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Neural tube defects are among the most common birth defects and affect more than 500,000 infants worldwide each year, resulting in severe health problems, including paralysis of legs, brain damage, and even death. Now Professor Yubing Sun of our Mechanical and Industrial Engineering Department has received a $400,000 grant from the National Science Foundation to develop a series of engineered tools to enable the investigation of the poorly understood mechanism that causes neural tube defects.

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Professor John Klier, the head of the Chemical Engineering (ChE) Department, and ChE Associate Professor Shelly Peyton were awarded a $25,000 grant from the University of Massachusetts system’s Tech Development Fund, which helps bring cutting-edge UMass research to market. Klier and Peyton were funded for their project to study “Novel associative hydrogels,” aimed at developing new microgel additives for dramatically enhancing coating performance and appearance and enabling new types of water-based coating systems.

Other members of the team are ChE doctoral student Yen Tran and...

Dr. Chul Park, an Associate Professor in the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering at the University of Massachusetts Amherst, and his former Ph.D. student Dr. Dong-Hyun Chon were recently awarded a U.S. Patent on their pioneering technology to decrease the production of sludge, the byproduct produced from wastewater treatment. See patent information »

“This invention uses a very small anaerobic reactor inserted into the side-stream of the conventional wastewater treatment...

Professor Michael Henson of the Chemical Engineering Department at the University of Massachusetts Amherst is one of the researchers for a three-year, $650,000 grant to support his research into the roles that various bacteria play in microbial communities. The research project is entitled “Development of Robust Microbial Communities through Engineered Biofilms.” The grant from the U.S. Army Research Office, or ARO, will support research into defining the functions of bacteria in various biofilm (or any group of microorganisms in which cells stick to each other) communities, thereby...

Professor Wei Fan and his graduate student Hong Je Cho, both of the UMass Amherst Chemical Engineering Department, are part of a multi-institutional research team that has invented a new technology to produce automobile tires from trees and grasses. The new process could potentially shift the tire industry toward using renewable resources found right in people’s backyards. The research has attracted plenty of media coverage in scientific media, including Phys.org,...

Assistant Professor Sarah Perry of the Chemical Engineering (ChE) Department and ChE Department Head John Klier are the co-principal-investigators on a research project in collaboration with Camco Manufacturing of Leominster to identify environmentally benign windshield-washer fluids as viable alternatives to those containing volatile organic compounds (VOCs). VOCs are a significant source of environmental pollution and contribute to ground-level ozone and smog.

One significant VOC is methanol. In 2013, for example, Massachusetts manufacturers used more than 57 million pounds...

Professor Frank Sup of the Mechanical and Industrial Engineering (MIE) Department is collaborating with Professor Jane Kent of the Kinesiology Department on a groundbreaking non-magnetic ergometer, which can be used in conjunction with a magnetic resonance (MR) machine to conduct pioneering MR imaging and spectroscopy studies of human muscle function.

The collaboration was formed within the Center for Personalized Health Monitoring at the Institute for Applied Life Sciences (IALS), a new organization within UMass Amherst...

Professor Michael Henson, a faculty member in the Chemical Engineering Department at the University of Massachusetts Amherst, is the principal investigator for a three-university collaborative project, which involves creating mathematical models of “circadian rhythm” generation to better understand sleep disorders and other diseases triggered by the malfunction of this 24-hour “body clock” in humans. The research is being supported by a very significant, four-year, $1,809,385 grant from the National Institutes of Health (NIH).

Henson’s NIH research project is entitled “...

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