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A Message From the Department Head 2018

Bamin Khomami.The Department of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, continues to make dramatic strides in national leadership in chemical engineering education and research. I don’t like to focus on rankings, but for the first time ever, we have moved in to the top 40 of public university chemical engineering programs, achieving 39th in the U.S. News and World Report 2019 rankings. Evidently, our hard work over the past ten years is paying off with higher national visibility, ultimately greatly benefiting our students and alumni network.

Speaking of students, with approximately 65 full-time PhD students and 425 undergraduate students, we have the largest student body in the history of the department. Furthermore, with 19 instructional and research faculty, we have the largest number of educators housed within the department since the 1980s. Our research profile continues to ascend, with expenditures and publications likewise rising.

In spring of 2018, we added two new members to our Hall of Fame. Joining Professor John Prados—our inaugural inductee in 2016—and subsequent inductees Michael T. Harris and James B. Porter Jr., are two alumni who have been employed at Eastman Chemical Company for over 70 years combined: Mark Cox (’89, BS) and Stephen Crawford (’87, BS). We are very grateful to have such esteemed alumni in executive management positions at a company that is internationally recognized for its leadership and innovation in the chemical industry.

Professor Emeritus Charlie Moore was inducted into Control magazine’s Process Automation Hall of Fame, and Gibson Chair Stephen Paddison was appointed as a fellow of the Royal Society of Chemistry. Furthermore, UT-ORNL Governor’s Chair for Biorefining Art Ragauskas received AIChE’s 2017 Professional Achievement Award for innovations in green process engineering.

Our faculty continue to achieve research milestones and garner major national awards. Each of our last four assistant professor hires has won a prestigious NSF CAREER Award during the past two years, bringing our total number of faculty members to have achieved this award to six. Also, our UT-ORNL Governor’s Chair for Electrical Energy Conversion and Storage Tom Zawodzinski’s project, Reversible Fuel Cells for Long-Duration Storage, was chosen by the US Department of Energy as one of 10 recipients of Advanced Research Projects Agency–Energy grants.

Lastly and most importantly, our outstanding body of students has also been recognized for their hard work and dedication. Senior Amany Alshibli was recognized for her academic achievement, leadership, and outstanding service with the highest student honor—the Torchbearer award. This is the second CBE student recipient in less than five years. Senior Christopher Neal was selected as a 2018–2019 Fulbright alternative for a study and research grant to Germany. Undergraduates Michele Christy, Katherine Krouse, Andy Skipper, and Alshibli, were awarded the Extraordinary Academic Achievement citation. The Chancellor’s Citation for Extraordinary Professional Promise was awarded to undergraduate students Jared Clements, Alshibli, and Neal, as well as doctoral students Nelly Cantillo Cuello, David DeSimone, and Brian Mendoza. A record number nine CBE students achieved chancellor’s citations, tops among all UT academic departments.

I am sincerely grateful to all our alumni, private donors, and corporate sponsors, especially Eastman Chemical Company, who have continuously supported CBE over the past ten years, thereby enabling us to have achieved the tremendous growth I mentioned above. We feel truly honored to have such a talented, generous, and dedicated group of supporters. With your help, we have now begun to be recognized for the superior education and research that our department excels at. Thank you for your support.


Bamin Khomami

Granger and Beaman Distinguished University Professor
Head, Department of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering