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REU: Novel Materials and Processing in Chemical and Biomedical Engineering

Abstract for Takoudis, EEC-0453432:<br/><br/>This REU site in Novel Materials and Processing in Chemical and Biomedical Engineering supports a total of twelve undergraduate students annually for three years in the Departments of Chemical, Mechanical and Bio-Engineering at the University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC). Students are recruited from regional community colleges, universities with high minority enrollments (e.g.., Chicago State and U. of Puerto Rico), other universities across the nation, and UIC for 10-week summer research projects. The target is to accommodate at least 80% of the students from underrepresented groups.<br/><br/>The foci of this REU site are new materials, novel thin films, design methodologies, biomaterials and bioengineering processes, and characterization techniques that reveal the process-structure-functionality interrelationships of novel materials with their processing in the chemical and biomedical engineering disciplines. Specific projects include product and process engineering for biomedical applications, atomic-scale investigations of nanostructures, experimental investigation of fluid behavior in nanochannels, biological surface modification for implantable medical devices, micropatterned substrates for controlling growth and neurite extension of retinal neurons, and novel catalytic materials. The objectives of this REU program are to introduce students to independent research in novel materials and their processing, to develop and enhance the students' creativity and originality, to develop outstanding candidates for graduate programs, to demonstrate the excitement of doing original research, and to promote the development of interdisciplinary skills needed in the engineering workplace of the future.<br/><br/>This project is anticipated to have a broad impact on novel materials and processing in biomedical and chemical engineering as well as on the development of human resources. The REU site places emphasis on (i) oral communication and technical writing skills through 4 bi-weekly brief research progress reports as well as a final oral presentation and written report, (ii) skills in experimental design and safety engineering through tutorials and seminars, (iii) engineering ethics through a workshop, seminar, and a three-hour tutorial series, and (iv) introduction to several areas of novel materials and processing. The social program of the REU site includes unstructured social gatherings after the weekly group meetings, tours of regional research/industrial facilities (i.e., BP,Motorola, Argonne National Lab, Abbott Labs, American Air Liquide, Fermi Lab, and UOP), picnics and cookouts, group outings to Cubs and White Sox baseball games, and a Lake Michigan ship tour.<br/><br/>This site is supported by the Department of Defense in partnership with the NSF REU program.

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