RBI announces 2017-18 Graduate Fellowship Awards

Mar 30, 2017 | Atlanta, GA

Related Media

Click on image(s) to view larger version(s)

  • RBI announces 2017-18 Graduate Fellowship Awards

For More Information Contact

Kelly B. Smith, 404.894.6700

The Renewable Bioproducts Institute has announced the award of eight new graduate research fellowships of up to four years of funding, beginning with the fall term 2017.

The winners are:

  • Cyrus Aidun, ME, “Mechanistic methods to control intra-web transport in paper forming;”
  • Blair Brettmann, MSE, “Increasing solids into the dryer via rational design of polyelectrolyte complexes;”
  • Roger Jiao, ME, and Nagi Gebraeel, ISyE, “Big-data driven predictive analytics for smart manufacturing process operations in the pulp, paper and packaging industries;”
  • Chris Muhlstein, MSE, “Is it really just creep? Cyclic fatigue damage accumulation mechanisms in paper;”
  • Chris Jones, ChBE, Stefan France, CHEM/BioCHEM, “Upgrading cellulose byproducts to value-added chemicals and fuels through the Garcia-Gonzalez pathway;”
  • A.J. Medford, ChBE, “Computational catalyst screening for lignocellulosic biomass to sugar alcohols;”
  • Will Gutekunst, CHEM, M. Srinivasarao, MSE, “A universal approach to polymer-CNC composites using host-guest complexes;” and
  • Donggang Yao, MSE, “Conversion of lignin into moldable bulk graphite”

These professors will recruit entering graduate students into their respective schools to conduct the research. The fellowships will provide up to four years of funding for these students, who will join more than 40 RBI Fellows on campus.

"We were very pleased with the enthusiastic response to the request for proposals, and with the strength of the responses this year," said RBI Director Norman Marsolan. "We congratulate our winners, and hope to encourage the other submitting investigators, as this year’s project proposals presented a very competitive choice.

"We are also awarding seed-grant funding to four more proposals," he added. "We are delighted to fund eight students through the endowment, and we can use additional member funding to support proof-of-concept research in several other areas of high interest."

The seed grant winners are:

  • Yulin Deng, ChBE, “Novel approach for converting lignin to value-added chemicals and hydrogen”
  • Josh Kacher, CHEM/BioCHEM, “Harnessing in situ TEM heating studies to improve the thermal stability of cellulose nanocrystals”
  • Kyriaki Kalaitzidou, ME, Mark Losego, MSE (et al.), “Enabling the integration of nanocellulose into polymer composites: Chemically modified nanocellulosic films”
  • Surya Kalidindi and Aleksandr Blekh (et al.), “Optimizing metrology analysis for cellulose nanomaterials: An application of data science and informatics toolsets”

All of the projects are available for additional sponsorship to augment the research, which can carry intellectual property rights. "I urge those interested in supporting these projects or engaging with the students and investigators to contact me," Marsolan said. "Georgia Tech’s contract continuum has models to meet any company’s preferences. We are excited about these projects, and the opportunity to develop our students as future leaders of our industry."