Message From The Chair

Carlos M. Rinaldi-Ramos, Ph.D.

Dear alumni, friends, and members of the UF ChE community,

We are delighted to share some of the news and events from this past semester and celebrate the incredible work we have done.

Three faculty members received $5.46 million in NIH Maximizing Investigator’s Research Awards (MIRA) research grants. Carl Denard, Ph.D., an assistant professor will investigate enzymes that catalyze post-translational modifications (PTM), with a focus on refining, redefining, and reprogramming their substrate specificity. Piyush K. Jain, Ph.D., an assistant professor and holder of the Shah Rising Star professorship, will build a program on the discovery of CRISPR/Cas systems with unique features and provide fundamental understanding of their mechanisms. Whitney Stoppel, Ph.D., an assistant professor and William P. and Tracy Cirioli Term Professor, aims to develop novel biopolymers for applications in healthcare and medicine using genetic engineering.

Mark Orazem, Ph.D., a distinguished professor, and a team of researchers are leading a new project funded by National Institutes of Health entitled, “Engineering the neuronal response to electrical microstimulation.” Dr. Orazem will use his expertise in electrochemical impedance spectroscopy to extract electrode properties from impedance data to guide his group’s simulations of stimulation currents and potentials.

We honor Helena Hagelin-Weaver, Ph.D., an associate professor who founded and stewarded the Women in Chemical Engineering Program for the past 20 years, supporting our women students and faculty through social, professional, and peer mentoring activities. We also celebrated our students, faculty, and alumni during Hispanic Heritage Month. We honored the cultures and contributions of those who lend their voices to today’s UF experience.

Our students continue to make us proud. At the AIChE Annual Meeting, our students and faculty participated and received many distinguished awards.

As always, we are grateful for the support from our alumni. Marissa Dockendorf (Ph.D. ChE ’05) shared her career progression and insights gained over 14 years in the pharmaceutical industry as the keynote speaker of the annual GRACE symposium. Our devoted alumni continue to help students and advance important department initiatives through the Chemical Engineering Excellence Fund.

I hope you enjoy reading this e-newsletter, and I look forward to hearing from you or seeing you at future events.

Warmest wishes,

Carlos M. Rinaldi-Ramos, Ph.D.
ChE Department Chair and Dean’s Leadership Professor