Biochemical Engineering Lab
Professor Nam Sun Wang's research group focuses on biochemical and bioprocess engineering; bioengineering for protein and enzyme immobilization and angiogenesis; on-line chemical and biochemical process monitoring (including NIR, fluorescence, and light scattering); and biosensor design using protein arrays, antibody/antigen interaction, and DNA/DNA hybridization. Recent projects have included diagnostics based on urinary biomarkers, the development of a bioartificial pancreas for diabetics, advanced transdermal insulin patch technologies, synthesis and characterization of biocompatible, fluorescent nanostrucured silicon, and dense immobilization of proteins and enzymes on porous silica supports.
(For Chunsheng Wang's research group, see "Wang Group.")
BioFluid Dynamics Laboratory
The BioFluid Dynamics Laboratory's research involves the dynamics of drops and bubbles in microfluidics and porous media, hemodynamics and hemopathology in the microcirculation, dynamics of synthetic and biological polymers, and the development of novel computational methodologies for the accurate and efficient study of these physical systems. The lab's recent projects have included computational studies on drop dynamics; the development of interfacial spectral boundary methods for deformable particles such as droplets, capsules, red blood cells and vesicles; the behavior and deformation of artificial capsules and erythrocytes in high flow-rate environments; the effects of paraproteinemia and malaria on the motion of the erythrocytes in the microcirculation; and the development of a computationally efficient cytoskeleton-based continuum erythrocyte algorithm.
Calabrese Group / High Shear Mixing Research Program
The Calabrese Group studies turbulent mixing and multiphase flow, with emphasis on drop dispersion and coalescence, prediction and measurement of particle size distribution, and prediction and measurement of velocity fields in stirred vessels, high shear mixers and other process equipment. The related High Shear Mixing Research Program, also directed by Calabrese, is a consotium consisting of representatives from academia and industry that seeks to develop a fundamental understanding of the controlling fluid dynamics for both "single" and multiphase processing, and to use this knowledge to develop a basis for data correlation, process scale-up, and assessment of device performance.
Complex Fluids and Nanomaterials Group
The Complex Fluids and Nanomaterials Group seeks to engineer matter at the nano and micro scales using the strategies of self-assembly and directed assembly. The lab's interest is primarily in soft matter (e.g., hydrogels) and in biomolecular and biomimetic structures. Moreover, the lab seeks to develop rules for the design of new classes of "smart" fluids and materials that could be useful in drug delivery, wound healing, oil recovery, and energy storage. Examples of active projects include: (1) the design of hemostatic biomaterials that can rapidly stop bleeding from serious injuries; (2) the development of hybrid jellyfish-like hydrogels that alter their shape in response to changes in temperature and pH; (3) the design of biomimetic microcapsule-based assemblies that exhibit self-propelled motion; and (4) the synthesis of photoresponsive containers that open up and release their contents when irradiated with UV light.
Professor Amy Karlsson’s research group uses the tools of protein and peptide engineering to study pathogenic microorganisms, particularly fungal pathogens, with a goal of improving diagnosis and treatment. The group's current work is primarily focused on studying the most prevalent fungal pathogen in humans, Candida albicans. Members use both rational design and directed evolution to engineer proteins and peptides, including antibody fragments and antimicrobial peptides, that can be used in antifungal drug target validation, detection and identification of fungal pathogens, and improved specificity of antifungal agents. The group's experimental tools include molecular biology techniques, microscopy, and protein chromatography.
Laboratory of Molecular & Thermodynamic Modeling
Professor Jeffery Klauda's research group focuses on the use of molecular simulations and thermodynamic modeling to describe the function, dynamics, and physical properties of cellular membranes (proteins, lipids, cholesterol, etc.) and gas hydrates (energy storage and carbon dioxide sequesterization). Current projects include studies on the structure, binding, and transport of substrates and enzymes; cholesterol transport mechanisms via the sterol sensing protein Osh4; gas hydrates as a natural energy source, storage medium for CO2 and hydrogen, and greenhouse gas sink and emitter; and secondary active transporters' roles as transmembrane gatekeepers for cells.
Liu Research Group
Professor Dongxia Liu's group conducts research at the interface of materials synthesis and catalytic science, with an emphasis on precisely controlling the composition and constitution of nanostructured particles and membranes for renewable energy conversion and storage applications. Projects focus on tailoring the architectures and functionality of nanostructured materials to enable efficient and selective catalytic reactions in biorefinenery and petrochemical/fine chemical conversion; and on assembling nanostructured particles and membranes to provide desirable properties in fuel cells and batteries. The group's overall objective is nanoengineering advanced materials with structural elucidation, growth mechanism perception, and industrial application exploration in catalytic conversion technologies to enable the development of green and sustainable energies. The group is funded in part by the National Science Foundation and the American Chemical Society's Petroleum Research Fund.
The Mesothermal Group, led by Professors Mikhail A. Anisimov and Jan V. Sengers, is concerned with theoretical and experimental studies of mesoscopic fluctuations in soft matter, both in molecular fluids and in complex fluids. Currnt research includes the development of theoretical models based on the presumed existence of a a liquid–liquid critical point n water in the deeply supercooled region, self-assembly of small molecules in aqueous solutions and their mesoscopic properties, and the effect of fluctuations on the behavior of smooth (or "fuzzy") interfaces. The group's work is funded by the National Science Foundation and the International Association for the Properties of Water and Steam.
Metabolic Engineering Laboratory
The Metabolic Engineering Laboratory works in the areas of metabolic engineering and systems biology, especially of eukaryotes. Its specialties are metabolic flux analysis and gene regulatory network analysis. Toward performing such analyses, the Sriram Group combines experimental methods such as isotope labeling, two-dimensional (2-D) NMR, gas chromatography-mass spectrometry (GC-MS), DNA microarray analysis and quantitative RT-PCR (qPCR) together with computational methods. Many potential applications of this work focus on plants, the source of commodities such as food, fiber, biofuels, therapeutics, and renewable chemical industry feedstocks. The group's quantitative studies open up the prospect of smartly engineering plants' metabolic networks for beneficial purposes, and therefore hold promise for a sustainable future.
Nanoscale Assembly and Electron Microscopy Lab
The Woehl Research group investigates micro- and nanoscale assembly processes with emphasis on electric field directed assembly of colloids and nanomaterials, aggregation and stability of biomolecules, and out-of-equilibrium assembly processes. We use in situ optical and electron microscopy techniques to enable direct observations of the dynamics and kinetics of nucleation, growth, and assembly processes, with specific projects in (1) catalyst degradation, (2) active matter and collective behavior, (3) stability of protein pharmaceuticals, and (4) aggregation of pathogenic proteins. Our research activities include both development of new microscopy techniques to enable visualization of never before seen dynamic nanoscale processes, as well as fundamental investigation of assembly mechanisms to inform the design of higher activity catalysts, more stable protein pharmaceuticals, and new advanced reconfigurable optical materials.
The P2OWDER (Pursuing Particulate Opportunities with Dedicated Engineering Research) Group studies particles and particle-based materials, developing processes to make materials with tailored properties. The group partners or has partnered with others, such as the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) and Army Research Laboratory, to test the performance of some of these materials. Applications include catalysts for energy conversion, nanoscale size standards, solar cells and biomedical imaging.
Polymer Reaction Engineering Laboratory
Founded in 1984, the Polymer Reaction Engineering Laboratory aims to solve scientific and technical problems related to industrial polymerization process technology. Its primary research interests include but are not limited to: synthesis of polymers and polymerization kinetics, polymerization reactor/process modeling, control, and optimization. Polymer reaction engineering is a discipline in which fundamental principles of chemical engineering, polymer science, and systems engineering are blended together when necessary to solve from nano-scale to micro-scale, and to macro-scalereaction and reactor problems. Recent research has been directed toward the application of polymer reaction engineering to nanoscale catalytic polymerization reactors, biodegradable polymers, miniemulsion polymerization, and microdispersion polymerization to make polymer particles of complex morphologies. The group also participates in battery research with Professor Chunsheng Wang and zeolite catalysis research for natural gas conversion with Professor Dogxia Liu.
Thin Film Processing Group
The Adomaitis Group's research focuses on simulation-based design, optimization, and experimental evaluation of advanced materials manufacturing processes, and is particularly interested in developing new reactor designs for thin-film deposition of semiconductor materials for electronic and solar energy applications. Current projects include the development of multiscale models of atomic layer deposition processes, solar generation of hydrogen, planetary chemical vapor deposition (CVD), response surface modeling for nanomanufacturing applications, and combinatorial CVD. The group's work is supported by the University of Maryland Energy Research Center, the National Science Foundation, and industrial partners.
The Wachsman Group is at the forefront of renewable energy research involving high temperature ceramics. Professor Wachsman's advances in fundamental ionic transport and electrocatalysis have revolutionized solid oxide fuel cells (SOFCs), ion transport membranes, and solid state sensors. The group's current research includes the development of high-performance, low-temperature solid oxide fuel cels (SOFCs), ionic transport membranes for applications including the separation of H2 and O2 gases, solid state sensor technology capable of measuring the concentrations of multiple gases, advancing our understanding of high temperature ionic transport through ceramic materials, and electrocatalytic CH4 conversion and the post- combustion reduction of NOx.
The Wang Group's research activities focus on four areas: Li-ion batteries, Na-ion batteries, alkaline fuel cells, and electroanalytical techniques, covering topics from fundamental electrochemistry and materials synthesis to electrochemical devices. Current projects include novel electroanalytical techniques for phase transformation electrodes, virus enabled anodes for Li-ion batteries, scaffold Si-based anodes for Li-ion batteries, synthesis of alkaline anion exchange membranes (AAEMs) for fuel cell and metal-air battery applications, and addressing the challenges associated with the development of high energy density Li-S, Na-S, and Li-air batteries.
(For Nam Sun Wang's research group, see "Biochemical Engineering Lab.")
The Zachariah Lab's mission is to understand and manipulate from a fundamental standpoint the physical and chemical phenomena in the formation and application of nanoscale materials. Current projects include aerosol based processing to create new nanomaterials for energy, and the environment; the development of new instrumentation for the characterization of nanoparticles relevant to energy, the environment and nanomedicine; and the development and application of molecular based modeling tools for understanding gas-to-particle conversions and nanoparticle properties.