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Washington State University
Biological Systems Engineering News: Graduate Student

Seligman APV Travel Bursary Recipient, Ellen Bornhorst, Reports from Quebec

August 15, 2015  |  SCI – Where Science Meets Business

Ellen BornhorstEllen Bornhorst was awarded a Seligman APV Travel Bursary in 2015. She reports on her participation in the 12th International Congress on Engineering and Food (ICEF12), which took place between 14 – 18 June in Québec, Canada. She tells us how ICEF12 was a great platform for her to strengthen and broaden her professional network and how the event facilitated her long term career goals in academia.

‘I had a great experience attending the 12th International Congress on Engineering and Food (ICEF12) in Québec City, Canada. I was honored to have been awarded a Seligman APV Travel Grant during the closing ceremony. This travel grant facilitated my attendance to the conference and gave me the unique opportunity to share…

[read full article]

Grad student wins ASABE conference paper competition

Zhang HongchaoGraduate student Hongchao Zhang has won first place in the 2015 Boyd-Scott Graduate Research Award competition of American Society of Agriculture and Biological Engineer (ASABE) Annual International Meeting, July 26-29, New Orleans.

Quality Changes in High Barrier Polymeric Packages – A Shelf-Life Study for Microwave Assisted Thermally Sterilized Food

Hongchao is a third year Ph. D. student, working with his advisor Dr. Shyam S. Sablani, professor of Biological Systems Engineering, on the research of Food Packaging.

Hongchao’s research focuses on developing high barrier polymeric food packages for advanced thermal food processing technologies, mainly microwave-assisted thermal sterilization processing. This research holds the potential of developing high quality sterilized foods with shelf life of 1-3 years or even longer, that not only for retail but also for military and NASA’s long-duration space missions. The project is funded by the National Institute of Food and Agriculture of U.S. Department of Agriculture, “Control of Food-borne bacterial and viral pathogens using microwave technology.” His committee members also include Dr. Juming Tang and Dr. Barbara Rasco.

Hongchao’s presentation in this competition was “Quality Changes in High Barrier Polymeric Packages – A Shelf-Life Study for Microwave Assisted Thermally Sterilized Food”. The placements for the Ph.D. and M.S. competitions was announced and awarded by P-122 Boyd-Scott Graduate Research Award Committee chair, Dr. Kaushlendra Singh, and competition sponsor Dr. Norm Scott from Cornell University during awards luncheon hold at July 29, New Orleans Hotel Marriot. Second and third place honors went to students from Ohio State University and University of Nebraska.

NSF Conference Grant Awarded

NSF conference grant awarded our student for The Science and Engineering for a Bio-based Industry and Economy (S1041) Annual Meeting and Symposium in Ohio

RICHLAND, Wash. – Libing Zhang, a doctoral candidate at Washington State University Tri-Cities, is awarded for S-1041 Annual Meeting and Symposium located in Ohio State University during August 10-11, 2015. She is one of 24 awarded students mostly studied in Agricultural and Biological Engineering program from 12 universities in United States.

Currently, she is pursuing her PhD degree majoring in Biological Systems Engineering at WSU. Her supervisor is Dr. Bin Yang, professor who focuses his research on biomass processing to cellulosic and lignin fuels and bioproducts. She will present her research work in the lignocellulosic biomass aqueous fractionation to produce sugars and lignin for catalysis upgrading to jet fuel.

“I really appreciate NSF grant for providing me this great opportunity. It will broaden my knowledge and benefit for my career.” She Says.

Doctoral Student Places First in Poster Competition

Poonam Bajaj, doctoral student in Biological Systems Engineering, has won first place in the student poster competition for the Product Development division of the Institute of Food Technologists (IFT) 2015.

Bajaj PoonamPoonam is conducting her research under the supervision of Dr. Shyam S. Sablani, professor of Biological Systems Engineering. Her research focuses on potential of utilizing pea protein as an innovative wall material for microencapsulation of flaxseed oil. This research holds the potential of developing sustainable wall material for microencapsulation which also fits in current green trend. The title of Poonam’s presentation was “Pea protein isolates as a novel wall material for microencapsulation of flaxseed oil.”

This research program is supported in part by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, WA, the USA Dry Pea and Lentil Council, WA and a grant from the Washington State University, College of Agricultural, Human, and Natural Resource Sciences, Agricultural Research Center. Poonam’s committee members include professors Juming Tang and Girish Ganjyal.

Poonam completed her bachelor’s degree in Food Science and she is recipient of best student award based her academic and extracurricular performance. She received her master’s degree in Food Engineering and Technology from Institute of Chemical Technology, Mumbai India before starting her Ph.D. at WSU in spring 2013. She received Puget Sound IFT Travel Award and ranked third in Biological Systems Engineering poster presentation competition.

The IFT is a leading international society in food science and technology. The winner was selected from 35 entries from the top food science and technology programs worldwide. Second and third place honors went to students from University of Minnesota and University of Florida.

WSU Tri-Cities Announces Student Research Grants

July 10, 201 5| Tri-City Herald

Five students at Washington State University Tri-Cities will receive grants as part of the Chancellor’s Summer Scholars Program at the university.

The program allows students to be mentored by a faculty member and work on a project to prepare them for a career in a science, technology, engineering and math field, a news release said.

Three of the $3,000 grants are being covered by Hanford contractor Washington River Protection Solutions:

  • Demi Galindo, a pre-medicine student is working with faculty members Elly Sweet and Jim Cooper on a developmental genetics project, which is part of a larger effort to understand human developmental disorders that cause skull deformities.
  • Joseph Traverso will build a robotic arm and investigate the capabilities of such a device with assistant professor Changki Mo.
  • Christopher Smith, mentored by associate professor Bin Yang, will look at developing a way to break down industrial waste created from a biomass conversion methods by using aerobic bacteria.

The other two grants will go to:

  • Logan Wickham, a freshman, who will work with assistant professor Nikos Voulgarakis on a project modeling nanoscale fluid-solid interfaces.
  • Jesus Madrigal’s investigation of why some biomass resist being broken down by enzymes in collaboration with assistant professor Xiao Zhang.

Congratulations PSIFT Scholarship Winners

Six students from BSE were awarded a PSIFT Scholarship this year.

The Puget Sound IFT Scholarship Committee has selected Scholarship winners.  This was a tough year, we had our highest number of applicants and many very deserving students.  The Committee spent hours reading applications and supporting documents to make the decision. The awards will be presented on Tuesday, June 30th.  The event will be held at the Old Spaghetti Factory in Seattle.

  • Deepali Jain
  • Poonam Bajaj
  • HongChao Zhang
  • Ravikiran Tadapaneni
  • Ellen Bornhorst
  • Kanishka Bhunia

Tri-Cities Student Selected for Sustainable Energy Program

June 8, 2015 | By Maegan Murray, WSU Tri-Cities

RICHLAND, Wash. – Lei Zhu, a doctoral student at Washington State University Tri-Cities, is one of 33 United States-based students to be selected for the June 17-24 American Chemical Society Summer School on Green Chemistry and Sustainable Energy.

He will explore scientific solutions to the global challenges of sustainable energy through presentations by leading researchers, collaborative projects and discussions. [read full article]

Student Awards

Congratulations Students!

Innu Chaudhary, advised by Dr. Shulin Chen, and Muhammad Azeem Khan, advised by Dr. Claudio Stockle were awarded scholarships at the 2015 CAHNRS Fall Festival.

The following students received an award from the GPSA’s Travel and Registration Grant Program for the summer 2015:

  • Shuxiang Liu
  • Carlos Zuniga
  • Seyedehsanaz Jarolmasjed

Cuts to Manure Gas Earns Student Kudos

George NeerackalPh.D. student, George Mathew Neerackal, won 2nd place at the Ron Sheffield Memorial Student Poster competition at the Waste to Worth conference, Seattle, WA; March 30-April 03, 2015.

Poster Title: Manure pH Management for Mitigating Ammonia Emissions from Manure Flush Dairy Barns

Advisor: Dr. Pius Ndegwa

click to see full research poster

Dairy cows produce lots of manure. A WSU student’s research on cutting the environmental impact of all that waste won him second place in a poster competition at Seattle’s annual Waste to Worth conference.

George Neerackal, who graduates later this year with a doctorate in Biological Systems Engineering, took second in the Ron Sheffield Memorial Student poster contest, held March 31 to April 3.

[read full article from CAHNRS]

Student Earns Top International Sustainability Prize

WSU News | by Kate Wilhite, College of Agricultural, Human & Natural Resource Sciences

green-talents-80PULLMAN, Wash. – Washington State University graduate student Sergio Baravalle is among 25 exceptional young scientists worldwide to receive an annual award for work in sustainable development.

Baravalle is a Fulbright scholar working on his master’s degree in biological and agricultural engineering.

Chosen from 800 applicants

He was selected for the Green Talents International Forum for High-Potentials in Sustainable Development award by the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research from more than 800 applicants in over 100 countries.

Sergio Baravalle, WSU, and Johanna Wanka, Germany’s minister of education and research.

The “Green Talents” each win a two-week tour of renowned sustainable research centers in Germany and a three-month stay at the German research institution of their choice. They become lifetime members of a global network of sustainability leaders.

“I have spent two weeks with 24 of the best minds in their disciplines,” said Baravalle, who just returned from the tour. “That was the real prize.”

Learn more about the award at See Sergio’s and other winners’ profiles here.

Waste management, renewable energy

The awards jury looks for research projects with the potential to contend with threats such as global warming, energy shortages, and environmental contamination.

The focus of Baravalle’s research is to gain an understanding of the municipal solid waste business and how it can create sustainable and innovative solutions in conjunction with renewable energy technologies. He is also exploring a more efficient production of ethanol from dry plant matter by combining the processes of pre-treatment and sugar release into a single step.

Judges were enthusiastic about Baravalle’s combination of using multiple disciplines to conduct cutting-edge scientific experiments. They said this experience will help him advance sustainable waste management and energy solutions.

Pursuing certificates at MIT, WSU

“Sergio has displayed remarkable skills in science, business, and engineering,” said Bin Yang, a professor in WSU’s Department of Biological Systems Engineering and Baravalle’s academic advisor. “He will continue to grow and make significant contributions to the field of converting biomass to fuels and chemicals.”

In addition to working on his master’s degree, Baravalle is pursuing graduate certificates in logistics and supply chain management from Massachusetts Institute of Technology and in project management from WSU.

Sergio Baravalle, WSU Biological Systems Engineering,
Kate Wilhite, WSU College of Agricultural, Human & Natural Resource Sciences communications,