Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering at Illinois

Congratulations to winners of the Graduate Research Symposium

Congratulations to this year’s winners of the Graduate Research Symposium!

The annual research symposium for graduate students was held on Friday, October 27, 2017. The symposium allows graduate students to present their work in the form of either a poster or an oral presentation. James W. Westwater Professor Edmund Seebauer presented the awards.

In the poster competition, Charles Young won first place with “The Rheology of Semidilute Polymer Solutions.” Young is a member of Assistant Professor Charles Sing’s research group. Pei-Chieh Shih was awarded second place with “Iridium-based Pyrochlores for Efficient Oxygen Evolution Reaction in Acid.” Chieh is a member of Richard C. Alkire Professor Hong Yang’s research group.

Prof. Seebauer awards first place to Charles Young for the poster competition.
Prof. Seebauer awards first place to Charles Young for the poster competition.


Prof. Seebauer awards second place to Pei-Chieh Shih for the poster competition.

In the oral competition, Dylan Walsh won the first place award with “Topology Control of Bottlebrush Polymers.” Walsh is a member of Assistant Professor Damien Guironnet’s research group. Saurabh Shukla came in second with “How Multiple Molecular Motors Transport Cargo in Cells.” He is a member of Physics Professor Paul Selvin’s research group. Thao Ngo won third place with “Studying the Durability of Pt-based Electrocatalysts for Oxygen Reduction Reaction Using in situ X-ray Absorption Spectroscopy.” Ngo is a member of Dr. Yang’s research group.

Prof. Seebauer awards Dylan Walsh first place for the oral presentation.
Prof. Seebauer awards Saurabh Shukla second place for the oral presentation.
Prof. Seebauer awards Thao Ngo third place for the oral presentation.

Thanks to this year’s judges: Dr. Qingjun Meng (PhD ’04, Higdon) with BP; Dr. Meredith Sellers (PhD ’10, Seebauer) with Exponent Consulting; Dr. Josh Tice (PhD ’07, Kenis) with Scientific Device Laboratory; and Dr. Gregory Underhill, Assistant Professor of Bioengineering at the University of Illinois.

This year’s research symposium judges included Dr. Qingjun Meng, Dr. Josh Tice, and Dr. Meredith Sellars. Not pictured: Prof. Greg Underhill.

Dr. Qingjun Meng is currently the Simulation Team Lead in Refining Technology and Engineering of BP. He received his BS and MS in Chemical Engineering and Polymer Science from Tsinghua University in China.  He then joined the PhD program at Illinois and received his degree in 2004, under the supervision of Professor Jonathan Higdon. After graduation, he started his career at BP Petrochemicals Technology in Naperville, IL, and later on moved to Refining Technology and Engineering. Meng has been mostly involved in Computational Fluid Dynamics, process modeling in petrochemicals and refining, and operator training simulators.

Dr. Meredith Sellers is a Managing Engineer in the Materials and Corrosion Engineering Practice of Exponent, Inc. In her capacity as a technical consultant at Exponent, she aids clients with materials analysis and incident/accident investigation, particularly as they relate to oil and gas pipelines, chemical process safety, and integrated circuit fabrication. Her research expertise lies in the synthesis and characterization of nanostructured materials for microelectronics and energy storage devices. Sellers earned her BS from Cornell University and PhD in Chemical Engineering from Illinois. Prior to joining Exponent, she was a postdoctoral researcher at the U.S. Army Engineer Research and Development Center – Construction Engineering Research Laboratory (ERDC-CERL).

Dr. Joshua Tice received a BS in Chemistry from the University of Chicago in 2005 and a PhD in Chemical Engineering from the University of Illinois in 2012. During his time in academia, he focused on studying microfabrication and applications thereof – including chemical synthesis, diagnostics, and protein crystallization. After a year working at Intel, Dr. Tice took a position as a Product Development Engineer at Scientific Device Laboratory. There, he heads the R&D division, pushing to make microfluidic technology a commercial reality.

Dr. Gregory H. Underhill is an Assistant Professor of Bioengineering at the University of Illinois. Dr. Underhill received his PhD from Northwestern University, with his doctoral research focused on the mechanisms controlling the tissue recruitment of T lymphocytes and the functional characteristics of antibody secreting plasma cells. Dr. Underhill completed a postdoctoral fellowship in Dr. Sangeeta Bhatia’s laboratory at MIT, where he worked to develop and apply engineered cell culture platforms towards the study of cell functions. His current research is focused on studying cellular fate decisions, including the tissue development and engineering of the liver. These efforts are at the interface of cell and developmental biology, genomics, biomaterials, and microfabrication.