2022 Graduate Research Symposium

10/14/2022 Claire Benjamin

Written by Claire Benjamin

The Department of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering and the Graduate Student Advisory Council hosted the annual Graduate Research Symposium on October 14, 2022. Graduate students presented their work in the form of either a poster or an oral presentation. 

Research areas include a range of topics, such as nanotechnology, biotechnology, computational science, and energy applications. Invited judges are typically Illinois alumni from industry and academia who help us identify the best poster and oral presentations. The symposium also provides students with one-on-one opportunities to network with the judges.

The presentations were judged by a panel of alumni: Christopher Burcham (BS ’91), Executive Director of Engineering, Eli Lilly and Company; Ashlee N. Ford Versypt (MS ’09, PhD ’12)
Associate Professor, University at Buffalo, The State University of New York; Dale Kyser (PhD ’87) Retired; former vice President Research and Nutrition Sciences, MondelÄ“z International; and R. Mohan Sankaran Donald Biggar Willett Professor, University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign. Thank you to the organizers, participants, and judges for making this event possible. 

Congratulations to this year's winners, who were recognized at the Graduate and Alumni Awards Ceremony held that evening.


Poster Presentations


First place (tie)

Richa Ghosh (Flaherty Group) "Mechanistic insight into flow electrochemical alkene epoxidation kinetics over gold"

Jarom Sederholm (Braun Group) "Single-step electrochemical recovery and regeneration of cathode materials" 

Runner up (tie)

Melanie A. Brunet Torres (Kraft Group) "Depth correction of 3D NanoSIMS images show intracellular lipid and cholesterol distributions while capturing the effects of differential sputter rate"

Yash Laxman Kamble (Guironnet Group) "Precision of architecture controlled bottlebrush polymer synthesis: A Monte Carlo analysis"

Other Presenters

Aashutosh Boob
Design of diverse, functional mitochondrial targeting sequences across eukaryotic organisms using variational autoencoders

Ziqiu Chen
Polyethylene in dead-end silica nanopores: Forces and mobility from non-equilibrium statistical mechanics and EXSY NMR

Jiachun Shi, Understanding
DIW “printability” in terms of recovery rheology

Siying Yu
Control over particle size and uniformity of Pt-based nanoparticles in thermal treatment

Tianhao Yu
PENCiL: A contrastive learning framework for high-quality enzyme function prediction of understudied proteins


Oral Presentations


First place

Susannah Miller (Guironnet Group) "Novel encapsulated Pt catalyst"

Second place

Meng Zhang (Zhao Group) "Z-mRNA as an effective vaccine against SARS-CoV-2" 

Third place

Ryan Miller (Kong Group) "Extending the bioavailability of hydrophilic antioxidants for metal ion detoxification via crystallization with polysaccharide dopamine"

Oral Presenters

Roger Chang
Protein stabilization by alginate binding and suppression of thermal aggregation 

Soumajit Dutta
Computationally guided design of selective partial agonists for cannabinoid receptors

Jialing Li
Efficient intermolecular charge transport in π-Stacked pyridinium dimers using supramolecular complexes

Tsai-Wei Lin
Size and temperature effect on penetrant diffusion in dense crosslinked networks

Armin Shayesteh Zadeh
Crystal growth impedance from boundary layer transport, conformational interconversion, and dimerization kinetics

Chris Torres
Effects of confined solvent-surface interactions on alkene epoxidation catalysis in Ti-MFI


2022 Judging Panel

Christopher Burcham (BS ’91)
Executive Director of Engineering, Eli Lilly and Company

Christopher Burcham is a senior engineering advisor at Eli Lilly and Company, working in the small molecule design and development department within product research and development. Currently, he is the lead engineer responsible for the commercialization of a late-phase development project. He earned his doctorate in chemical engineering from Princeton University in 1998. He served as the department's convocation speaker in December 2017.

Ashlee N. Ford Versypt (MS ’09, PhD ’12)
Associate Professor, University at Buffalo, The State University of New York

Ashlee Ford Versypt is an associate professor in the Department of Chemical & Biological Engineering at the University at Buffalo, The State University of New York, where she leads the Systems Biomedicine and Pharmaceutics Laboratory. She has received a number of awards for her research, teaching, and service including an NSF CAREER Award, ASEE Chemical Engineering Division Fahien & Martin Awards, AIChE CAST Division Himmelblau Award, and AIChE’s 35 Under 35 Award. She earned her bachelor’s degree in chemical engineering from the University of Oklahoma. After graduating from Illinois, she completed a postdoc at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. She started her academic career at Oklahoma State University, where she was tenured in 2020. She is among the department's 2022 Alumni Award recipients. 

Dale Kyser (PhD ’87)
Retired; former vice President Research and Nutrition Sciences, Mondelēz International

Dale A. Kyser recently retired as the vice president of research and nutrition sciences at MondelÄ“z International, a global snacks foods leader with iconic brands such as Oreo, Cadbury, Milka, Chips Ahoy!, Trident, belVita, and Ritz. He began his career at Kraft Foods in 1987 and held a number of roles in the organization from upstream research to product commercialization. During his career, Kyser led the commercialization of a number of new technologies. He holds a bachelor's degree in chemical engineering from the Missouri University of Science and Technology. He is a past president of the Academy of Chemical Engineers at the Missouri University of Science and Technology. He served as the department's convocation speaker in December 2018. 

R. Mohan Sankaran 

Donald Biggar Willett Professor, University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign

R. Mohan Sankaran is the Donald Biggar Willett Professor of Nuclear, Plasma, and Radiological Engineering at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign. Previously, he was an associate professor of chemical engineering at Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland, Ohio. He is recognized for his work on atmospheric-pressure microplasmas and their application in nanomaterials synthesis. He has received several awards, including an NSF CAREER Award, the Air Force Office of Scientific Research's Young Investigator Program Award, the Camille Dreyfus Teacher-Scholar Award, and the American Vacuum Society's Peter Mark Memorial Award. He received his bachelor’s degree at the University of California at Los Angeles and his doctorate at the California Institute of Technology, both in chemical engineering. 

Share this story

This story was published October 14, 2022.