A message from Mayuresh Kothare, R. L. McCann Professor and Chair of the Department of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering at Lehigh University

Spring semester is in full swing and nearly over as we approach Lehigh’s commencement day on May 20, 2019. Our students, both graduate and undergraduate, are eagerly looking forward to receiving their degrees. Job placement and admission to graduate school for our BS degree recipients continues to be robust. Among the many accolades received by our graduating class, a recent recognition was the first place won by ChBE senior Joanne Huang in the David and Lorraine Freed Undergraduate Research Symposium at Lehigh University. Joanne’s research was supervised by Prof. Angela Brown and the title of her poster was “Anti-bacterial and Anti-toxin Activities of Catechins.” This was experiential learning at its best!

Faculty research continued to create impact. Prof. Kelly Schultz’s work on cross-linked polymer interactions was recognized in a special session of the American Institute of Chemical Engineers (AIChE) Annual Meeting in Pittsburgh. It also appeared in the AIChE Journal in the inaugural “Futures” issue, designed to highlight the work of early career researchers. Prof. Israel Wachs was elected Fellow of the National Academy of Inventors for his highly influential and inventive studies in catalysis research. Finally, research by Prof. Javier Buceta and his colleagues in Spain on scutoids continued to receive well-deserved publicity, this time highlighted by a Scientific American article explaining scutoids and Voronoi tessellations. Lehigh’s renowned “Emulsion Polymers” short course will celebrate its 50th anniversary this year.

ChBE alumni, the greatest products of our programs, earned national and international spotlight. Alumnus Dr. Chris Jewell BS '03 won two major awards: The AIChE Nanoscale Science & Engineering Forum selected Jewell for the 2018 Young Investigator Award, while the AIChE Materials Engineering and Sciences Division selected him for the Owens Corning Early Career Award. Dr. Khaled Al-Fadhel '05 PhD has been named Minister of Oil and Minister of Water and Electricity for Kuwait. He previously served as Undersecretary at the Ministry of Commerce following roles at Kuwait University. Alumnus Dr. Srinivas Mettu '12 PhD is part of a team from the University of Melbourne that has won a Grand Challenges Explorations grant (Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation). The team will pursue an innovative global health and development research project, titled “Edible Micro-Balloons for Nutrition Enhancement.” The tech company Avnet, led by CEO and ChBE alumnus Bill Amelio BS ’79 was named to the list of “World’s Most Admired Companies” by Fortune magazine.

Elsewhere on campus, new institutional growth plans are continuing to take shape. These include the formation of a fifth college—the College of Health—with an associated growth of 1000 undergraduate students and 500 graduate students, as well as the addition of about 100 new faculty members, of which about 50 will be in the new college. At the recent Board of Trustees meeting, the Lehigh trustees authorized the construction of the Health, Science and Technology (HST) building, another critical investment in academic excellence. This new 180,000-square-foot facility, to be located on what is now the Whitaker surface parking lot, will house our new College of Health, along with other research laboratories. The building will feature open bench and workspace models, and minimal hard walls to emphasize transparency and openness. Dr. Whitney P. Witt, the former director of the Center for Maternal and Child Research at IBM Watson Health in North Carolina, was announced as the inaugural dean of the new college as these recent hallmarks of progress continue to fuel our momentum and support our progress on Lehigh’s Path to Prominence.

Our department is well-positioned to contribute to, and be part of, this unprecedented growth phase at Lehigh.

From all of us in the department, we wish you a productive Spring 2019 and the upcoming summer. Please drop us an email with comments—we would be delighted to hear from you. 


M.V. Kothare

Mayuresh Kothare

R. L. McCann Professor and Chair

Department of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering


Jonas Baltrusaitis

Assistant Professor and ChBE Newsletter Editor

Department of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering

Mayuresh V. Kothare

Mayuresh V. Kothare, R. L. McCann Professor and Chair, Department of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering