This year's gift from BP allowed the department to award four BP International
Scholarships to CBE undergraduates to help support the cost of a semester abroad, and one fellowship to a third-year graduate student. This fall semester, Alesia Cassanova, a fourth-year undergraduate, received a BP scholarship to study at the Instituto Tecnológico de Buenos Aires in Argentina, and James Buchen, also a fourth-year student, studied at Nanyang Technological University in Singapore. This spring semester, Dixon Halim, a junior, will study at Nanyang Technological University; and Zack Genthe, a junior, will study at Monash University in Melbourne, Australia. Kushal Sinha, a graduate student in Mike Graham's group, was awarded a BP Fellowship to support his work in the field of computational fluid dynamics (CFD) for multiphase flow problems, particularly the application of CFD to the understanding of some important problems in flow of blood in the microcirculation.
This year's Air Products Fellowship was awarded to Luo Ji, a graduate student in Jim Rawlings' group, who is studying performance assessment in model predictive control and state estimation in nonlinear systems.
This year's iGEM team included CBE undergraduates Xiong Xiong (standing at left), Yaming Jiang (seated at left in the oversized sunburst chair), John Defriel (standing right of the chair) and faculty advisor Brian Pfleger (in the rear). (View
UW-iGEM team invited to world finals
his fall, an interdisciplinary team of UW-Madison undergraduates attended the international Genetically Engineered Machines (iGEM) Americas Regional Jamboree in Indianapolis, where 58 teams from the US, Canada, Mexico, and South American countries presented research projects that applied synthetic biology to global problems such as health, environment, sustainability, and energy. With support from three UW centers (GLBRC, MRSEC and NSEC), the 2011 UW-iGEM team investigated the use of biosensors to quantify the presence of biofuels.
By coupling two-component regulatory systems with a red fluorescent protein, the team was able to observe red fluorescence in cells exposed to ethanol and alkanes, albeit with a suboptimal dynamic range. To improve the biosensors, the team constructed an operon of genes that could be used in an iterative, selection/counterselection process. They are currently optimizing this protocol and plan to use the system to improve the ability of their E. coli-based biosensors. Once built, they plan to apply their biosensors to screening mutant libraries for cells that produce elevated levels of alkanes and/or ethanol.
At the meeting, the team presented their research in a 20-minute oral format and as a poster. Their work was awarded one of 23 gold medals and earned them one of 26 invitations to the world finals, which took place at MIT in November.
Graduate students Collin Timm, Emily Voigt and Ankur Gupta, visiting scientist Musarat Ishaq, and their major professors John Yin and Jim Rawlings received one of three poster prizes for their poster, "Virus-host interactions: an experimental and modeling approach," at the 12th International Conference on Systems Biology held in August in Heidelberg/Mannheim, Germany. Emily prepared the poster, one of about 600 presented, and represented the group at the conference.
Carrie Farberow, CBE graduate student and an NSF graduate fellow, earned a poster award at the summer school, "Energy and Materials from the Sun," held in Kerkrade, The Netherlands, for her work with Manos Mavrikakis. Her award-winning poster was on "Reduction of nitric oxide by hydrogen on platinum catalysts: High-coverage chemistry in heterogeneous catalysis," and competed successfully among more than 100 posters.
For his poster, "Segregation in flowing binary mixtures of elastic capsules," CBE postdoctoral fellow Amit Kumar in the Graham group received a best-poster award in the fluid mechanics division during the AIChE annual meeting in October. Amit's work uses simulations and theory to gain an understanding of the motions of cells and other particles during blood flow in small vessels. His work is relevant for the design of nanoparticles for drug delivery as well as for methods to separate different kinds of cells or particles from one another.
Joe Samaniuk, a graduate student in the Klingenberg group, won the award for best poster at the 83rd Annual Meeting of the Society of Rheology in Cleveland for his poster titled, "A rapid, inexpensive technique for measuring the rheological properties of yield stress fluids."
Also at the Minneapolis Annual Meeting of the AIChE, Sara Zenner, a graduate student in the Maravelias group, gave an invited presentation in the plenary session of the Computing and Systems Technology (CAST) division. Her talk was titled, "Classification of chemical production scheduling problems and approaches, and a general solution framework." Another Maravelias student, Carlos Henao, received a CAST student travel award to attend the meeting.