Valla Accepts Two New Positions with UConn and the USDA

Ioulia A. VallaCongratulations to Professor Julia Valla on accepting two new positions!

Prof. Valla has joined USDA-NIFA as a Special Advisor Panel Manager and UConn College of Engineering as the Director of Graduate Studies Programs. In her new roles, she will facilitate the review panels for Partnership, SEED, and Standard proposals and enhance graduate student recruitment and engagement. We look forward to seeing the positive impact she will bring to these roles.

Read more on UConn Center for Clean Energy Engineering News.

Bollas Appointed as the New Associate Dean of Research for the College of Engineering

Warmest congratulations to Professor George Bollas on his appointment as the next Associate Dean of Research for the College of Engineering. Dr. Bollas currently serves as the Pratt & Whitney Endowed Chair Professor in Advanced Systems Engineering and the Director of the Pratt & Whitney Institute for Advanced Systems Engineering at UConn.

Dr. Bollas earned his BS and PhD in Chemical Engineering from Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, followed by a postdoctoral fellowship at MIT. His research spans energy technology, process systems engineering, and model-based systems engineering, focusing on optimizing cyber-physical systems crucial for the energy, chemical, and aerospace industries.

Under his leadership, the Pratt & Whitney Institute secured over $60M in research funding and doubled industry partner participation, enhancing educational programs that blend academic rigor with practical applications. His accolades include the NSF CAREER Award and the ACS PRF Doctoral New Investigator Award, and he was elected to the Connecticut Academy of Science and Engineering in 2020.

We are confident that Dr. Bollas’s forward-thinking approach and established leadership will significantly boost our research capabilities and academic achievements.

Shor Appointed as the New Dean of the Graduate School and Vice Provost for Graduate Education

Warmest congratulations to Professor Leslie Shor on her appointment as the next Dean of the Graduate School and Vice Provost for Graduate Education at the University of Connecticut.

Dr. Shor, a Centennial Term Professor of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering, has been a valued member of the UConn community for nearly 15 years. She will be joining the Provost’s Office from the College of Engineering, where she has served for five years as Associate Dean for Research and Graduate Education. In this role, Dr. Shor has significantly increased PhD applications and external research funding while expanding professional development opportunities and support for graduate students and faculty.

Dr. Shor earned her Ph.D. and M.S. degrees in Chemical and Biochemical Engineering from Rutgers University and a B.A. in Environmental Science and Chemistry from the University of Virginia. Her leadership has been pivotal in creating initiatives that bridge various disciplines, fostering a collaborative environment that enhances both educational quality and research innovation.

We look forward to the continued growth and success of our graduate programs under Dr. Shor’s leadership.

Read the Official Announcement from the Office of the Provost.

Laurencin Inducted at the Plastics Hall of Fame Ceremony

Warmest congratulations to Professor Cato Laurencin on his remarkable achievement of being inducted into the prestigious Plastics Hall of Fame. This honor recognizes his pioneering contributions to the field of regenerative engineering, where he has revolutionized the use of polymeric materials in developing cutting-edge medical devices, biologics, and pharmaceuticals. Prof. Laurencin’s groundbreaking work has transcended traditional boundaries, improving the lives of countless individuals worldwide.

Prof. Laurencin’s remarkable achievements have garnered significant acclaim, including the prestigious National Institute of Health Director’s Pioneer Research Grant Award and the National Science Foundation’s Emerging Frontiers in Research and Innovation Award. His innovative use of polymeric materials for tissue regeneration, drug delivery systems, and other medical applications has established him as a leader in the field. Prof. Laurencin is also the first engineer-scientist-surgeon to be elected to the National Academy of Sciences, the National Academy of Engineering, the National Academy of Medicine, and the National Academy of Inventors.

Read more on UConn Today.

McCutcheon Awarded the Inaugural North American Membrane Society Permeance Prize

Warmest congratulations to Professor Jeffrey McCutcheon for being selected as the recipient of the inaugural North American Membrane Society (NAMS) Permeance Prize! This prestigious award recognizes mid-career faculty for their exceptional contributions to the field of membrane science and technology. 

Read more on Professor McCutcheon’s journey on UConn Today.

UConn Brewing Innovation Teams Up with Two Roads Brewing for Exclusive Brew Release

Jennifer Pascal

Following the resounding success of the first can release with Kinsmen Brewing Co, our two senior design teams, guided by the expertise of Professor Jenn Pascal, are gearing up for another unforgettable collaboration. This time, they are joining forces with Two Roads Brewing, one of Connecticut’s most esteemed breweries, for an exclusive launch event that promises to be nothing short of extraordinary. This is a moment to celebrate the spirit of innovation and community, where the art of brewing meets the science of chemical engineering.

📆 Mark your calendar: Wednesday, April 17, 2024
🕒 Time: 6:00 pm – 8:00 pm
📍 Location: Two Roads Brewing Company, 1700 Stratford Ave, Stratford, CT 06615

Join us at the 1881 Series: UConn Brewing Innovation and Can Release at Two Roads Brewing (Registration link on UConn Foundation Website).

American Chemical Society Holds Symposium in Honor of Professor Laurencin

Dr. Cato LaurencinThe American Chemical Society held the Kathryn C. Hach Award for Entrepreneurial Success Symposium on March 19th in honor of Dr. Cato T. Laurencin for his transformative work in regenerative engineering. The Hach Award acknowledges remarkable entrepreneurs who innovate and introduce novel products, services, companies, or industries using chemistry’s transformative potential to enhance lives and bolster economic growth.

Recognized as one of the top engineers also by AIChE, Dr. Laurencin’s contributions to bone regeneration and bioceramic implants have earned him prestigious awards, including the William Grimes Award and the Priestly Medal.

Read more on UConn Today

Willis is Harvesting Parts of Sunshine to Expand the Use of Sunlight

Using nanoscale antennas, Professor Brian Willis is harvesting parts of sunshine not currently being used, expanding the use of sunlight for energy and making clean – and climate friendly – energy more affordable.

At the heart of Prof. Willis’ research lies the utilization of nanoscale antennas, tiny structures capable of capturing and manipulating light at the smallest scales imaginable. These antennas act as miniature powerhouses, harvesting parts of sunlight that have traditionally gone unused. This unprecedented approach not only expands the efficiency of solar energy collection but also significantly enhances the affordability of clean energy solutions.

Check out this cool video highlighting his research and read more on UConn Today.

Bollas Selected for the Prestigious Fulbright Scholar Award

Warmest congratulations to Prof. George Bollas who has been selected for the Fulbright U.S. Scholar Award for 2024-2025. The Fulbright Program is devoted to increasing mutual understanding between the people of the United States and the people of other countries. The Fulbright Association is the world’s largest and most diverse international educational exchange program. The presidentially appointed 12-member Board of the Fulbright U.S. Scholar program is responsible for supervising the Fulbright Program worldwide and approving the selection of all Fulbright recipients.

In this Program, Prof. Bollas will investigate the end-to-end feasibility of ammonia as a fuel for the difficult-to-decarbonize transportation sectors, from the production energy and carbon footprint to its conversion and utilization. A key focus of his work will be to promote a novel method, invented recently with his Ph.D. student Laron Burrows, that leverages chemical loops of metal nitrides, hydrides, and imides for ammonia synthesis at atmospheric pressure in separate steps. A second focus area of Prof. Bollas’ work will be on ammonia cracking and power generation in fuel cells.

This scholarship will support a research partnership with the Chemical Process and Energy Resources Institute (CPERI) of the Centre for Research and Technology Hellas (CERTH).

Research Team Develops Hybrid Propulsion Commercial Electric Aircraft

Xiao-Dong ZhouThe groundbreaking research led by Professor Xiao-Dong Zhou has the potential to transform aviation, making it more sustainable and contributing to net-zero emissions. Funded by the prestigious ARPA-E program, his interdisciplinary research team is looking to develop a carbon-neutral energy storage and power generation system as an alternative for aircraft propulsion using High-Performance Metal-Supported Solid Oxide Fuel Cells (SOFCs).

Dive into the details and learn more about this transformative project on UConn Today