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A national group of researchers, including CEMS Professor Matthew Neurock, has discovered that a swift proton exchange occurs within imperfect, single-layer graphene membranes and water, thereby overcoming a major challenge in fuel cell technology. Scientists at Northwestern University made the discovery, but Neurock and researchers at Penn State University used advanced computer simulations to show how protons transfer through graphene defect sites.

"Imagine an electric car that charges in the same time it takes to fill a car with gas," said Northwestern University chemist Franz M. Geiger, who led the research. "And better yet, imagine an electric car that uses hydrogen as fuel, not fossil fuels or ethanol, and not electricity from the power grid, to charge a battery. Our surprising discovery provides an electrochemical mechanism that could make these things possible one day."

The study was recently published in the journal Nature Communications. Authors of the paper include researchers from Northwestern University, the University of Minnesota, Pennsylvania State University, Oak Ridge National Laboratory, the University of Virginia, and the University of Puerto Rico.

http://z.umn.edu/neurockgraphene

Related: http://www.nature.com/ncomms/2015/150317/ncomms7539/full/ncomms7539.html



Ellis Mannon (ChemE and Economics '15) epitomizes the meaning of a top student-athlete, demonstrating a delicate balance of hard work, dedication, and drive for both academics and athletics. Mannon has not only achieved success as a member of the Gopher men’s gymnastics team, earning titles such as Big Ten champion and NCAA champion, but will soon graduate with dual degrees in rigorous fields of study that have undoubtedly prepared him for continued acclaim. Read more about his diverse interests and accomplishments in this article written by Pat Borzoi in Minnesota magazine, a University of Minnesota Alumni Association publication. Photo credit to Mark Luinenburg.

Related: http://z.umn.edu/cemsmannon



CEMS Professor Efie Kokkoli is leading an interdisciplinary team of researchers at the University of Minnesota to improve treatments for Alzheimer's disease and brain cancer through the use of DNA nanotechnology — microscopic structures that are built from DNA.

Through her research, Kokkoli found an alternative way of engineering the DNA nanotubes into a type of “nanotape” that twists itself to form a solid tube much like a metal spring does when compressed. Unlike other DNA nanotubes that slowly come together from hundreds of different DNA sequences by adjusting their environment, Kokkoli’s discovery, using DNA-amphiphiles (molecules that have sections that love the water and sections that hate the water), can self-assemble in a matter of minutes in water from multiple copies of only one DNA-amphiphile molecule. The breakthrough provides a faster, easier and more robust way to produce drug delivery containers.This research project is part of the state-funded MnDRIVE Transdisciplinary Research Program, where researchers from different departments work beyond the limits of their disciplines to address complex challenges. Read more from author Kevin Coss about this topic via the link below:

Related: http://z.umn.edu/braintreatments



The University of Minnesota American Institute for Chemical Engineers (AIChE) student chapter had a remarkable weekend at the 2015 North Central Student Regional Conference held recently at the University of Illinois in Urbana-Champaign. The conference featured the annual Regional Chem-E-Car competition, Research Paper competition, and Chem-E Jeopardy competition. The University of Minnesota AIChE student chapter qualified for competition at the national level with outstanding outcomes in two out of those three areas. The UMN chapter will now compete at the 2015 AIChE Annual Student Conference in Salt Lake City, Utah in November 2015.

The Chem-E Jeopardy team was led by AIChE President Melissa Cassel ('15) and included John Brennan ('16), Rahul Jairam ('17), and Zachary Massa ('17). The team won first place against 11 other universities, securing the only North Central Regional slot for competition at the national level.

The Chem-E-Car team was led by Abe Blumenthal ('16) and included team members John Brennan ('16), Jon Dable ('16), Oliver Goldman ('17), Rahul Jairam ('17), Zachary Massa ('17), Michael McDermott ('17), Morgan Pearson ('17), Andrew Searles ('17), and Sara Stacker ('18). The car, "Zinc Error," was driven by Zinc-Air batteries and stopped by an Iodine Clock Reaction. The UMN car placed among the top five finishers out of 17 regional competitors, qualifying the UMN car for the national conference.

Related: http://www.aiche.org/conferences/annual-aiche-student-conference/2015



Professor Michael Tsapatsis has been elected to the National Academy of Engineering (NAE). Election to the National Academy of Engineering is among the highest professional distinctions awarded to an engineer. Only 67 new members nationwide and 12 foreign associations received the honor this year.

Tsapatsis received the honor for design and synthesis of specialized nanomaterials, called zeolites, that are used for selective separation and reaction. His research group’s accomplishments include development of unique molecular sieves and membranes that are used to increase efficiencies in the chemical and petroleum processing industries.

Tsapatsis has been professor at the University of Minnesota since 2003, and he currently holds the Amundson Chair in Chemical Engineering and Materials Science. He has published more than 200 papers and has been invited to present more than 120 lectures around the world. He is the inventor/co-inventor of six issued patents and six patent applications. Tsapatsis has received numerous awards, including the Alpha Chi Sigma Award for Chemical Engineering Research, a Packard Foundation Fellowship, and National Science Foundation CAREER Award. He is a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science.

Related: http://discover.umn.edu/news/science-technology/university-minnesota-professor-michael-tsapatsis-elected-national-academy