February 2018
NCERC Launches New Visiting Research Fellow Program with Four Recent STEM Graduates
We are excited to welcome NCERC’s 2018 Visiting Research Fellows, the first class in a new on-the-job training program for recent graduates of a bachelor’s or master’s program in a STEM field. Funded through a fiscal year 2018 appropriation from the State of Illinois to NCERC at SIUE, the Fellowship program provides training and hands-on experience to prepare the next generation of engineers and scientists for jobs in the bioeconomy.

The 2018 class includes four recent graduates with research interests in the bioeconomy and come from diverse backgrounds.
Matt Brandenburg
Whitney Friederich
Valmire Jusufi
Kyle Sonderman
Matt Brandenburg
My hometown is Edwardsville, IL and I graduated from the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign with a Bachelor of Science degree in Molecular and Cellular Biology in 2014. After beginning a stint with NCERC as extra help shortly after graduating, I worked as a research assistant at Washington University School of Medicine and Saint Louis University where I helped elucidate the mechanism of metabolism in cancer cells and explored differences in the immune response between adults and neonates. I hope to either work in quality control in industry in the near future or become a lab manager in either a production or academic setting.

Whitney Friederich
My name is Whitney, I am from Belleville IL. I graduated from Southern Illinois University Edwardsville in 2017 with my Bachelor’s in Chemistry. I started working at NCERC last summer. I enjoy broadening my knowledge in fermentation, analytical techniques and instrumentation. 

Valmire Jusufi
Hi, my name is Valmire (Val) Jusufi and I am from Maryville, IL. I recently graduated from SIU Edwardsville with my Bachelors of Science in Biology. While working at NCERC, I plan to broaden my quantitative analytical and data skills.

Kyle Sonderman
My hometown is Waterloo, IL and I recently graduated from SIU Carbondale in December 2017 with a Bachelor of Science in Biology. A major goal of mine is to try and make a difference in the world. 
The Fellows will apply specialized skills and knowledge to research projects, including contractual, grant-funded and self-initiated projects at the NCERC and will serve under the guidance of a team of mentors:  Dr. Yan Zhang, NCERC Director of Research,  Dr. Kevin Tucker, a Faculty Mentor who will work with the fellows to connect their research practicum to academic theory, and a team of NCERC administrative staff, engineers, and scientists who will oversee the students’ daily projects and provide professional mentorship.  
Projects
NCERC finished another corn-to-ethanol production run in our Pilot Plant for the TAACCCT grant (from Department of Labor). The trial provided a hands-on training for new students from Southern Illinois University Edwardsville and Lewis and Clark Community College, a Building Illinois Bioeconomy (BIB) Consortium partner.

NCERC developed a corn starch flask fermentation trial to evaluate the impact of yeast biomass growth on cellulose quantification in the fermentation drop samples.

NCERC collaborated with the Department of Chemistry at SIUE to identify and quantify nutritional compounds in corn to ethanol fermentation product using LC/MS/MS, and submitted abstracts to the annual meetings of the American Society of Mass Spectrometry, Distiller’s Grains Technology Council, and the International Fuel Ethanol Workshop.

NCERC continue to work on flask fermentation method optimization to lead the ASTM E48 task force.

NCERC is working with the Department of Chemistry at SIUE to hire an Assistant Professor of Fermentation as a joint faculty member between the two departments.
Proposals
The following proposal was sent to the National Science Foundation, Research Traineeship Program:

NRT-INFEWS Research Traineeship: A Track-Focused and Hands-On Graduate Education Program to Increase Resources and Innovation at the Nexus of the Food, Energy, and Water Systems (INFEWS) in America’s “Ag Coast
If funded by NSF, this NRT project will respond to a dramatic shortage (in both the quantity and the quality of professionals with advanced degrees capable of Innovation at the Nexus of Food, Energy, and Water Systems (INFEWS).


Two proposals were sent to the SIUE Innovation Fund call:

Lighting a SPARQ at SIUE: A Corporate Partnership for Research and Education Excellence
Through this proposal, NCERC and the Department of Chemistry seek to establish the Midwest Analytical Research and Education Collaborative (MAREC), an industry/academic collaboration to unearth the full potential of the Midwest’s rich resources through deeper analytical discovery.

Expanding SIUE’s Reach: A OneStop to Offer Integrated Support for Post-Traditional Students 
The innovation outlined in this proposal is a One Stop at SIUE that will offer increased, intensive, and integrated support for post-traditional students, will help solidify the regional perception of SIUE as an adult learner friendly institution, and thus will significantly expand SIUE’s reach.
Connections & Visits
NCERC Employee honored at RFA's National Ethanol Conference as Scholarship Winner
Christopher Wense was the 2018 student scholarship recipient to attend the conference in San Antonio on February 12-14.

His scholarship included the registration of the conference and networking opportunities with industry leaders.

He is currently pursuing a bachelor’s degree in Industrial Management and Applied Engineering at Southern Illinois University in Carbondale, IL.
Growth Energy Executive Leadership Conference
Boca Raton, FL
Feb 7-9

NCERC hosts NCGA Action Team
Feb 7

Renewable Fuels Association - National Ethanol Conference
San Antonio, TX
Feb 12-14

NCERC hosts Scientists from USDA and Leadership from NCGA, and ICGA to Discuss Commercialization of New Uses of Corn
Feb 20

Commodity Classic
Anaheim, CA
Feb 26-Mar 1

Advanced Bioeconomy Leadership Conference
Washington, DC.
Feb 28-Mar 2
Upcoming Meetings
National Corn Growers Association Corn Research Ideation Workshop
St. Louis, MO
Mar 27-30
National Corn-to-Ethanol Research Center (NCERC)
400 University Park Drive, Edwardsville, IL 62025
618-659-6737 | EthanolResearch.com