Board

All SSoE News, Chemical & Petroleum

PITTSBURGH (March 30, 2015) … Gerald D. Holder, PhD , US Steel Dean of Engineering at the University of Pittsburgh's Swanson School of Engineering, was elected chair of the Engineering Deans Council Executive Board of the American Society for Engineering Education (ASEE) . The two-year term from 2015-2017 will begin the evening of June 17, 2015, at the conclusion of the ASEE Annual Conference and Exposition in Seattle, Wash. and conclude at the end of the 2017 ASEE Annual Conference in Columbus, Ohio. Dean Holder succeeds Louis Martin-Vega, PhD , Dean of Engineering at North Carolina State University.  The Engineering Deans Council (EDC) is the leadership organization of the Engineering Deans in the United States and has 344 members, representing over 90 percent of all US Engineering Deans. The EDC sponsors an annual colloquium to review public policy issues that affect engineering education and encourages engineering deans to communicate with their congressional delegations regarding these issues. Public policy issues range from economic development and the engineering workforce, to support of federal agencies such as the National Science Foundation, National Institutes of Health and the Department of Defense. The council also supports a yearly dean's institute that focuses on issues such as curriculum development, enrollment and retention, diversity, faculty collaboration with industry and the globalization of engineering education. About Gerald  Holder Gerald D. Holder is U.S. Steel Dean of Engineering and Professor of Chemical Engineering at the Swanson School of Engineering at the University of Pittsburgh. He received his BA from Kalamazoo College and his BSE, MSE and PhD in Chemical Engineering from the University of Michigan. He has served on the faculties of Columbia University and subsequently the University of Pittsburgh. He has been Dean of the Swanson School since 1996 and has led a period of substantial growth in enrollment, student quality, and  faculty research. Dr. Holder was employed at corporations including Exxon, Gulf Oil and General Motors. Dr. Holder is a member of the American Society for Engineering Education (ASEE), the American Institute of Chemical Engineers (AIChE), the Society of Petroleum Engineering (SPE), the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), and the American Chemical Society (ACS), and also a Fellow of AAAS and AIChE.  He is a 2008 William Metcalf Awardee for lifetime contributions to the engineering profession and received the Board of Visitors Faculty Award and Meritorious Achievement in Research Award from the University of Pittsburgh.  He currently serves on the ASEE EDC Executive Board, and the ASEE EDC Public Policy Committee,.  He has served as a board member on the Catalyst Connection, Oak Ridge Associated Universities (ORAU), Three Rivers Connect, the Pittsburgh Applied Research Corporation, Council for Chemical Research, and currently serves on the Advisory Board of the Pittsburgh Coal Conference.  He has served on the National Academy of Science Review Panel on NSF Fellowships in Engineering, and as Chairman of the Organizing Committee for the 3rd International Conference on Gas Hydrates in Salt Lake City, Utah.  He is the author of more than 100 journal articles and has raised over $10 million in support of his research in the areas of high pressure thermodynamics and phase behavior, and in various aspects of energy research including synthetic fuels and natural gas hydrates.  AboutASEE Founded in 1893, ASEE is a nonprofit member association that strives for the advancement and expansion of engineering and technology education. ASEE members include more than 12,000 deans, professors, instructors, students and industry representatives nationwide. ###
Paul Kovach
Mar
23
2015

Catching and releasing tiny molecules

Chemical & Petroleum

Cambridge, Mass. - March 23, 2015 - Employing an ingenious microfluidic design that combines chemical and mechanical properties, a team of Harvard scientists has demonstrated a new way of detecting and extracting biomolecules from fluid mixtures. The approach requires fewer steps, uses less energy, and achieves better performance than several techniques currently in use and could lead to better technologies for medical diagnostics and chemical purification. The biomolecule sorting technique was developed in the laboratory of Joanna Aizenberg , Amy Smith Berylson Professor of Materials Science at Harvard School of Engineering and Applied Sciences (SEAS) and Professor in the Department of Chemistry and Chemical Biology . Aizenberg is also co-director of the Kavli Institute for Bionano Science and Technology and a core faculty member at Harvard's Wyss Institute for Biologically Inspired Engineering , leading the Adaptive Materials Technologies platform there. Computational modeling of the technique was performed by a University of Pittsburgh team including Anna C. Balazs , Distinguished Professor of Chemical Engineering and the Robert Von der Luft Professor; Olga Kuksenok , Research Associate Professor of Chemical and Petroleum Engineering; and postdoctoral researcher Ya Liu. The new microfluidic device, described in a paper appearing today in the journal Nature Chemistry, is composed of microscopic "fins" embedded in a hydrogel that is able to respond to different stimuli, such as temperature, pH, and light. Special DNA strands called aptamers, that under the right conditions bind to a specific target molecule, are attached to the fins, which move the cargo between two chemically distinct environments. Modulating the pH levels of the solutions in those environments triggers the aptamers to "catch" or "release" the target biomolecule. "Joanna's experimental design was extremely clever but its complicated mechanics were a computational challenge," Balazs said. "We had to develop a brand new model that incorporated all of the complex phenomena within their system, from the fins' selective interactions with the particles, the dynamically changing binding interactions and the movement of the particles from one fluid to another. We varied different parameters to develop predictions that enhanced the performance of their device, revealing it as a beautiful structure and effective structure. After using these computer simulations to test their novel approach, Aizenberg's team conducted proof-of-concept experiments in which they successfully separated thrombin, an enzyme in blood plasma that causes the clotting of blood, from several mixtures of proteins. Their research suggests that the technique could be applicable to other biomolecules, or used to determine chemical purity and other characteristics in inorganic and synthetic chemistry. "Our adaptive hybrid sorting system presents an efficient chemo-mechanical transductor, capable of highly selective separation of a target species from a complex mixture-all without destructive chemical modifications and high-energy inputs," Aizenberg said. "This new approach holds promise for the next-generation, energy-efficient separation and purification technologies and medical diagnostics." The system is dynamic; its integrated components are highly tunable. For example, the chemistry of the hydrogel can be modified to respond to changes in temperature, light, electric and magnetic fields, and ionic concentration. Aptamers, meanwhile, can target a range of proteins and molecules in response to variations in pH levels, temperature, and salt. "The system allows repeated processing of a single input solution, which enables multiple recycling and a high rate of capture of the target molecules," said lead author Ximin He, Assistant Professor of Materials Science and Engineering at Arizona State University and formerly a postdoctoral research fellow in Aizenberg's group at Harvard. Conventional biomolecule sorting systems rely on external electric fields, infrared radiation, and magnetic fields, and often require chemical modifications of the biomolecules of interest. That means setups can be used only once or require a series of sequential steps. In contrast, said Ankita Shastri, a graduate student in Chemistry and Chemical Biology at Harvard and a member of Aizenberg's group, the new catch-transport-and-release system "is more efficient-requiring minimal steps and less energy, and effective-achieving recovery of almost all of the target biomolecule through its continuous reusability." The authors say that the system could provide a means of removing contaminants from water-and even be tailored to enable energy-efficient desalination of seawater. It could also be used to capture valuable minerals from fluid mixtures. Other contributors to the work include Lynn M. McGregor and Yolanda Vasquez from Harvard University; Ya Liu, Amitabh Bhattacharya, Yongting Ma, and Olga Kuksenok from the University of Pittsburgh; Valerie Harris, Hanqing Nan, and Maritza Mujica from Arizona State University; and Michael Aizenberg from the Wyss Institute. The research was supported by the U.S. Department of Energy (DE-SC0005247). Image above: Capture and release of specific target biomolecules from an ingoing solution mixture in a microfluidic system occurs by the concerted, dynamic and reversible action of hydrogel volume change and aptamer bind-and-release through changes in solution pH. Credits: Image courtesy of Ankita Shastri and Ximin He. ###
Paul Karoff, Harvard School of Engineering and Applied Sciences
Mar
10
2015

Pitt scores in U.S. News Best Graduate Schools Guidebook

All SSoE News, Bioengineering, Chemical & Petroleum, Civil & Environmental, Electrical & Computer, Industrial, MEMS

UNIVERSITY OF PITTSBURGH NEWS RELEASE PITTSBURGH- In newly released statistics from U.S. News & World Report , a number of University of Pittsburgh schools and programs have excelled in the Best Graduate Schools 2016 guidebook. Pitt's School of Nursing is ranked no. 5 nationwide in an inaugural annual ranking of nursing schools that offer master's or doctorate programs. In nursing specialties, the school is no. 1 in the category of nurse anesthesia; no. 3 in clinical nurse leader; no. 3 in pediatric, primary care (tie); no. 5 in administration (tie); no. 5 in adult / gerontology, acute care (tie); and no. 5 in psychiatric / mental health, across the lifespan. Pitt's School of Medicine ranks no. 16 in the research category and no. 19 (tie) in the primary care category of the Best Medical Schools ranking. In medical specialties, Pitt is no. 4 in women's health. In new Health disciplines rankings, Pitt's master's and doctorate programs in public health in the Graduate School of Public Health are ranked no. 13, and the rehabilitation counseling program within the School of Health and Rehabilitation Sciences is no. 18 (tie). Among public universities, Pitt's graduate programs in education, engineering, and business are all ranked in the top 25. The School of Education is ranked no. 17 among public universities and no. 27 overall (tie); the Swanson School of Engineering is no. 24 among public universities and no. 43 overall (tie); and the Joseph M. Katz Graduate School of Business is No. 23 among public universities and No. 48 overall (tie). The School of Law advanced three spots to no. 78 overall (tie). It is ranked no. 42 among public universities. Individual departments within the Swanson School of Engineering ranked as follows: Bioengineering: 7 among publics, 16 overall (tie) Chemical and Petroleum: 24 among publics, 39 overall (tie) Civil Engineering: 35 among publics, 53 overall (tie) Computer Engineering: 30 among publics, 54 overall (tie) Electrical Engineering: 30 among publics, 52 overall (tie) Industrial Engineering: 15 among publics, 22 overall (tie) Materials Science: 35 among publics, 53 overall (tie)   ###  
Cara Masset
Jan
30
2015

Three Pitt faculty named 2015 Carnegie Science Award winners

All SSoE News, Bioengineering, Chemical & Petroleum

PITTSBURGH, Jan. 29, 2015- Three University of Pittsburgh faculty were among the winners of the 2015 Carnegie Science Awards, presented by Eaton, announced yesterday by the Carnegie Science Center. The program honors awardees from more than 15 categories, including Corporate Innovation, Emerging Female Scientist, Entrepreneur, and Leadership in STEM Education. These individuals and companies have distinguished themselves by making unparalleled contributions to science and technology in various disciplines. "The Carnegie Science Awards spotlight some of the most innovative minds today," said Ron Baillie, Henry Buhl, Jr., Co-Director of Carnegie Science Center. "These individuals are making a global impact starting with our own region. We know they are already inspiring a new generation of leaders." The Pitt awardees are: Advanced Materials Award Steven R. Little, PhD Associate Professor, CNG Faculty Fellow and Chair, Department of Chemical and Petroleum Engineering Secondary Appointments: Bioengineering, Immunology, Ophthalmology littlelab.pitt.edu Life Sciences Award Yadong Wang, PhD William Kepler Whiteford Professor of Bioengineering Secondary Appointments: Chemical Engineering, Mechanical Engineering and Materials Science, and Surgery biomaterialsfoundry.pitt.edu Catalyst Award Rory A. Cooper, PhD FISA/PVA Endowed Chair and Distinguished Professor of the Department of Rehabilitation Science and Technology, School of Health and Rehabilitation Sciences Secondary appointments: Bioengineering and Mechanical Engineering Director, Human Engineering Research Laboratories herl.pitt.edu Carnegie Science Center established the Carnegie Science Awards program in 1997 to recognize and promote outstanding science and technology achievements in western Pennsylvania. Celebrating its 19 th year, Carnegie Science Awards have honored the accomplishments of more than 400 individuals and organizations that have improved lives through their commitment and contributions in science and technology. "One of our central missions is to promote education in science, technology, engineering, and math - or STEM," said Ann Metzger, Henry Buhl, Jr., Co-Director of Carnegie Science Center. "The Carnegie Science Awards winners exemplify the highest levels of success in STEM fields and in STEM education. We are proud to recognize these outstanding awardees and look forward to their continued contributions." Eaton has supported Carnegie Science Awards for more than a decade as presenting sponsor. Chevron is the Awards' prime sponsor, and Kennametal is associate sponsor. "Eaton is proud to be a part of this vibrant community of science leaders and educators who continue to help position our region among the foremost technology and energy innovation centers in the world," said Ruppert Russoniello, president, Circuit Protection Division, Eaton, and Carnegie Science Awards Event Chair. "These awardees are helping us to build a future that promises to be healthier, smarter, and more prosperous for us all, which is why we offer our congratulations and our thanks." Awardees will be honored during a formal celebration at Carnegie Music Hall in Oakland on Friday, May 8, 2015. Three student winners, who will be selected at the Science Center's 76th annual Pittsburgh Regional Science & Engineering Fair, also will be recognized. WINNERS: Advanced Manufacturing - Michael Podobnik, Teletrix Corporation Advanced Materials - Steven R. Little, PhD, University of Pittsburgh Swanson School of Engineering Catalyst - Rory A. Cooper, PhD, Human Engineering Research Laboratories Corporate Innovation - Aesynt Elementary Educator - Jenna Whitney, South Allegheny Elementary School Middle Level Educator - Julie Allison, Beaver Area School District High School Educator - Graig Marx, Winchester Thurston School Leadership in STEM Education - Marijke Hecht, Pittsburgh Parks Conservancy University / Post-SecondaryEducator - David Brumley, PhD, Carnegie Mellon University, CyLab University / Post-SecondaryStudent - Danielle Chirdon, Carnegie Mellon University Emerging Female Scientist - Shirley Ho, PhD, Carnegie Mellon University, Department of Physics Start-Up Entrepreneur - Ananya Cleetus, Magikstra / Upper St. Clair High School Entrepreneur - Jesse Schell, Schell Games Environmental - Jeanne M. VanBriesen, PhD, PE, Carnegie Mellon University, Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering Information Technology - Luis von Ahn, PhD, Duolingo Life Sciences - Yadong Wang, PhD, University of Pittsburgh Swanson School of Engineering Science Communicator - Kathleen Knauer, The Allegheny Front   HONORABLE MENTIONS: Corporate Innovation - Rhiza, Inc. Elementary Educator - Michele Thomas, Kiski Area School District High School Educator - Volunteer Advisors of the Seneca Valley High School, Seneca Valley School District Leadership in STEM Education- David Brumley, Carnegie Mellon University, CyLab University Student - Sarah Kochanek, Duquesne University Emerging Female Scientist - Fabrisia Ambrosio, PhD, University of Pittsburgh, Dept. of Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation Start-Up Entrepreneur - Robb Myer, NoWait Entrepreneur - Susan & Eric Koger, ModCloth Environmental - Ronald Gdovic, WindStax Wind Power Systems   For more information about Carnegie Science Awards, visit CarnegieScienceCenter.org .   About Carnegie Science Center Carnegie Science Center is dedicated to inspiring learning and curiosity by connecting science and technology with everyday life. By making science both relevant and fun, the Science Center's goal is to increase science literacy in the region and motivate young people to seek careers in science and technology. One of the four Carnegie Museums of Pittsburgh, the Science Center is Pittsburgh's premier science exploration destination, reaching more than 700,000 people annually through its hands-on exhibits, camps, classes, and off-site education programs. About Carnegie Museums of Pittsburgh Founded by Andrew Carnegie in 1895, Carnegie Museums of Pittsburgh is a collection of four distinctive museums dedicated to exploration through art and science: Carnegie Museum of Art, Carnegie Museum of Natural History, Carnegie Science Center, and The Andy Warhol Museum. Annually, the museums reach more than 1.2 million people through exhibitions, educational programs, outreach activities, and special events. ###

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