Several academics in the Department of Chemical Engineering have been recognised for significant achievements within their fields.
Each year the Institution of Chemical Engineers (IChemE) recognises achievements and outstanding work in all fields of chemical engineering from around the world. The medals, named after exceptional chemical engineers, are awarded based on the nominations received by IChemE. This year six of our academic staff members, along with one PhD student, one alumna and two former colleagues, received IChemE medals for their contributions to different aspects of chemical engineering research.
Professor Omar Matar, Head of Chemical Engineering, said: “I am immensely proud of our students, staff, and alumni, and grateful to the IChemE for its recognition of their outstanding achievements across all areas of chemical engineering.”
Professor Cleo Kontoravdi was awarded the Donal Medal in recognition of the impact she has made in the field of biochemical engineering, with sustained contributions in research, teaching and mentorship. Her multidisciplinary work combines experimental and computational tools to address challenges in therapeutic protein and vaccine manufacturing and has been widely adopted in industry. She serves as an ambassador for chemical engineering in the media, with interviews for Sky News and the Times among her credits, and is a role model for researchers of all ages, including inspiring school children into STEM careers through outreach activities.
Professor Kontoravdi said: “I am delighted to receive the Donald medal and would like to share it with past and present members of my research group. It is truly an honour to join such a prestigious list of awardees, some of whom have been important role models and mentors in my career.”
Professor Amparo Galindo has been awarded the Guggenheim Medal which recognises a major contribution to research in the area of thermodynamics and complex fluids. Professor Galindo is an outstanding academic who has graduated more than 30 PhD students so far and develops and applies various aspects of the SAFT EOS to solve practical problems involving complex systems such as electrolytes, pharmaceuticals and multicomponent mixtures. The high positive impact of this research has been demonstrated in the energy, chemicals, and pharmaceuticals industrial sectors.
Professor Galindo said: “I am honoured to receive the Guggenheim Medal and very grateful to the IChemE for this recognition. It is a great privilege to work extending the reach thermodynamics. I am very thankful to all my students and collaborators over the years, who form a great a great community to work in.”
Dame Judith Hackitt has been awarded the Hanson Medal for her article ‘Ethics Series: Did you sleep well?’ in The Chemical Engineer. It was cited by the judging panel as a ‘thought-provoking and well-written article that draws on personal experience to reflect on the choice between making an expedient decision that people want to hear versus making a decision that allows you to know you have done the right thing when safety of people and the environment are at stake.’
Dame Hackitt is an alumna of the Department (Chemical Engineering BSc Eng, 1975) and a current member of its Strategic Advisory Board. She has formerly served as Chair of the UK Health and Safety Executive (HSE) and Chair of the Independent Review of Building Regulations and Fire Safety, and was involved in some of the early work carried out by the Engineering Council and the Royal Academy of Engineering to develop a statement of Ethical Principles for all Engineers – among many other positions in her illustrious career.
Senior Moulton Medal
The Senior Moulton Medal is awarded to the author, or authors, of the most meritorious paper published by IChemE during the last year. This year it was received by Elysia Lucas (PhD student on the Science and Solutions for a Changing Planet Doctoral Training Partnership Programme) Dr Miao Guo (former Postdoctoral Researcher) and Dr Gonzalo Guillén-Gosálbez (former Reader in Process Systems Engineering) for their paper ‘Optimising diets to reach absolute planetary environmental sustainability through consumers’.
The judging panel commented that the ‘outcome of the work is potentially life changing and was noted as being important for consideration by people that make decisions at government level.’
The Nicklin Medal, which recognises talented chemical engineering early career researchers, was awarded to Dr Yuval Elani for his work in establishing Chemical Synthetic Biology as an emerging research discipline. Instead of re-designing cellular systems using traditional genetic and metabolic engineering techniques, Yuval has pioneered technologies for bottom-up construction of synthetic cells using biomolecular building blocks. Yuval is demonstrating impact via multiple collaborations. The panel commented that ‘Yuval’s technologies have pushed the frontiers of the research area and redefined the state of the art, leading to a host of awards and high-profile papers in recognition of this.’
Professor Elani said: “I couldn’t be prouder of my team for what they have achieved over the past few very challenging years. This award is really down to their tenacity, perseverance, and hard work.”
Professor Sandro Macchietto has been awarded the Sargent Medal in recognition of his significant contribution to research into computer aided product and process engineering. Professor Macchietto is an extensive researcher in chemical engineering with innovative methods for simulation, design, control and optimisation of process systems that are widely applied in industry. Alongside his distinguished career as an academic, he has launched and managed two successful spin-off companies, Process Systems Engineering (PSE) and Hexxcell Ltd, and acted as a consultant and advisor to research institutions.
Commenting on his award, Professor Macchietto said: "I am deeply honoured for the award of the Sargent Medal. Process Systems Engineering is by nature a collaborative activity, and I would like to share the recognition with the many brilliant students and collaborators I was fortunate to work with over the years".
Junior Sargent Medal
Dr Maria Papathanasiou has been awarded the Junior Sargent Medal alongside Professor Alexander W Dowling. This medal is awarded to an early career researcher who has made a significant recent contribution to research into computer-aided product and process engineering. The judging panel noted that Maria is ‘viewed as one of the top young process system engineers of her generation.’ She is recognised for her pioneering work and research program on personalised health care systems engineering, with significant contributions in the areas of the CAR T-cell therapies supply chain optimisation, bio-pharmaceutical process development and model-based control and monitoring.
Dr Papathanasiou said: “I am truly honoured to receive the Junior Sargent Medal. I would like to thank my students, collaborators, mentors and colleagues for the fruitful interactions, stimulating research discussions and continuous support!”
Professor Nilay Shah OBE has been awarded the Sharma Medal in recognition of sustained outstanding research contributions in chemical engineering across his career. The judging panel noted that Professor Shah is ‘renowned for his leadership in the field of systems approaches to chemical engineering, with a strong emphasis on sustainability, industrial practice and influencing policy makers.’ He has developed a range of mathematical modelling approaches to solving important industrial problems such as production, optimisation, plant design and industrial decarbonisation, and has applied these to sectors as diverse as hydrogen and vaccine manufacturing.
Professor Shah said: "I'm delighted by this award and thank all my current and former students and colleagues for their key contributions to our collective success."
The Institution of Chemical Engineers (IChemE) advances chemical engineering's contribution worldwide for the benefit of society. They facilitate the development of chemical engineering professionals and provide connections to a powerful network of over 29,000 members in more than 100 countries.
They support their members in applying their expertise and experience to make an influential contribution to solving major global challenges, and are the only organisation permitted to award Chartered Chemical Engineer status and Professional Process Safety Engineer registration.
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