The Chemmat Knit – Newsletter

June 2019

 

Dear Colleagues

The June 2019 issue has been an interesting one to put together. For me, it helped capture the natural diversity, of the many attributes, that the Chemmat family and spirit embodies. From world-class students excelling in top universities around the world, to fun-loving students enjoying beer and socialising, to the gentleness of breaking a fast as a community, we have – and enjoy – it all!

Of special note too is the Chemical and Materials Engineering Students Association (CMESA) who are featured in our department newsletter for the first time. CMESA is a self-organised group of students, who have very capably got together to create some pretty fantastic events – both fun and professional – and they are a testament to the creative energy of our student body. The department has ‘joined forces’ with CMESA to enrich the student experience and hope for a long and fruitful partnership.

Finally, the year is at the mid-point – too fast! – and we are in the midst of ending Semester I and soon to begin Semester II at the end of July. Wishing all our readers a safe and pleasant winter season, and talk to you again soon in Spring!

The department reaffirms its commitment to zero tolerance –  of bigotry, discrimination and prejudice.

 

Ashvin Thambyah

Associate Professor & Head of Department

Chemical & Materials Engineering

 

 

Checkout the Chemmat Gold Fund – The fund has been established to help create an inspirational learning and research environment designed to prepare our engineers of the future, for the future.

Chemmat – well presented at Cambridge

Chemmat – well presented at Cambridge

In May we had a visit from Chemmat graduate Reece Oosterbeek, who is in the midst of an exciting PhD program at Cambridge University. Reece received a prestigious Woolf Fisher scholarship to undertake doctoral studies at the Department of Materials Science and...

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A great outcome from MIT

A great outcome from MIT

Congratulations to Dr Geran Zhang – Chemmat grad who completed a PhD at the prestigious Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Geran visited the department in May with the good news that he has not only completed his PhD at MIT, where he was on a full scholarship...

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Chemmat Mixer 2019 – Shadows

Chemmat Mixer 2019 – Shadows

Each year the department ‘facilitates’ a mixer, organised by the Year Three students, that brings both staff and students of the department for an evening of casual mixing. The aim of this annual event is to foster a sense of collegiality and camaraderie amongst all...

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Urbanaut Brewery Tour

Urbanaut Brewery Tour

By Thomas Chong, CHEMMAT student On the 10/5/2019, the groovy crew of CMESA visited the Urbanauts Brewery for a day of “educational” sampling and exposure to what a chemical and materials engineering degree can offer. After the overwhelmingly positive response from...

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Goals of Chemmat’s Teaching & Learning Committee

Goals of Chemmat’s Teaching & Learning Committee

Chemmat’s Teaching and Learning Committee, chaired by A/P Peng Cao,  is working to achieve Chemmat’s strategic goals relating to teaching and learning. In order to reduce the number of red-flagged courses, the Committee is working closely with...

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Autumn Graduation – 6 May 2019

Autumn Graduation – 6 May 2019

The department enjoyed celebrating the success of our graduates, both undergrad and postgrad, as they marched onto stage at the Aotea Center to collect their hard-won certificates. All the best to all graduates!

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Students visit Methanex

Students visit Methanex

On Thursday, 21 and Friday, 22 March a group of 56 students and three staff from the University of Auckland visited Methanex NZ Ltd to provide practical experience on a live plant.  This visit is organised every year by Robert Kirkpatrick and Harvey Weake who are both...

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Chemmat Careers Evening

Chemmat Careers Evening

Every year, the department invites industry, to send some representatives over to speak to our department undergraduates. On 16th May we had our Careers Evening where we had the following set of speakers: “Driving sustainability through Food & Innovation at...

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Chemmat Techs nominated for Health & Safety award

Chemmat Techs nominated for Health & Safety award

Earlier this year Chemmat lent a hand to the Civil & Environmental Department to help clean up a significant chemical spill incident in their laboratory. Although this was a team response, it met the threshold to be nominated for an award in the Health, Safety...

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Seminar on Virtual Bioprocess Plants

Seminar on Virtual Bioprocess Plants

Dr Mansouri being introduced by Prof Brent Young at the seminar.   On 7th March 2019, the department held a seminar where invited academic Dr Seyed Soheil Mansouri, from the Technical University of Denmark, gave a talk on his work Towards Development of Virtual...

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Postgraduate News

Postgraduate News

Post Graduate Lunch The department hosted our post-graduate students to a modest lunch. This was an opportunity for the diverse groups of PG students to mix and mingle, together with staff, and build collegiality.     Persian New Year Nowruz or Persian New Year...

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Chemmat’s ‘Research Impact Day’

Chemmat’s ‘Research Impact Day’

On the 26th of February 2019, the department held a workshop among academic staff members to generate and capture group discussions on (1) Traditional forms of research impact, and (2) Non-traditional forms of research impact. This whole-day workshop was held at the...

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TMS Conference

TMS Conference

Peng Cao attended the 148th TMS Annual Meeting held in San Antonio, USA, from March 10 – 14, 2019. He presented an invited talk in the “Solidification Processing of Light Metals and Alloys: An MPMD Symposium in Honor of David St John”. During the four-day conference,...

Chemmat alumni sworn in as National MP

Chemmat alumni sworn in as National MP

Congratulations to 1990’s Chemmat alumni Agnes Loheni for having been sworn in as a National list MP. Click here to read Agnes’s Wikipedia page and here to read her parliamentary...

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Meet the researchers: A self-healing solution for battery tech

Meet the researchers: A self-healing solution for battery tech

Battery technology is a science hot-spot around the world. Multimillion-dollar research companies in the United States, China, Japan and Europe are racing to find the next big capacity boost to overtake the current front-runner – lithium-ion batteries. In New Zealand,...

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PacSurf – Waikoloa, Hawaii

PacSurf – Waikoloa, Hawaii

Chemmat’s Senior Lecturer, Dr Jenny Malmström was invited to speak in the biomaterial surfaces and interfaces session at the Pacific Rim Symposium of Surfaces, Coatings and Interfaces. The conference was held at the Waikoloa Beach Marriott Resort and Spa, Hawaii, from 2-6 December, 2018. Jenny spoke about work from her group functionalising proteins with iron particles as well as their efforts in using block copolymers to create functional biointerfaces. Her talk was received well, probably partly due to the open bar at the rear of the lecture hall!

Apart from the plenary lecture and few selected talks, Jenny mainly attended the ‘bio-session’, which was very relevant to her research area. Two of these bio-sessions were devoted to celebrating 35 years of NESAC/BIO and showcased high profile speakers who are or have been associated with this centre over the last 23 years. Highlights included talks by Sally McArthur (Swinburne, AUS), Tobias Weidner (Aarhus, DK), Buddy Ratner (Washington) and David Castner (Washington). The conference also included sessions on energy harvesting and storage, nanomaterials, plasma processing and thin films. There was one plenary lecture, given by Mauricio Terrones on defects in 2D metal dichalcogenides and their effects on the material properties.

 

Conference on Micro & Nanotechnology in Medicine

Conference on Micro & Nanotechnology in Medicine

The IEEE EMBS fourth biennial Conference on Micro and Nanotechnology in Medicine was held in Kauai, Hawaii from 10-14 December 2018. Chemmat’s Head of Department, Assoc Prof Ashvin Thambyah attended the meeting at which the “biomedical grand challenges facing our society” were addressed at “the scale of biology with Micro and Nanoscale technologies.”

At this ‘Gordon Conference’ style meeting, top researchers from the universities such as the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Stanford, Berkeley, and Wisconsin presented their career journeys in developing new technologies for diagnostics, therapeutics, enhancement of physiological function, disease management, or early monitoring and prevention.

Tejal Desai from UCSF, by using micro and nanostructured materials was able to modulate the therapeutic microenvironment and enhance both implant performance and the host response.

Erkin Seker of UC Davis similarly was able to tune mass transport of biomolecules by controlling the multiscale morphology of miniaturised devices.

In the wearable sensors field, Wei Gao (not to be confused with our very own Wei Gao) from Caltech, showed his latest advances in sensing physiology, based on his earlier work where he developed sensors that could measure in real-time a range of important metabolites, including glucose, from sweat!

Ashvin also had the opportunity to meet one of the invited speakers, Professor Lim Chwee Teck, who, like many of the speakers at the conference, has an impressive research track record that includes high-level science publications as well as commercially successful research enterprises. His nature-published work on capturing circulating cancer cells is directly related to a clinical and commercial application that has recently been listed on the stock market as an initial public offering.

Prof Lim has kindly accepted an invitation to visit Auckland this year and will give a couple of seminars. He will also discuss with university staff members on future research ideas and collaborations.

 

End-of-year Part IV presentations (2018)

End-of-year Part IV presentations (2018)

Chemmat students and staffEach year the department offers approximately 70 research projects to our Part IV students. Each student conducts his/her independent research under the supervision of a staff member. Some of the projects are part of large research...

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Dr Jenny Malmström features in top journal

Dr Jenny Malmström features in top journal

International journal Biointerphases has released a special issue highlighting women in Biointerface Science. Chemmat’s Senior Lecturer, Dr Jenny Malström features on the cover with other international researchers. The editorial showcases the careers of these women...

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Chemmat’s funding successes

Chemmat’s funding successes

Engineering research at the University of Auckland attracted more than $2M in funding from 2018’s Marsden Fund, a significant increase over 2017. Congratulations Assoc Prof Peng Cao, Dr Shanghai Wei and Prof Mark Taylor for their research grant wins: –         ...

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PhD student Andy Zhang wins best poster

PhD student Andy Zhang wins best poster

Congratulations Chemmat PhD student, Hongzhou (Andy) Zhang (supervised by Assoc Prof Peng Cao) for winning best poster prize at the 2018 World Congress on Powder Metallurgy. The conference was held in Beijing, China from 16-20 September, 2018. When asked about the...

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Prof Brent Young chairs discussion at the business school

Prof Brent Young chairs discussion at the business school

The Food and Health Programme and University of Auckland Business School’s Graduate School of Management co-hosted a visiting group of 25 MBA students from Stanford University, USA in December 2018. The visiting students were in New Zealand to understand how...

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FOMA

FOMA

The Federation of Māori Authorities (FOMA) held its 31st annual conference in Gisborne, from 2-3 November, 2018. FOMA is an organisation that was established in 1987 and provides the voice of Māori businesses to government and other authorities. Each year FOMA gathers...

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The Part IV leavers’ dinner (2018)

The Part IV leavers’ dinner (2018)

On 25 October 2018, Part IV students and staff gathered at Old Government House to celebrate the culmination of four years of hard work and the end of their undergraduate degree. It was an extremely happy evening, kicked off with a hilariously true-to-form speech by...

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Alumni news & weblinks

Alumni news & weblinks

The above photo was taken in the Chemmat Year 1 Microscope Laboratory in 2009 of some of the participants during a tour of the School of Engineering for their 20-Year Reunion. The Class of 1989 (Final year 1988, about 30 of them) are planning a 30-Year Reunion in...

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Prof Naz Karim visits from Texas A&M University

Prof Naz Karim visits from Texas A&M University

On 7 January 2019, the department welcomed a visit by Dr Nazmul Karim, Professor and Head of the Artie McFerrin Department of Chemical Engineering Texas A&M University, and Holder of the Michael O’Connor Chair II. We were delighted that Prof Karim (Naz) found some...

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Something’s been brewing at Chemmat!

Something’s been brewing at Chemmat!

During Semester II 2018, a group of Part IV students, spearheaded by Adam Cameron and Ellie McBurney, began brewing beers in the Park Ave food lab. The project was designed as a hands-on learning experience, to support theoretical process knowledge learnt during Part...

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