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Plenary Session

Monday, Oct. 7 • 8:15 - 9:30 AM ET • Harbour A & B

Abstract to come

Sharon C. Glotzer,

University of Michigan

Sharon C. Glotzer is the John W. Cahn Distinguished University Professor of Engineering and the Stuart W. Churchill Collegiate Professor of Chemical Engineering and Professor of Materials Science and Engineering at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, and also holds faculty appointments in Physics, Applied Physics, and Macromolecular Science and Engineering. Since July 2017 she is the Anthony C. Lembke Department Chair of Chemical Engineering at the University of Michigan. Her research on computational assembly science and engineering aims toward predictive materials design of colloidal and soft matter. Using computation, geometrical concepts, and statistical mechanics, her research group seeks to understand complex behavior emerging from simple rules and forces, and to use that knowledge to design new materials. Glotzer’s group also develops and disseminates powerful open-source software including the particle simulation toolkit, HOOMD-blue, which allows for fast molecular simulation of materials on graphics processors, the signac framework for data and workflow management, and freud for analysis and visualization. 

Glotzer received her Bachelor of Science degree in Physics from UCLA and her PhD in Physics from Boston University.  She is a member of the National Academy of Sciences, the National Academy of Engineering, and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. She is a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, the American Institute of Chemical Engineers, the American Physical Society, the Materials Research Society, and the Royal Society of Chemistry. Glotzer is the recipient of numerous awards and honors, including the 2019 Aneesur Rahman Prize for Computational Physics from the American Physical Society, the 2018 Nanoscale Science and Engineering Forum and the 2016 Alpha Chi Sigma Awards both from the American Institute of Chemical Engineers, and the 2019 Fred Kavli Distinguished Lectureship in Materials Science, 2017 Materials Communications Lecture Award and 2014 MRS Medal from the Materials Research Society. She is a two-time recipient of the Vannevar Bush Faculty Fellowship from the DoD and was a Simons Foundation Investigator from 2012-2022. Glotzer is currently a member of the Board of the National Academy of Sciences Division on Engineering and Physical Sciences.  

Assembly engineering of complex particle systems: Creating the materials of tomorrow by design and on demand.

From the Stone Age to the Bronze Age and the silicon age, what we achieve as a society depends on our ability to master materials. What materials will define humankind in the future? And what is the role of chemical engineering in realizing these materials? By combining advances in cross-cutting fields such as nanoscience, complex systems, network science, process engineering, biophysics, artificial intelligence and advanced manufacturing, exciting new technologies and solutions to humankind’s greatest challenges will be enabled not by a single material but by materials systems — integrated collections of materials building blocks that, by engineering their assembly, combine many properties and behaviors in ways not possible today. Just as the foundational chemical engineering subject of reaction engineering describes the processes by which reactants combine (through chemical reactions) to form products, assembly engineering describes the processes by which building blocks combine (through assembly) to form an organized materials system. Materials systems of the future will be made by design and on demand wherever and whenever they are needed, using readily available resources. Chemical engineers are positioned precisely at the nexus of all the disciplines, tools, technical approaches, and analytical thinking that will make this future possible.  

Plenary Session

Tuesday, Oct. 8 • 11:30 AM - 12:30 PM ET • Harbour A & B

Abstract to come

Andrés J. García, PhD

Georgia Institute of Technology

Andrés J. García is the Executive Director of the Petit Institute for Bioengineering and Bioscience and Regents’ Professor at the Georgia Institute of Technology. Dr. García’s research program integrates innovative engineering, materials science, and cell biology concepts and technologies to create cell-instructive biomaterials for regenerative medicine and generate new knowledge in mechanobiology. This cross-disciplinary effort has resulted in new biomaterial platforms that elicit targeted cellular responses and tissue repair in various biomedical applications, innovative technologies to study and exploit cell adhesive interactions, and new mechanistic insights into the interplay of mechanics and cell biology. In addition, his research has generated intellectual property and licensing agreements with start-up and multi-national companies. He is a co-founder of 3 start-up companies (CellectCell, CorAmi Therapeutics, iTolerance). He has received several distinctions, including the NSF CAREER Award; the Young Investigator Award, the Clemson Award for Basic Science, and the Founders Award from the Society for Biomaterials; the International Award from the European Society for Biomaterials; and Georgia Tech’s Outstanding Interdisciplinary Activities Award and the Class of 1934 Distinguished Professor Award. He is an elected Fellow of Biomaterials Science and Engineering (by the International Union of Societies of Biomaterials Science and Engineering), Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, Fellow of the American Society of Mechanical Engineers, and Fellow of the American Institute for Medical and Biological Engineering. He served as President for the Society for Biomaterials in 2018-2019. He is an elected member of the National Academy of Engineering, the National Academy of Medicine, and the National Academy of Inventors.

Plenary Session

Tuesday, Oct. 8 • 4:30 - 5:30 PM ET • Harbour A & B

Abstract to come

Grant Allen, PhD, FCIC

University of Toronto

To come.

Harnessing the Power of Biology within a Chemical Engineering Framework-The Hope, the Hype and Prospects for the Future

Biology has been providing goods and services to humanity dating back more than 7000 years, providing staples such as beer, yogurt and cheese.   Within the past 100 years, we have witnessed a growing connection between the science of biology and the foundational principles of chemical engineering, with the emergence of the discipline of bioprocess engineering.  During that time, the science and tools of biology have created an explosion in advancing our understanding of the world with applications across the spectrum from human health to the production of a broad range of materials and chemicals. Despite the tremendous advancements in the science, the applications have at times been overly optimistic and underdelivered.  The talk will describe some of the highs and lows of modern bioprocess engineering, connecting it with my journey that began with a fascination with biology and engineering, through to initial work on biomedical engineering and then on to bioprocess engineering involving various aspects of transport phenomena, kinetics, biofilms and photon delivery with applications mostly connected to the environment. The talk will discuss the critical role that collaboration continues to play within and outside chemical engineering, particularly within the context of microbiology.  I’ll also discuss where the future of biology may reside in the context of the chemical engineering discipline.

Plenary Session

Wednesday, Oct. 9 • 11:30 AM - 12:30 PM ET • Frontenac

Abstract to come

Kristala L. J. Prather

Kristala L. J. Prather, PhD

Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Kristala L. J. Prather is the Arthur D. Little Professor and Department Head in the Department of Chemical Engineering at MIT. She received an S.B. degree from MIT in 1994 and Ph.D. from the University of California, Berkeley (1999), and worked 4 years in BioProcess Research and Development at the Merck Research Labs prior to joining the faculty of MIT.  Her research interests are centered on the design and assembly of recombinant microorganisms for the production of small molecules, with additional efforts in novel bioprocess design approaches.  Prather’s honors include the Charles Thom Award of the Society for Industrial Microbiology and Biotechnology (2017), the Andreas Acrivos Award for Professional Progress in Chemical Engineering of the American Institute of Chemical Engineers (AIChE, 2021), and the Marvin J. Johnson Award (BIOT Division, American Chemical Society, 2024).  Additional honors include selection as a Fellow of the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study (2014-2015), the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS; 2018), the American Institute for Medical and Biological Engineering (AIMBE; 2020), and AIChE (2020). 

Building Microbial Chemical Factories:  Design, Assembly, and Engineering of Biological Routes to Chemical Compounds

Biological systems have the potential to produce a wide array of compounds with uses that include fuels, materials, bulk chemicals, and pharmaceuticals. Our group is focused on applying principles from metabolic engineering and biocatalysis towards the design and construction of novel biosynthetic pathways for specified target compounds.  This “retro-biosynthetic design” approach is aided by advancements in the development of new tools under the umbrella of synthetic biology that facilitate re-engineering of biological systems.  As new pathways are designed and constructed, typical challenges such as low product yields and titers can hamper development of commercially-relevant processes.  The sheer volume of chemicals that ultimately need to be produced also requires the use of a broader range of feedstocks than those traditional employed in bioprocesses.  In this talk, I will review our group’s sustained efforts to both produce novel compounds through biological synthesis and develop strategies to address the inherent limitations.