MIT Reports to the President 1999–2000


In the academic year 1999—2000 the department maintained its high productivity and visibility. We continued as number one amongst chemical engineering departments in the annual U.S. New and World Report academic survey. We graduated 46 doctoral candidates together with 38 M.S. students, totaling 84 advanced degrees. The research dollar volume of over $17 million was reached to support departmental research activities.

The department’s undergraduate enrollment stands at 259 students with approximately 90 students per graduating class and an equal balance of men and women. Pre-registration for the next year indicates that the incoming class size will be approximately 75.

The graduate student enrollment is stable at 199 students with 145 in the doctoral program and 54 master's students, most of whom are in the David H. Koch School of Chemical Engineering Practice. The class includes 58 foreign, 56 women and 12 minority students. This year we received 401 applications for our graduate program, offered admission to 84 students and had 51 accept our offer. The yield of 61% is the highest of any chemical engineering department in the country.

The department, in collaboration with the Sloan School of Management, initiated a new PhD degree program in Chemical Engineering Practice. This program accepted its first five students interested in this unique curriculum which includes a year of core and elective subjects in chemical engineering, a term in the Chemical Engineering Practice School, a research program leading to preparation of a doctoral thesis and the first year of a Sloan MBA program. Students completing the program will have the option of continuing for an additional year to complete the MBA degree.

Professor K. Dane Wittrup from the University of Illinois joined the department with a two-key appointment to the Division of Bioengineering and Environmental Health. Professor Kenneth Beers, from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, joined the department as Assistant Professor in July 2000 and will initiate his teaching and research program this fall. The department hired Dr. Patrick Doyle from Stanford University. Dr. Doyle is finishing a post-doctoral position and will join us for the 2000—01 academic year as Assistant Professor.

Professor Karen Gleason was promoted to full Professor. She is the first woman to hold this rank in the department. Professor Paula Hammond was promoted to Associate Professor without Tenure beginning July 2000.

Several external alliances emerged as important aspects of departmental programs. Professor Jackie Y. Ying will serve as the chair of the Singapore-MIT Alliance Program on Molecular Engineering of Biological and Chemical Systems. Professors Lauffenburger and Cohen co-direct the new DuPont-MIT Alliance on Bio-Based Materials.

We are again proud of the faculty achievements this year and wish to especially note the following awards. Professor Clark Colton received the Food, Pharmaceutical and Bioengineering Award from the AIChE, Professor Paula Hammond received the Junior Bose Faculty Award for Excellence in Teaching, Professor Howard Brenner was elected to membership in the National Academy of Sciences and received the Warren K. Lewis Award of the American Institute of Chemical Engineering. Professor Robert E. Cohen was named as this year's recipient of the Charles M.A. Stine Award by the American Institute of Chemical Engineers, Professor Klavs F. Jensen received the 2000 R.H. Wilhelm Award from the American Institute of Chemical Engineers, and Professor Jackie Y. Ying is the recipient of the 2000 American Institute of Chemical Engineers (AIChE) Allan P. Colburn Award for excellence in publications.


Table 1: Undergraduate Enrollment over the Last Eight Years













































The undergraduate program remains strong with excellent students. The computing cluster with 32 PCs for use in undergraduate teaching has become an important gathering point for our undergraduates and we have continued to

expand the portfolio of software for use in association with our subjects. This cluster, in addition to the Athena network, provides our students excellent accessibility to the full range of contemporary computing power. UROP activity remains high, with about one-third of our students participating each term. Much of this activity is in the biomedical and biochemical areas.

A continuing trend is the broadening of the industrial base into which our students enter employment upon graduation. A minority now go into the traditional chemical and petroleum industry, with wide involvement in such industries as biotechnology, semiconductor fabrication, personal care products, consulting (technical, environmental and business), and the financial industries.


Table 2: Enrollment by Graduate Degrees over the Last Eight Years





































The total for 1999—2000 includes 58 foreign students, 56 female students, and 12 minority students (not including Asian Americans). Graduate admissions data suggest that graduate enrollment will climb into the low 200s and remain there for the foreseeable future.

In the Spring of 1999, the MIT faculty approved the launch of a new experiment in graduate education involving a partnership between the Department of Chemical Engineering and the Sloan School of Management. The PhDCEP program combines extensive classroom study in the core graduate curricula of both ChemE and Sloan, a term at the stations of the School of Chemical Engineering Practice, an original thesis research project and several integrative projects and seminars. The first group of five PhDCEP students was recruited jointly by a team comprised of members of the Sloan and ChemE graduate admissions committees. These students will matriculate in September, 2000.

Thirty students participated in the David H. Koch School of Chemical Engineering Practice program during the 1999—2000 sessions. GE Plastics continues to host a year-round station, while Cargill will run during spring semesters only, although they also hosted a summer station in June 2000. Last summer we opened a summer station for seven students at Alkermes, Cambridge, MA, while ten students also attended the third summer of operations at the Mitsubishi Chemical Corporation in Mizushima, Japan. Five students from Tokyo University joined the MIT group in August to experiment with a joint program between the two universities. During the fall, students were hosted by Rhone Poulenc in Decines, France. We operated a station at Cabot Corporation, Billerica, MA, during January, 2000, and returned to GE Plastics and Cargill in the Spring of 2000. Dr. Paul Bryan continued as station director for the GE Plastics station. Dr. John Friedly directed the Cargill, Alkermes Cabot and Rhone Poulenc stations. Dr. Barry Johnston directed the Station in Japan, assisted by Alejandro Cano-Ruiz as Assistant Director in summer of 1999, and by Ms. Sonja Sharpe this summer. Professor Alan Hatton continues to direct the Practice School from Cambridge. Carol Phillips, the Practice School Administrative Secretary, retired due to health reasons at the end of June, and will be succeeded by Ms. Arline Benford.


Professor Robert Armstrong continued as Head of the Department of Chemical Engineering during the academic year 1999—2000. He gave an invited presentation on "Chemical Engineering: the Central Engineering Discipline" to the department Heads Forum of the Council for Chemical Research. He served as Program Chair for the Annual

Meeting of the Society of Rheology. He also served on the Visiting Committee for the Department of Chemical Engineering at North Carolina State University.

Professor Paul I. Barton spent two months as Visiting Professor at ENSIC and CNRS, Nancy, France. He gave invited papers at the NSF Workshop on Hybrid Technologies for Waste Minimization, Breckenridge, Colorado; the II Pan American Workshop on Catalysis and Process Systems Engineering, Santa Fe, Argentina; and the Sixth Copper Mountain Conference on Iterative Methods, Copper Mountain, Colorado. He gave invited lectures at the University of Rhode Island; ENSIC Nancy, France; Bayer AG, Leverkusen, Germany; and for the Boston chapter of the AIChE. He continued to serve as the AIChE’s Group 10C Programming Coordinator. He served on the international programming committee for ADCHEM 2000 and the organizing committee of Process Systems Engineering 2000. His group released version 1.0 of the DAEPACK software for the automated symbolic, structural and numerical analysis of models coded in programming languages such as FORTRAN.

Professor Daniel Blankschtein was an invited speaker at the International Cosmetic Exposition 2000 in Miami, and a keynote speaker at the 10th International Conference on "Colloid and Interface Science" in Bristol, UK. He was also a member of the International Advisory Committee for the 13th International Symposium on "Surfactants in Solution" held at the University of Florida, and continues to serve on the Editorial Boards of Current Opinion in Colloid and Interface Science and Marcel Dekker’s Surfactant Science Series. Professor Blankschtein received the Controlled Release Society-Dow Corning Award for the Outstanding Research Paper at the 26th International Symposium on "Controlled Release of Bioactive Materials" held in Boston. He also received the Outstanding Faculty Award from the graduate students in the Department of Chemical Engineering.

Professor Howard Brenner was elected to membership in the National Academy of Sciences. He also received the Warren K. Lewis Award of the American Institute of Chemical Engineering. He served as a member of the Visiting Committee of the Chemical Engineering department at Texas Tech University, as well as on the Chemical Engineering Peer Review Committee of the National Academy of Engineering. During the year he presented invited seminars at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), the Technion, Boston University and Northwestern University, in addition to giving papers at meetings of the Society of Rheology, the American Institute of Chemical Engineers, the American Chemical Society and the American Physical Society.

Professor Robert A. Brown continued serving as Provost at MIT. He was the Kelly Lecturer at Purdue University in the spring of 2000. He also continued as Executive Editor of the Journal of Chemical Engineering Science and as co-chair, with Professor Ronald Breslow of Columbia University, of the National Research Council decadal study on the Frontiers in Chemistry and Chemical Engineering. Among other forms of service, Professor Brown continued to serve on the International Academic Advisory Panel (IAAP) to the Government of Singapore.

Professor Robert E. Cohen was named this year's recipient of the Charles M. A. Stine Award by the American Institute of Chemical Engineers. The award, which recognizes outstanding achievement in research and education in the field of materials engineering, will be presented in November at a banquet in his honor at the Annual Meeting of the AIChE. In the past year Cohen presented invited lectures at the University of Indiana, Tufts University and the University of Rochester; and he delivered a plenary lecture at the Annual Technical Conference of the Society of Plastics Engineers. In June, Cohen and his research group hosted the 8th annual MIT/Princeton Microsymposium on Polymers. In his role as Graduate Officer in the department, he worked with admissions committees from ChemE and the Sloan School of Management to recruit the first group of five graduate students who will matriculate in September in the department's new PhDCEP program. In January, Cohen assumed administrative responsibilities to co-direct, with Professor Douglas Lauffenburger, MIT's activities in the DuPont-MIT Alliance, a $35 million/5 year cooperative venture to develop research and educational programs at the interface between modern biology and functional materials. Outside the Institute, he was Scientific Advisor and Board Member at the William and Mary Greve Foundation in New York City; a member of the Board of Directors of MatTek Corporation, Ashland, Massachusetts; and Associate Editor of the Journal of Polymer Engineering.

Professor Clark K. Colton received the Food, Pharmaceutical, and Bioengineering Award of the American Institute of Chemical Engineers. He presented a keynote lecture at the 74th American Chemical Society Colloid and Surface Science Symposium and a Plenary Lecture at the Annual Meeting of the American Society for Artificial Internal Organs. He gave invited lectures at the WTEC Workshop on Tissue Engineering in the United States and in the

Biotechnology Seminar Series of the Tufts University Science and Technology Center. He served as Chairman of the External Review Committee for the Division of Engineering in the Physical and Mathematical Sciences Cluster Review for Brown University.

Professor Charles L. Cooney continues to serve as the Executive Officer of the department. He is on the Board of the MIT Community Services Fund. He is the Co-director of the Consortium for Advanced Manufacturing of Pharmaceuticals (CAMP), an industry consortium jointly run with Purdue University to support research on pharmaceutical manufacturing and continues as Co-Director of the Program on the Pharmaceutical Industry (POPI) a joint program between the Schools of Engineering, Science and Management. During 1999, he co-chaired the 9th conference on Recovery of Biological Products and participated on the Defense Science Board Task Force on Globalization and Security. He is also on the external review committee for the Department of Chemical Engineering of University of Cambridge and is co-chairing an assessment team for technopreneurship programs in Singapore.

Professor William M. Deen was an invited speaker at a symposium on membrane science at the AIChE Annual Meeting in Dallas, TX, on November 2, 1999. He was an invited speaker also at a symposium on kidney microcirculation at the meeting of the European Society for Microcirculation in Stockholm, Sweden, on June 5, 2000. His laboratory continued its investigations in the areas of hindered transport in fibrous media, water and macromolecule filtration in kidney capillaries, and physico-chemical aspects of nitric oxide toxicity and carcinogenicity.

Professor Karen K. Gleason was promoted to the rank of full Professor and also received the 1999 SRC/SSA SEMATECH Excellence Award for Research in Manufacturing and Environment jointly with collaborator Professor Christopher K. Ober of Cornell University. Professor Gleason was an invited lecturer at Harvard, Cornell, SUNY Albany, DARPA, Shipley, and Lucent Laboratory. She gave other invited presentations at the Gordon Research Conference on Electronic Materials (New Hampshire), the Fluorocarbon Plasma Workshop (France), Polymers for Microelectronics (Delaware), VMIC (California), ACS National Meetings (New Orleans and San Francisco), the Workshop of Low-Dielectric Constant Materials (California), and Semicon West (California). Professor Gleason also serves on the Visiting Committee for the Chemical Engineering department at the Colorado School of Mines.

Professor William H. Green was an invited lecturer at the University of California, Sandia National Laboratory, the American Chemical Society’s National Meeting, and the AIChE National Meeting. He also gave invited presentations at several other conferences, and at several industrial labs (e.g. ABB Alstom Power, Ford Motor Co., and General Motors). He chaired the session on "Reaction Engineering & Catalysis for Advanced Vehicle Fuels" at the 1999 AIChE National Meeting, and will chair a session on "Combustion Reaction Engineering" at the 2000 AIChE National Meeting. He continues to collaborate with several members of the MIT faculty on various research projects, including a project with R.W. Field from the Department of Chemistry, which was seeded through an Edgerly Science Partnership award.

Professor Linda Griffith continues to serve as PI on a DARPA project to develop tissue-based sensors for biological warfare agents, collaborating with R. Kamm, P. Laibinis, D. Schauer, J. Sherley, P. So, and S. Tannenbaum at MIT, G. Daley at WI, J. Vacanti & R. Lee at HMS, and J. Wands at Brown U. She also continues to work in the area of new polymers for tissue engineering and cell biology. She chaired an NIH workshop on Tissue Genesis and Organogensis for the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute, and was elected to serve on the Surgery and Bioengineering Study section. She gave several invited talks at conferences, other universities, and government panels. At MIT, she continues to serve as the Associate Director of Education for BPEC and as head of the Biotech Student Leadership Council.

Professor Paula T. Hammond recently received the Junior Bose Faculty Award for Excellence in Teaching, which was presented by the Dean of Engineering and Professor Amar Bose. She was also the recipient of the GenCorp Foundation Signature University Award for "outstanding research in polymer science and technology" and the Lloyd Ferguson Young Scientist Award. Dr. Hammond was an invited lecturer at several international and national meetings, companies, and universities, including Princeton, Cornell and Columbia Universities. She was also invited to speak at the 2000 Gordon Conference on Polymers Physics as well as the Polymers East 2000 Gordon Conference. Dr. Hammond chaired the 1999 Materials Research Society Symposium on Nonlithographic Approaches to Organized Structures in December, 1999. Prof. Hammond was promoted to Associate Professor without Tenure effective July 1, 2000.

Professor T. Alan Hatton continued to serve as Director of the School of Chemical Engineering Practice at MIT. Invited talks were given at the CEA Saclay, France; Max Planck Society, Golm, Germany; Nestle Research, Lausanne, Switzerland; Warner Lambert, NJ.; and the Universities of Rhode Island and Florida, in addition to many

other presentations at national and international meetings. He was on the Organizing committee for Surfactants in Solution 2000 conference in Gainesville, FL. Professor Hatton played a significant role in establishing the "Molecular Engineering of Biological and Chemical Systems" program under the Singapore-MIT Alliance. He serves on the editorial boards of a number of scientific journals.

Professor Jack B. Howard continues to serve as Director of the Center on Airborne Organics involving MIT, California Institute of Technology and New Jersey Institute of Technology. He continues to do collaborative research with J.B. Vander Sande (MSE) on fullerenic carbon materials. He gave invited lectures at University of Michigan and New Jersey Institute of Technology on ultrafine atmospheric particles from combustion sources, and at University of Arizona and Technical University of Darmstadt in Germany on combustion synthesis of fullerenes.

Professor Klavs F. Jensen received the 2000 R.H. Wilhelm Award for reaction engineering from the American Institute of Chemical Engineers. He presented the 2000 Berkeley Lectures at the University of California, Berkeley. Professor Jensen continued research on multiscale modeling of reactive processes for thin film deposition, microfabricated chemical systems for synthesis and analysis [in collaboration with Martin A. Schmidt (EECS)], novel quantum dot composite materials for optical devices [in collaboration research with M.G. Bawendi (Chemistry)]. He gave several invited presentations on multiscale modeling of thin film deposition and on microchemical systems at the national and international conferences Foundations of Computer Aided Process Design, the Materials Research Society, the Royal Society of Chemistry, the American Institute of Chemical Engineers and at universities, including ETH-Zurich, Technical University Eindhoven - The Netherlands, U. Arizona, and Stanford.

Professor Paul E. Laibinis was promoted to Associate Professor without Tenure, effective July 1, 1999. He delivered the PPG Lecture on Interfaces and Polymers at Harvard University and was an invited speaker at the Gordon Conference on Organic Thin Films, an NSF Workshop on Materials Chemistry, the Volkswagen Foundation Advanced Materials Search Conference, and the 2nd International Symposium on Contact Angle, Wettability, and Adhesion. He gave invited seminars at Vanderbilt University, Syracuse University, the Max-Planck Institute for Polymer Research, the Max-Planck-Institute of Colloids and Interfaces, and at various industrial laboratories. He was selected as a Young Observer to represent the US at the General Assembly of the International Union of Pure and Applied Chemists in Berlin.

Professor Robert Langer received a number of awards in 1999, including the American Chemical Society's Award in Polymer Chemistry, the American Chemical Society's Northeast Section Esselen Award, and the American Pharmaceutical Association's Ebert Prize. Dr. Langer has also been honored as the Beckman Lecturer at the University of Illinois at Urbana, the Reilly Lecturer at the University of Notre Dame, and as the G.N. Lewis Medal winner and Lecturer at the University of California at Berkeley. He gave the Opening Plenary Lecture at the Ninth International Symposium on Recent Advances in Drug Delivery Systems in Salt Lake City, Utah; the Plenary Lecture at the Tutzing-Symposium in Bavaria, Germany; the Opening Plenary Lecture at the 1999 AIMBE Annual Meeting; the Plenary Lecture at the 26th International Symposium on Controlled Release of Bioactive Materials, CRS, in Boston, MA; the Keynote Lecture at the Tissue Engineering Conference for International Business Communications in Boston, MA; the Plenary Lecture at the American Society for Mass Spectrometry in Dallas, TX; and the Keynote Lecture at the Biomaterials of the Future Conference and Exhibition in San Francisco, CA.

Professor Douglas A. Lauffenburger was honored during this past year by the Engineering Foundation with the Amgen Award in Biochemical Engineering and by the California Institute of Technology with the Lacey Lectureship in Chemical Engineering; and was elected as Chair-Elect of the College of Fellows of the American Institute of Medical & Biological Engineering. He was also appointed to serve on the Advisory Committee of the Burroughs-Wellcome Program on Interfaces Between the Physical, Chemical, and Computational Sciences. Along with his ongoing duties as Co-Director of the Division of Bioengineering and Environmental Health and the Director of the Biotechnology Process Engineering Center, he was appointed Associate Director of the MIT-DuPont Alliance in Bio-Based Materials.

Professor Gregory McRae, has served on two National Research Council (NRC) panels, one for the National Academy of Sciences on the role of mathematics in physical sciences and another to review the North American Research Strategy for Tropospheric Ozone (NARSTO). In addition, he has been appointed by secretary William Richardson to advise the Department of Energy (DoE) on computational science and engineering. He has given numerous keynote talks on his research on product and process design strategies to improve commercial and environmental performance of chemical plants. A project he initiated last year with Professor Mario Molina of EAPS to understand the formation and transport of air pollution in major cities like Mexico City has now grown to a collaborative team of more than 60 researchers from MIT, Harvard, Mexican universities and industry. Professor

McRae is continuing to serve as a member of the Executive Committee of the Partnership for Advanced Computational Infrastructure (PACI). The goal of the 5 year project is to create a high performance distributed computing system across the United States.

Professor Gregory C. Rutledge was a Visiting Professor of Polymer Physics at the University of Leeds, UK, in Fall, 1999. He presented invited lectures at the 2nd Monte Verita Symposium on Modeling of Materials (Ascona, CH); the American Chemical Society Symposium in honor of Andrew Keller; the Engineering Foundation Conference on Processing of Fibers and Composites (Castelvecchio, IT); the Institut Charles Sadron of the CNRS (Strassbourg, FR); and the Department of Materials at the University of Oxford, UK. In Fall 2000, he will hold the H.A. Morton Distinguished Visiting Professorship in Polymer Science at the University of Akron. He was recipient of the OMNOVA Solutions Signature University Award. He continues to serve as chairman of the Chemical Engineering Department Graduate Admissions Committee and on the editorial boards of Polymer and of Computational and Theoretical Polymer Science.

Professor Herbert Sawin continues to study the kinetics of the processes used in microelectronics fabrication and also to model the plasma reactors these fabrications employ. He delivered an invited lecture at the Dry Process Symposium in Tokyo on a novel dry cleaning technique for wafer processing that reduces the use of toxic chemicals. At the New England meeting of the American Vacuum Society, he presented an invited paper on the surface kinetics of plasma etching processes which are used to pattern the submicron dimensions on wafers. He was also invited to present short courses on plasma processing at Kodak Corporation and Axcelis Technologies Inc. One U.S. patent on a metal removal process for microelectronics wafer cleaning has been issued to him this year and for two others, U.S. applications were made: a method for the growth of teflon-like films using thermal CVD, and a method for all-dry wafer cleaning and oxide etching,

Professor Kenneth A. Smith has continued his research on the roles of fluid mechanics and transport phenomena in a number of contexts. These include use of the supercritical water oxidation process for destruction of organic wastes (jointly with Prof. J. W. Tester) and the dynamics of micellar self-assembly (jointly with Prof. T. A. Hatton). He is also engaged in the development of an instrument which can determine the size-segregated chemical composition of an aerosol and do so in real time. Elsewhere, Professor Smith served within the National Academy of Engineering as chairman of the membership search committee for the Chemical Engineering Section.

Professor George Stephanopoulos was the Distinguished Lecturer in Chemical Engineering Research at Carnegie Mellon University (April 2000) and he presented a seminar in the Chemical Engineering Department of the University of Texas, Austin (May 2000). He was also invited to be the 2000 Roger Sargent Lecturer at Imperial

College, London. In June 2000 he was appointed to the position of the Chief Technology Officer for the group of companies of the Mitsubishi Chemical Corporation, taking a leave of absence from MIT. In January 2000 he chaired the Technical Advisory Board that Mitsubishi Chemical Corporation convened to evaluate the Mitsubishi Kasei Life Sciences Institute. In 1999 he and Professor Gregory Stephanopoulos established the "Laboratory for Metabolic Engineering and Bioinformatics" and initiated a number of industrial collaborations in this important area. In the Spring semester he and Professor Gregory Stephanopoulos introduced the new course "Bioinformatics: Principles, Methods, and Applications" that drew students from Chemical Engineering, Biology, Chemistry, the HST Program, and the Harvard Medical School. A short course with the same title was taught for the first time in June 2000 and drew a large number of academics and industrial researchers from around the country and overseas.

Professor Gregory Stephanopoulos initiated a new program in Bioinformatics and Metabolic Engineering that aims at the integration of new genomic technologies to the rational analysis and modification of metabolic pathways for the production of chemicals and pharmaceuticals. This program comprises a research component as well as courses on Metabolic Engineering and a new course on Bioinformatics. Professor Stephanopoulos continued as co-editor of

the journal Metabolic Engineering that he launched last year published by Academic Press. He delivered plenary lectures at the 11th Conference of Biochemical Engineering (Salt Lake City, 99), the 7th Cell Culture Engineering conference, the 9th European Conference on Biotechnology, the Annual SIM Conference, and the British Research Council on the application of genomics to biotechnology. On sabbatical during the spring semester of 2000, he visited and gave lectures at the Catholic University of Chile, the University of Chile, the University of Florida, the University of Utah, Penn State University, University of Massachusetts, Imperial College and Delft University of Technology. These efforts aim at developing the technological applications of biology as the enabling science of the next century.

Professor Jefferson W. Tester continued as the Director of the Energy Laboratory throughout the academic year 1999—2000. He served as chair of the National Advisory Council of the DOE’s National Renewable Energy Laboratory and served as a member of the National Research Council’s committee evaluating the DOE’s Office of Power Technologies R&D programs. Professor Tester also continued as a member of the advisory group for the Paul Scherrer Institute which is part of the Swiss Federal Institutes of Technology. He was appointed to Cornell University’s Advisory Council, to Governor Cellucci’s Advisory Council for the Massachusetts Renewable Energy Trust Fund and to chair the Technical Advisory Board of the China Energy Technology Project. Last year, he gave invited plenary lectures at the Annual National Association of Corrosion Engineers annual meeting, Waterloo University, International Symposium on Supercritical Fluids, and the Paul Scherrer Institute in Switzerland.

Professor Bernhardt Trout received an NSF CAREER award. He has continued theoretical work on natural gas production from hydrates, lean NOx -trapping automotive catalysts, and zeolitic catalysis. This work is done in collaboration with the Department of Energy, Ford Motor Company, and Chevron Technology Company, in addition to experimental groups at several major universities. He has recently begun a project with Professor Daniel I.C. Wang on the effects of solvation structure on protein stabilization.

Professor Daniel I. C. Wang was the 1999—2000 Ashton Cary Lecturer at the Department of Chemical Engineering, Georgia Institute of Technology. He also delivered the Inaugural Address at the "Frontiers of Biotechnology" in the Department of Chemical Engineering, MIT. Professor Wang was the Chairman of the Strategic Review Board on Biotechnology organized by Minister George Shieh-Chien Yang, Minister of State, Republic of China. He also chaired the International Advisory Panel for the Bioprocessing Technology Center, National University of Singapore. Professor Wang was invited to be on the Advisory Committee of the Biomedical Engineering Center, Industrial Technology Research Institute, Taiwan, Republic of China. Lastly, Professor Wang was a member of the National Research Council's Committee on Opportunities in Biotechnology for the US Army.

Professor K. Dane Wittrup joined the faculty as a two-key Professor in the Department of Chemical Engineering and the Division of Bioengineering and Environmental Health in August ’99. He was elected a Fellow in the American Institute of Medical and Biological Engineers, and was named the University of New Mexico College of Engineering Distinguished Young Alumnus for 1999. He was invited to present the Colburn Lectureship at the University of Delaware, as well as ten other invited talks, including the NAE German-American Frontiers of Engineering, University of Connecticut, and University of Wisconsin/Madison. He currently serves on the national Awards Committee of AIChE.

Professor Jackie Y. Ying was named a TR100 Young Innovator by Technology Review in 1999, and she is the recipient of the 2000 American Institute of Chemical Engineers (AIChE) Allan P. Colburn Award for excellence in publications. She delivered sixteen invited lectures at various international conferences and national meetings during the past year, including the plenary lecture at the 14th International Symposium on Industrial Crystallization in U.K. She served as the Chair of the Engineering Foundation Conference on Processing and Catalytic/Chemical Properties of Nanostructured Materials, and as the Co-Chair of the American Ceramic Society Symposium on Self-Assembled

Ceramics via Complex Fluids. Professor Ying was an invited seminar speaker at the University of Cambridge, University of Colorado, Brigham Young University, Princeton University, and Georgia Institute of Technology. She was recently appointed as an Advisory Editor of Molecular and Chemical Sciences and an Editorial Board member of Journal of Metastable and Nanostructured Materials, and serves on the editorial boards of four other journals/book series. Professor Ying is a Director of the AIChE Materials Engineering and Sciences Division, and an Executive Committee Member of the American Chemical Society Colloid and Surface Chemistry Division. She is chairing the new Singapore-MIT Alliance Program on Molecular Engineering of Biological and Chemical Systems.


Biopharmaceutical Protein Engineering

The new generation of biotechnological protein-based drugs includes monoclonal antibodies such as Herceptin and Rituxan for the treatment of breast cancer and lymphoma, respectively. Over 100 such antibodies are currently being evaluated in clinical trials, representing an extraordinary wave of new therapeutic "magic bullets" in the pipeline for treatment of cancer, autoimmune, and cardiovascular diseases. All antibodies function by binding specifically to a particular biomolecular target, and a key leverage point for improving the efficacy of such drugs is often to increase the strength of that binding interaction.

Professor Wittrup’s group has developed a method for engineering such protein recognition properties, by a process termed "directed evolution." In essence, a Darwinian competition is established in the test tube amongst a collection of over 106 protein mutants, each displayed on the surface of a single yeast cell. By a quantitatively optimized procedure, the best mutants are isolated and mutated again, and the cycle of mutation and selection is repeated until the desired binding objective is reached. In model studies, an antibody that originally bound its target with a dissociation half life of approximately one minute was engineered to bind with a dissociation half-life of over five days. Wittrup’s group is now extending this approach to therapeutically relevant targets, having established collaborations with clinical investigators in the areas of colon cancer, lymphoma, liver cancer and breast cancer.

Molecular Engineering of Surfaces

Professor Laibinis and his group have been developing a variety of active surfaces that by their design offer function and provide new properties as a result of molecular-level engineering. A recurring feature of their work is how nanoscopic changes in the structure and composition of an interface can provide dramatic change in surface properties. Adsorption, adhesion, and wetting are examples where molecular (and some times even atomic) additions to a surface can produce visual changes in these properties. Such changes can provide new levels of activity to a surface. In a recent example, the Laibinis group has prepared surfaces with reactive nucleating sites for the spontaneous and directed growth of polymer films from these surfaces. These films provide new levels of control for generating conducting polymer films on semiconductor surfaces and for producing patterned resist layers on surfaces for lithography.

The reactive nature of a surface can be tailored with exquisite control to perform large-scale operations. By tailoring surfaces to express CO2H groups, the Laibinis group has developed methods based on self-assembly that can cause liquid droplets to spontaneously move on surfaces in specified directions and along desired paths. These self-propelled drops can move on the surface at velocities up to 1 cm/s and do so by converting surface energies to kinetic energies. This method is envisioned as a pump-less strategy for delivering liquids within microfluidic devices. In another development, the Laibinis group has been able to electroplate a single layer of silver onto a gold electrode and produce a sensor for measuring the chloride, bromide, and iodide concentrations in dilute solutions. The silver layer provides binding sites for the halides and produces distinct signals each time one of these halides

adsorbs onto one of the silver atoms on the gold surface. The sensor is amenable to miniaturization, and its ability to generate three species by a single electrode is noteworthy. Its operation comes from a sub-nanometer change in the electrode surface.

The Laibinis group has also begun efforts to graft biomolecules to surfaces for sensing operations. A recent tool for genomic diagnostics is the gene chip, and a current challenge for this technology is the ability to controllably immobilize long DNA strands to their surface. By relying on base pairing as a strategy for self-assembling DNA strands to a surface, a new method has been developed that generates end-grafted single-stranded DNA molecules on surfaces that are hundreds (rather than tens) of base units in length. These DNA brush structures offer high efficiency for characterizing the sequence of unknown DNA molecules and allow screening of a wider genetic sequence space than done by available methods.

Highly Selective Control of the Dynamics of Heterogeneous Processes

Heterogeneous processes are of utmost importance and are practically omnipresent in the chemical industry. They include catalysis, adsorptive separations, and dissolution and growth of solids. Nevertheless, our understanding of these processes is primitive, and thus our ability to control them is limited. For example, solid-liquid and solid-gas interfaces are generally considered to be rigid; heterogeneous catalysts are modeled as a collection of one or two

sites with static reactivites; and nucleation, growth, and dissolution of solids in liquids can be modeled only roughly, generally by assuming diffusive control or first-order reaction processes. On the other hand, these assumptions and models can be at best only rough approximations or heuristic rules that in the end limit our ability to model and thus control heterogeneous processes. Professor Trout's group is developing a molecular-level understanding of these processes and using this understanding to control processes and to develop catalysts with unprecedented selectivity. Our ability to do this is based on the use of quantum mechanical and statistical mechanical computational methodologies.

We are working with Ford Motor Company to develop a new generation of highly selective automotive catalysts, called lean-NOx catalysts. These catalysts would lead to up to a 10-fold decrease in automotive emissions, but are currently unusable because sulfur, even in very low concentrations, poisons them. We have shown that morphology and particle size can affect the energy of adsorption of chemical species by up to 50 kcal/mol. Currently, we are determining the effect of these changes on the reactivity of these catalysts in order to promote beneficial reactions, while hindering reactions that lead to sulfur poisoning. We are also working on hydrocarbon reactions in zeolites, and have shown that charged species can be mobile inside the zeolite, which acts as a "solvent." In addition, we have elucidated various reaction mechanisms involved in the synthesis of olefins.

We are also working on the modeling of clathrate-hydrates joint with Professor Jefferson W. Tester in the Energy Laboratory and the Department of Energy. Clathrate-hydrates are ice-like materials that trap small molecules, such as methane or CO2 at high concentrations. There is thought to be up to 1000 times more energy in methane clathrate-hydrates than in all other fossil fuels combined, and thus, we are working on ways of destabilizing them to extract the methane. In addition, CO2 clathrate-hydrates may serve as a way of sequestering and/or storing CO2, but a basic understanding of the formation and dissolution of these materials is lacking, and we are our understanding of these. We are also developing and applying methodologies to study heterogeneous processes on ice particles that lead to ozone depletion in the stratosphere. This work is joint with Prof. Mario Molina. Finally, together with Professor Daniel I. C. Wang, we are working on the stabilization of therapeutic proteins via adjusting the local solvation structure.


The Chemical Engineering department's annual Awards Ceremony was held on Monday, May 8, 2000, in Gilliland Auditorium with Professor and department Head Robert C. Armstrong presiding. The following awards were presented:

In conjunction with the Student Financial Aid Office, the James E. Cunningham ’57 Scholarship to Akaniyene E. Umoh, a junior from Providence, RI; and the John H. Dessauer Scholarship to Deepa R. Patel, a junior from Katy, TX.

Merck Fellowships were acknowledged for recipients Nganfong Huang, a sophomore from Brooklyn, NY, and Luwam G. Semere, a junior from Buffalo, NY.

The Dow Chemical Company Outstanding Junior Award recipient was Agnieszka N. Stachowiak, a junior from Ann Arbor, MI, for her balanced record of achievement in academics and campus professional and social organizations, as well as work experience.

The Robert T. Haslam Cup was awarded to Matthew J. Alvarado, a senior from Raymore, MO, for outstanding professional promise in chemical engineering.

The Roger de Friez Hunneman Prize, the oldest prize in the department (begun in 1927), was awarded to Lin Shi, a senior from El Monte, CA, in recognition of outstanding scholarship and research.

The Edward W. Merrill Outstanding Teaching Assistant Awards were presented to Michael J. Buchanan, a graduate student from Farmington Hills, MI, and Caroline P. Chen, a graduate student from Englewood, CO, for excellence in teaching in an undergraduate subject (10.37/Spring 2000).

Chemical Engineering department Special Service Awards were given to Brian D. Harms, a graduate student from Prior Lake, MN; Daniel D. Burkey, a graduate student from Doylestown, PA; Geoffrey D. Moeser, a graduate student from Burlington, Ontario; Canada, Bryant R.McLaughlin, a senior from Santa Ana, CA; and Janet E. Fischer, Graduate Administrator, for their unselfish contributions to the success of departmental activities.

The Chemical Engineering "ROCK" Award for outstanding athletics, as voted by the graduate students of the department, went to Joshua D. Taylor, a graduate student from Rancho Cordova, CA.

The Outstanding Employee Award was presented to Patricia A. Sampson, an Administrative Assistant in Chemical Engineering Headquarters, for her exceptional service to the departmental faculty, staff, and students. The Outstanding Faculty Award from the graduate students was presented to Professor Daniel Blankschtein. Undergraduate students in the department presented an Outstanding Faculty Award to Professor C. Michael Mohr.

An Individual Accomplishment Citation was presented to Christina M. Wilbert, a junior from Ada, MI, for her outstanding contributions to departmental life. Wilbert was the recipient of the fifth offering of this special award, and received a personalized citation signed by the department Head.

Professor Armstrong acknowledged departmental recipients of awards from the MIT Awards Convocation held on May 2nd. Those receiving Institute honors included Ronald E. McNair Scholarship Awardees, Carla M. Merritt, a junior from Raleigh, NC, and Stephany C. Espy, a junior from Decatur, GA.

More information about this department can be found on the World Wide Web at

Robert C. Armstrong

MIT Reports to the President 1999–2000