VCU-AIChE student chapter seeks your support!!

The VCU-AIChE student chapter ( seeks your support.
The Mission of the VCU AIChE Student Chapter Mission is to:

  1. To promote the professional development of its members by its programs and by its relations with other student chapters and with the parent body, the American Institute of Chemical Engineers
  2. To contribute to the development of chemical and life science engineering at VCU through activities involving industrial representatives, faculty and student members
  3. To provide the tools necessary so members become engaged in a process of lifelong learning and ongoing relationship with AIChE

If you would like to pledge your support, please click on links below:

2nd Annual Dr. Henry McGee Lecture in Chemical and Life Science Engineering

Dr. Joseph Desimone, from University of North Carolina Chapel Hill and North Carolina State University will present the 2nd Henry McGee lecture in Chemical and Life Science Engineering on March 23rd, 2011.
The lecture will be held in the Ethyl Auditorium, Engineering West Building, 12PM
Co-opting Moore’s Law: Vaccines, Medicines and Interfacially-Active Particles Made on a Wafer
In 1965, Gordon Moore, co-founder of Intel, described the trend that the number of components in integrated circuits had doubled every year since 1958. This trend has continued to today, enabled by advances in photolithography which has taken the minimum feature size of transistors down from about 10 microns in 1970 to 0.045 microns (45 nm) today. In biological terms, this corresponds to going from the size of a red blood cell to the size of a single virus particle! As such, this top-down nano-fabrication technology from the semiconductor industry is, for the first time, in the size range to be relevant for the design of medicines, vaccines and interfacially active Janus particles. This lecture will describe the design, synthesis and efficacy of organic nano- and micro-particles using a top-down nano-fabrication technique we developed called PRINT (Particle Replication in Non-wetting Templates). PRINT is a continuous, roll-to-roll, high resolution molding technique that allows the fabrication of precisely defined micro- and nano-particles in a continuous manner with control over chemical composition, size, shape, deformability and surface chemistry. Examples to be described will include the design of PRINT particles useful as vaccines (influenza, H1N1, pneumo), targeted chemotherapy agents, anti-bacterials, inhalation therapeutics and even as an entirely new class of particle-based surfactants
Dr. Joseph DeSimone
William R. Kenan Jr. Professor of Chemical Engineering
North Carolina State University
Chancellor’s Eminent Professor of Chemistry
University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
B.S., Ursinus College, 1986; Ph.D., Virginia Tech, 1990
Joseph DeSimone is the William R. Kenan Jr. Professor of Chemical Engineering at North Carolina State University and Chancellor’s Eminent Professor of Chemistry at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. DeSimone is also an Adjunct Member at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center in New York. DeSimone has published over 270 scientific articles and has over 115 issued patents in his name with over 120 patents pending.
In 2005, DeSimone was elected into the National Academy of Engineering and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. DeSimone has received 40 major awards and recognitions including the 2009 NIH Director’s Pioneer Award; the 2009 North Carolina Award, the highest honor the State of North Carolina can bestow to recognize notable achievements of North Carolinians in the fields of Literature, Science, the Fine Arts and Public Service; the $500,000 Lemelson-MIT Prize for Invention and Innovation; the 2008 Tar Heel of the Year by the Raleigh News & Observer; the 2007 Collaboration Success Award from the Council for Chemical Research; the 2005 ACS Award for Creative Invention; the 2002 John Scott Award presented by the City Trusts, Philadelphia, given to “the most deserving” men and women whose inventions have contributed in some outstanding way to the “comfort, welfare and happiness” of mankind; the 2002 Engineering Excellence Award by DuPont; the 2002 Wallace H. Carothers Award from the Delaware Section of the ACS; 2000 Oliver Max Gardner Award from the University of North Carolina, given to that person, who in the opinion of the Board of Governors’ Committee, “. . . during the current scholastic year, has made the greatest contribution to the welfare of the human race”.
Among DeSimone’s notable inventions is an environmentally friendly manufacturing process that relies on supercritical carbon dioxide instead of water and bio-persistent surfactants (detergents) for the creation of fluoropolymers or high-performance plastics, such as TeflonĀ®. In 2002, DeSimone, along with Dr. Richard Stack, a cardiologist at Duke, co-founded Bioabsorbable Vascular Solutions (BVS) to commercialize a fully bioabsorbable, drug-eluting stent. BVS was acquired by Guidant Corporation in 2003 and these stents are now being evaluated in a series of international clinical trials led by Abbott, enrolling over 1000 patients as of November 2009, for the treatment of coronary artery disease.
With the PRINT technology developed in the DeSimone lab, DeSimone’s group is now heavily focused on bringing the precision, uniformity and mass production techniques associated with the fabrication of nanoscale features found in the microelectronics industry to the nano-medicine field for the fabrication and delivery of vaccines and therapeutics for the treatment and prevention of diseases.
DeSimone recently launched Liquidia Technologies ( which now employs almost 50 people in RTP and has raised over $50 million in venture financing. DeSimone’s laboratory and the PRINT technology recently became a foundation for the new $20 million Carolina Center for Cancer Nanotechnology Excellence funded by the National Cancer Institute.
The Dr. Henry McGee Lectures in Chemical and Life Science Engineering are made possible by the Betty Rose and Henry McGee Endowment for Chemical Engineering, established by Dr. Henry McGee. The 2010 lecture is the inaugural lecture of the series, which will be held each year at the Virginia Commonwealth University School of Engineering. Details about Dr. Henry McGee can be found at

First “joint-chapter” AICHE meeting between VCU, UVA, and Hampton University’s chapters!!!

On Wednesday, February 9th, VCU’s AICHE chapter hosted the first joint-chapter meeting with Hampton University and UVA. At the meeting, chapters had a chance to discuss what each did at their respective schools and members got to meet one another. Future joint chapter meetings and events were planned out including a trivia game between chapters. If you are interested in participating in future AICHE events, join the VCU AICHE Facebook group, or contact Sudan Abdur-Rahman (

Aaron Pruett to to present CLSE seminar.. February 23rd, 2011

Mr. Aaron Pruett, Bioprocess Engineering, Drug Product Sciences Department, Human Genome Sciences, Rockville, MD will present the CLSE seminar on February 23rd, 2011.
This event is free and open to the public.
The seminar will be held in Room 401, Engineering West Building from 12:30PM-1:30PM. Refreshments will be served (12:15-12:30PM).
Process stress-based approaches to assessing process compatibility for pharmaceutical protein products
ABSTRACT: During fill/finish operations, proteins may be exposed to mechanical stresses including shear stress, air-liquid interface, and cavitation. Shear is often discussed in relation to pumping and filling, where proteins are also exposed to conditions in which cavitation may occur. In this study, experiments were conducted to gain a better understanding of the effect of cavitation versus shear on proteins. A monoclonal antibody solution was unaffected by exposure to high-shear and high air-liquid interface conditions. However, when exposed to high-speed pumping in a gear pump where cavitation was shown to occur, particles were generated and 0.22 micron filters became fouled. While this degraded material showed no increase in aggregation by size exclusion chromatography, increased turbidity and particulate matter was observed. The study allowed us to separately assess the effect of shear, cavitation, and air-liquid interface on generation of particulate matter and aggregation in order to identify relevant risks during manufacturing.
BIO: Aaron Pruett enrolled in VCU chemical engineering after working in semiconductor manufacturing. He received a BS degree in Chemical Engineering in 2003. He then worked as an engineer at Genentech in South San Francisco, CA in Pharmaceutical R&D from 2003 to 2007. From 2007 to the present, he has worked in the Drug Product Sciences Department at Human Genome Sciences in Rockville, MD. His current title is Bioprocess Engineer III. He is currently pursuing an MS in Biotechnology at Johns Hopkins University. His interests include protein formulation and stability, the formation/characterization of subvisible particles in protein solutions, and the interactions of protein in frozen aqueous solutions.

Dr. Ali Siamaki to present CLSE seminar.. February 9th, 2011

Dr. Ali Siamaki, Research Associate, CLSE, VCU will present the CLSE seminar on February 9th, 2011.
This event is free and open to the public.
The seminar will be held in Room 401, Engineering West Building from 12:30PM-1:30PM. Refreshments will be served (12:15-12:30PM).
Microwave Assisted Synthesis of Palladium Nanoparticles for Cross Coupling Reactions
ABSTRACT: Palladium-catalyzed cross-coupling reactions are of significant importance in organic synthesis and have been widely used for the assembly of complex organic molecules in pharmaceutical applications. These reactions have typically been performed under homogeneous conditions employing a ligand to enhance the catalytic activity and selectivity for specific applications. However, the issues associated with homogeneous catalysis remain a challenge to pharmaceutical synthesis due to the lack of recyclability and potential contamination from residual metals in the reaction product. We have recently developed an efficient method to generate highly active Pd nanoparticles supported on graphene by microwave assisted chemical reduction of the corresponding aqueous mixture of palladium salt and graphite oxide sheets. This catalyst demonstrated a remarkable catalytic activity for carbon-carbon cross coupling reactions (Suzuki, Heck, and Sonogashira) with a broad range of utility under ligand-free ambient conditions in an environmentally friendly solvent system. It also offers a remarkable turnover frequency (108,000 h-1) observed in the microwave assisted Suzuki cross coupling reactions with easy removal from the reaction mixture, recyclability with no loss of activity, and significantly better performance than the well known commercial Pd/C catalyst.
BIO: Dr. Ali Siamaki completed his doctoral degree in the lab of Bruce Arndtsen from McGill University. In his doctoral work, he focused on developing novel synthetic methodologies to generate biological and pharmaceutical active heterocyclic compounds from basic building blocks utilizing palladium catalyzed multicomponent coupling approaches. He also probed the versatility and utility of this process in construction of a wide range of imidazole containing molecules, as well as a potent inhibitor of p38 MAP kinase and anti-inflammant agent SB202190 via a so-called one-step transformation.
He joined VCU in 2008 and works in the group of Prof. Frank Gupton, where he focuses on syntheses, characterization and applications of novel heterogeneous nanoparticle catalysts for organic synthesis, in particular, cross coupling reactions. His research is directed towards developing more efficient, and recyclable catalysts that allow for industrial synthetic applications in both batch and continuous flow systems.