Inventor Challenge awards funds to five WashU research teams<p>​Five Washington University in St. Louis research teams have been selected to receive funding as part of the fall 2017 cycle of the Leadership in Entrepreneurial Acceleration Program, better known as the <a href="">LEAP Inventor Challenge</a> (LEAP).<br/></p><p>LEAP exists to propel Washington University intellectual property towards commercialization. The money that teams win helps fund their early stage research so that they can turn their concepts and ideas into viable products and services. The competition supports all Washington University faculty, postdoc, staff and graduate student teams.<br/></p><p>Three of the five winning teams in fall 2017 have ties to the School of Engineering & Applied Science.<br/></p><img alt="" src="/news/PublishingImages/WashU%20Engineering%20LEAP%20Entrepreneurship%20Inventors.png?RenditionID=1" style="BORDER:0px solid;" /><p rtenodeid="1"><strong>3D Graphene-Based Nanocomposite Assemblies for Next Generation Water Treatment Membranes: </strong>This project is a unique, three-dimensional graphene oxide (GO) nanoscale composites as multifunctional, self-assembling, platform materials for advanced water treatment membranes. Management includes professors <a href="/Profiles/Pages/John-Fortner.aspx">John Fortner</a> and <a href="/Profiles/Pages/Pratim-Biswas.aspx">Pratim Biswas</a>.<br/></p><p><strong>Re-inventing Arterial Blood Gas Measurements: </strong>This project is a new medical device that performs laboratory tests without needing to draw blood. Management includes Professor <a href="/Profiles/Pages/Lan-Yang.aspx">Lan Yang</a>.<br/></p><p><strong>​Absorbable Negative Pressure Wound Closure Device: </strong>This project is an absorbable, vacuum-sealing biomaterial for complex wounds to speed patients’ healing without returning to the operating room. Management includes Farshid Guilak.<br/></p><p>Read more on <a href=""></a><br/></p>Shauna Williams, Skandalaris Center in Entrepreneurial Acceleration Program (LEAP) exists to propel Washington University intellectual property towards commercialization. Three of the five winning teams have ties to the School of Engineering & Applied Science. the media: The Story Of Aerosols (Science Friday)<p>Aerosols do play a role in climate change, but not the one you might think. Assistant Professor Rajan Chakrabarty <a href="">joined Ira Flatow</a> to discuss the complex chemistry of the particles in our air. <br/><br/></p><div class="ms-rtestate-read ms-rte-wpbox" contenteditable="false"><div class="ms-rtestate-notify ms-rtestate-read 905ccdc2-ee0a-44ba-b084-c65175cf44c5" id="div_905ccdc2-ee0a-44ba-b084-c65175cf44c5"></div><div id="vid_905ccdc2-ee0a-44ba-b084-c65175cf44c5" style="display: none;"></div></div><p></p><img alt="" src="/news/PublishingImages/SciFri_avatar_1400x-1.png?RenditionID=13" style="BORDER:0px solid;" /><p>​Most people are familiar with the term “aerosol” by way of the spray can. If you were around during the 1970s, you might remember when consumer aerosol products like hair sprays contained chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) that depleted the ozone layer. And even though these products have not used CFCs since the late 1970s, the connection between a can of hair spray and a warming planet has erroneously stuck around for decades.<br/></p><p>​<br/></p><p> <br/> </p><p> <br/> </p> <span> <div class="cstm-section"><h3>Aerosols Expert<br/></h3><div style="text-align: center;"> <a href="/Profiles/Pages/Rajan-Chakrabarty.aspx"><img src="/Profiles/PublishingImages/Chakrabarty_Rajan.jpg?RenditionID=3" alt="" style="margin: 5px;"/></a> <br/></div><div style="text-align: center;"> <strong> <a href="/Profiles/Pages/Rajan-Chakrabarty.aspx"> <strong>Rajan Chakrabarty</strong></a><br/></strong></div><div style="text-align: center;"> <span style="font-size: 12px;">Assistant ​​​Professor</span></div></div></span>​​<br/><br/>2018-02-16T06:00:00ZAerosols do play a role in climate change, but not the one you might think. Assistant Professor Rajan Chakrabarty joined Ira Flatow to discuss the complex chemistry of the particles in our air. Questions with PhD Candidate Ben Sumlin<p>​Ben Sumlin earned his bachelor's degree in Physics and master's degree in Atmospheric Sciences from the University of Nevada, where he focused on novel instrumentation for quantifying brown and black carbon. At WashU, he is a member of the <a href="">Aerosol Impacts & Research (AIR) Lab.</a><br/></p><img alt="Ben Sumlin" src="/news/PublishingImages/WashU%20Engineer%20Ben%20Sumlin.jpg?RenditionID=1" style="BORDER:0px solid;" /><p rtenodeid="3"><strong>What most excites you about your research? </strong>My research is novel, it’s difficult, and I’m the only one in the world doing it. I work on a very specific yet important area that has implications on global climate but is completely understudied. However, despite how focused my specific projects are, I’ve picked up a broad skillset that can be applied to many areas of science and engineering in a way that won’t narrow my prospects after graduation.<br/></p><p style="color: #000000; font-family: "times new roman"; font-size: medium;"></p><p rtenodeid="4"><strong>Why WashU? </strong>I’ve been doing aerosol physics for most of my academic career. Coming to WashU was the obvious choice, given their intense focus on all aspects of aerosol science and technology, from fundamental physics to nanomaterials and other applications. The collaborative culture here surprised me. Every professor and student I’ve met was excited to collaborate, or just to learn more about what everyone else was doing. Since coming to WashU, I’ve been exposed to a variety of post-graduation options where I’ll get to do what I love in a variety of environments, such as national labs; federal science agencies like the EPA, NASA, DOE, DOD, and NSF; several industrial companies that still contribute to academic research; and of course, actual academia is still very much an attractive option.</p><p style="color: #000000; font-family: "times new roman"; font-size: medium;"></p><p rtenodeid="5"><strong>What do you think about living in St. Louis, Missouri?  </strong>I love it! I’ve heard lots of complaints that there’s nothing to do in St. Louis, but that couldn’t be more wrong. All the free cultural events and venues like the zoo and museums are always a great option. If you’re into craft beer, I think St. Louis is second only to Portland, Oregon in terms of diversity and quality. Also, the food here is ridiculously good.<br/></p><p>​<br/><br/></p><div class="cstm-section"><h3>Engineer your way.<br/></h3><ul><li><a href="/prospective-students/graduate-admissions/Pages/default.aspx" style="font-size: 1em; background-color: #ffffff;">PhD Admissions</a><br/></li><li><a href="/Programs/Pages/default.aspx" style="font-size: 1em; background-color: #ffffff;">PhD Programs</a><br/></li></ul></div>Ben Sumlin2018-02-14T06:00:00Z"My research is novel, it’s difficult, and I’m the only one in the world doing it. I work on a very specific yet important area that has implications on global climate but is completely understudied." the media: Flu warfare may look different next year (CNN)<p>​Professor Pratim Biswas shared how aerosol technology can capture and kill infectious flu particles in the air.  <a href="">>> Read the full article on</a><br/></p><img alt="" src="/news/PublishingImages/WashU%20Engineers%20on%20CNN.jpg?RenditionID=1" style="BORDER:0px solid;" /><div><span style="color: #222222;">Another non-pharmaceutical approach to preventing influenza is air cleaning.</span><br/></div><p></p><p>Aerosol researchers have developed a technology that effectively removes disease particulates, including influenza germs, from the air. The experimental technology includes an electrostatic filter capable of "capturing all kinds of particles, including viruses and bacteria," said Pratim Biswas, the lead researcher and a professor at Washington University in St. Louis.<br/></p><p>Not only does the air purification technology capture potentially infectious particles "with extremely high efficiency," it kills them, he said.</p><p>Essentially, the technology displaces a charge on the particles, uses an electrical field to trap them and then deactivates any harmful pathogens, he explained. The filter can be used within HVAC (heating, ventilation, and air conditioning) systems, in which, unlike a conventional filter-based device, it would not become a breeding ground for germs and microbes, said Biswas.</p><p>The National Institutes of Health funded testing of the filter, which proved successful in destroying biological agents in the laboratory "from poliovirus to anthrax to flu virus," Biswas said. "We've done very extensive testing over the last five to seven years."</p><p>"It's already available in pilot form," Biswas said. With Jiaxi Fang and Tandeep Chadha, both of Washington University in St. Louis, Biswas created a startup company, Applied Particle Technology, to work on commercializing the product.</p><p>The startup is working with hospitals to prepare the filter for deployment and testing in a clinical environment.</p><p>Ultimately, the invention may function as a "smart filtration system" in medical offices, clinics, hospitals and nursing homes to help prevent increasingly common hospital-acquired infections, Biswas said.</p><p>Someday, commercial settings and homes may also benefit from the technology -- "not to mention the indoor air quality problems that many parts of the world are facing," he said.</p><p>We inhale no less than a million particles with each breath we take in a reasonably clean room, he noted. Because the filter would ensure cleaner, more breathable air, Biswas hopes it soon becomes available for home use, though no market date has been set.<br/></p>Susan Scutti, CNN​Professor Pratim Biswas tells CNN how aerosol technology can capture and kill infectious flu particles in the air. fellows selected<p>​Two faculty members were named inaugural faculty fellows in entrepreneurship at Washington University in St. Louis. <a href="/Profiles/Pages/Vijay-Ramani.aspx">Vijay Ramani, the Roma B. and Raymond H. Witcoff Distinguished University Professor of Environment and Energy</a>, is the faculty fellow on the Danforth Campus, and Jennifer Silva, MD, associate professor of pediatrics, will serve as the faculty fellow on the Medical Campus.<br/></p><img alt="Vijay Ramani" src="/Profiles/PublishingImages/Ramani_Vijay.jpg?RenditionID=1" style="BORDER:0px solid;" /><p>​The fellows will provide support and guidance to Washington University faculty interested in entrepreneurship and creating startup companies. The university encourages innovation and entrepreneurship, and Ramani and Silva will advise faculty members who are uncertain about how to navigate the university’s policies and requirements related to startups.<br/></p><p>Ramani is an expert in electrochemical energy conversion and storage and renewable energy integration. His research interests lie at the confluence of electrochemical engineering, materials science and renewable and sustainable energy technologies.</p><p>His research includes creating a new membrane that can be used in batteries for grid-scale electric energy storage, funded by a $2 million grant from the U.S. Department of Energy’s Advanced Research Projects Agency–Energy. He also is working to create a stable, bipolar membrane for fuel-cell propulsion systems that would enable the U.S. Navy’s unmanned undersea vehicles to fulfill challenging mission requirements, funded by a grant from the Office of Naval Research. Last fall, he received an award from the university’s Leadership in Entrepreneurial Acceleration Program (LEAP Inventor Challenge), which helps to move intellectual property toward commercialization.</p><p>Ramani joined the Department of Energy, Environmental & Chemical Engineering in the School of Engineering & Applied Science in 2016 from the Illinois Institute of Technology. He is director of the university’s Center for Solar Energy and Energy Storage. He has experience with the Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR)/Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) program, as well as with the SBIR platforms of the National Science Foundation, Department of Energy and U.S. Department of Defense both as a principal investigator, reviewer and evaluator.<br/></p><p><a href="">Read more via</a><br/></p>Vijay RamaniCaroline Arbanas and Beth Miller Ramani is one of two WashU professors named named as an inaugural faculty fellow in entrepreneurship.<p>Ramani, Silva chosen inaugural faculty fellows<br/></p>