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A Message from the Department Head

Bamin Khomami.The Department of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, has never been stronger. With approximately 70 full-time doctoral students and 425 undergraduate students, we have the largest student body in the history of the department. With 19 instructional and research faculty, we have the largest number of respected scientists and educators housed within the department since the split with the Department of Materials Science and Engineering in the 1980s. Research expenditures and productivity are near all-time highs, and the reputations of our students and faculty are growing stronger each month.

In spring of 2017, CBE added two new members to its Hall of Fame. Joining Professor John Prados, our inaugural 2016 inductee, are Michael T. Harris (PhD, ’92) and James B. Porter Jr. (BS, ’65). We are proud to add such exemplary figures and alumni into our Hall of Fame.

This year the department created the CBE Student Service Hall of Fame. We are proud to have Mary McBride (BS, ’17) as our inaugural inductee in recognition of her unprecedented impact on our program and students. McBride served as chair of the AIChE Southern Regional Conference planning committee. Her tireless effort leading the organization of this conference, hosted by our AIChE Student Chapter, resulted in an outstanding event that showed the best qualities of our program and college to hundreds of students and faculty from across the Southeastern states.

Our faculty continue to achieve research milestones and garner major national awards. Associate Professor Cong Trinh won a prestigious NSF CAREER Award this past year and was also named the 2017 ASEE SE Researcher of the Year as well as the 2017 DARPA Young Faculty Award recipient. He received the 2016 Tickle College of Engineering Professional Promise in Research Award and was named the Ferguson Faculty Fellow in Chemical Engineering in 2017. Professor Emeritus Charlie Moore was inducted into Control magazine’s Process Automation Hall of Fame, and Stephen Paddison was appointed as a fellow of the Royal Society of Chemistry. Furthermore, Governor’s Chair Professor Art Ragauskas received AIChE’s 2017 Professional Achievement Award for innovations in green process engineering.

Lastly and most importantly, our outstanding body of graduate and undergraduate students have also been recognized for their hard work and dedication. Among the many national and university-wide awards achieved, junior Christopher Neal was named a 2017-2018 Goldwater Scholar, and undergraduates Beini Chen and Michele Christy were awarded the Extraordinary Academic Achievement citation. The Chancellor’s Citation for Extraordinary Professional Promise was awarded to undergraduate students Marti Bell and Michelle Lehmann as well as doctoral students Thomas Gaetjens, Hadi Nafar Sefiddashti, and Hanieh Niroomand. A record number of seven CBE students achieved chancellor’s citations, tops among all UT academic departments.

I sincerely thank all of our alumni, private donors, and corporate sponsors who have continuously supported our department over the past years which have enabled the tremendous growth we have recently experienced. We are grateful for your support, and we feel truly fortunate to have such a talented, generous, and dedicated group of supporters. With your help, we have built great momentum moving forward in recent years. I believe that our best days are still ahead in terms of teaching, research, and impact. Thank you for your support.

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