Michigan Chemical Engineering Summer 2020  Special Edition eNews
Summer 2020 | SPECIAL EDITION eNews

From the Chair's desk

Over the past three months, COVID-19 has made us re-evaluate and rethink how we teach, collaborate and communicate. 

Classes moved online, much of our research was conducted remotely, and longstanding traditions, including our graduate student recruitment visit and annual Senior Banquet for our undergraduate students, moved to virtual formats.

Yet even as everything around us changed, a constant remains: our community's strength, compassion, and commitment to supporting our students and one another. 

In this e-newsletter, we are sharing a few of the many inspiring examples of our community's ingenuity in these uncertain times. 

But first, I also want to acknowledge  the  disparities in numbers of COVID-19 cases and deaths between Black and white communities in our country: another reminder  of the gross and continuing racial inequities in our country when it comes to healthcare, resources and opportunities. 

ChE stands united against racism. ChE proudly stands  with the Black Lives Matter movement, as I shared with our community, and now with each of you, in a statement following the murder of George Floyd, who at the time I wrote my message was only the  latest in a seemingly endless string of horrific, senseless deaths of a Black person.  

I am so proud of how our department has come together (with proper social distancing) to join in the protests--each in our own way --and to also  bring some relief and resources to our frontline healthcare workers. I look forward to sharing more Michigan ChE innovations as we continue to work together in new ways to address society's most pressing challenges.  

Wishing you and your family good health,
Sharon C. Glotzer
Anthony C. Lembke Department Chair of Chemical Engineering

Congratulations to our 2020 Graduates!

Virtual celebrations 

Our Class of 2020 seniors have officially joined you as Michigan Chemical Engineering  alumni

Due to COVID-19 protective measures, longstanding graduation traditions like commencement and our department's annual Senior Banquet moved online. 

Also, a sincere thanks to each of you who shared videos and words of advice and encouragement with our Class of 2020 graduates. Follow the link to watch the final compilation as well as a video of our faculty congratulating our newest alumni members.
Teaching and Learning Online

The new classroom

Since March 16, all U-M classes have been taught remotely using a variety of alternative formats. ChE faculty and their student instructors continued classes by recording lectures, meeting with students online for office hours, posting exams online, and creating virtual forums for the students to give their final presentations.
Photo: ChE 460 presentation

Remote Graduate Recruiting 

Graduate recruiting goes online
This year's prospective graduate students experienced Michigan Chemical Engineering from an entirely new vantage point: entirely online.

The Chemical Engineering Communication team sat down, virtually, with our four graduate student co-chairs to discuss all aspects of planning and hosting the department's first all-virtual recruitment visit, from building  two completely unique agendas to their team's foray into filmmaking and one team member's potential budding influencer career.

Grad Students Share Their Stories

Grad students discuss life away from the lab 

"I think this is a good break to focus on yourself and make sure you're staying healthy," says ChE PhD student Reginald "Reggie" Evans.  

As a part of Michigan Engineering vlogging series, #GradStudentExplains, Evans and ChE graduate student Christina Rice join four other U-M Engineering students  in a video  to explain how they adjusted to changes required under COVID-19 protective measures.

2020 Faculty Search 

Four new faculty to join ChE  

We are pleased to announce that four faculty candidates have accepted assistant professor positions in the department!  The faculty hiring process moved online in mid-March as most of the university's usual operations paused to help "flatten the COVID-19 curve." 
Photo:   Mark Burns asks a question  during a Q&A session with a faculty candidate.

The science behind COVID-19

Just the facts: Alumnus explains COVID-19

Alumnus Liam Casey (PhD '19), a post doc in Professor Lonnie Shea's lab and lecturer in the BME department, developed a presentation to explain the science behind COVID-19. He designed his talk to communicate the science to a broad audience to help people to better scrutinize the information that they get from the Internet and media.

Innovative help for hospitals

Alumna shares ventilator fix

As Detroit emerged as one of the nation's COVID-19 "hotspots", Dr. Charlene Babcock (BSE '82) recorded a video on how to ventilate up to four patients with one ventilator. The method, which she developed with a colleague in 2006, has been used with COVID-19 patients in New York and Italy. Several news outlets, including  The New York Times Detroit Free Press   and  Michigan Radio shared her method.
ChE Donates PPE supplies 

Lab supplies to area hospital

Several ChE labs answered the call from Michigan Medicine for  personal protection equipment (PPE) to protect its health care workers and patients. Collectively, ChE donated nearly 10,000 gloves along with masks, gowns, and shoe and bouffant covers to medical centers to help keep workers safe through this crisis. 
Gifts for the University Community 

Give to emergency funds for students, faculty & staff

Does your organization have internship or full-time opportunities not shared with our Engineering Career Resource Center? 
Let us know.

COVID Research Highlights
Treating acute inflammatory disease
With acute lung injury, white blood cells exacerbate the problem by breaking down vascular barriers to the lung and encouraging the growth of bacteria. A unique polymer-drug system is being designed in  Lola Eniola-Adefeso's lab  to seek out white blood cells (leukocytes) at specific disease sites.
Profiling COVID-19 immune responses and developing a vaccine
The most serious symptoms of #COVID19 are related to overactive immune responses. Associate Professor Fei Wen is  working on a vaccine using virus-like particles but also collaborating with doctors at  Michigan Medicine  to understand the details of immune responses at the cellular level. 

U-M spinoff offers free coronavirus test kits
Arbor Biosciences is providing free kits to researchers to capture the genetic code of virus samples. Professor Erdogan Gulari and Jean-Marie Rouillard, an assistant research scientist in the department, co-founded the  company in 2005 to  pursue a better method for synthesizing DNA that they had developed in Gulari's lab.

Containment efforts appear to step down the spread of COVID-19 
Deaths in China reflect a slower expansion of the new coronavirus, suggesting a fractal network. Anna Ziff, a PhD student in economics at Duke University, conducted the research with her father, ChE Professor Robert Ziff.

Local company  makes  face shields 
Among the business-sector mass production efforts is Akervall Technologies, best known for manufacturing SISU mouthguards. Johannes Schwank, the James and Judith Street Professor of Chemical Engineering at U-M, is the Chief Scientific Officer at Akervall.

Explore other U-M research on the coronavirus pandemic

U-M engineers, doctors, public health experts, scientists and economists have connected  virtually to start new projects, or adapt their existing work, to address many aspects of the global health crisis.

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