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Bioprocess Engineering Option
Graduate Programs in Paper & Bioprocess Engineering

Projects conducted in the department under this option develop fundamental knowledge of biorefinery processes for application in the production of a wide spectrum of industrial products and fuels from bioresources, primarily lignocellulosics. Research is also supported by various U.S. federal and N.Y. state governmental agencies, sometimes in conjunction with private industrial partners. 

The BPE option in the Paper and Bioprocess Engineering program offers areas of study in:

  • Biocatalysis and Bioreaction Engineering (M.S., Ph.D.)
  • Bioseparations Engineering (M.S., Ph.D.)
  • Bioprocess Design, Simulation and Control (M.S., Ph.D.)
  • Bioenvironmental Engineering (M.S., Ph.D.)
  • Renewable Energy and Biofuels (M.S., Ph.D.)
  • Biopharmaceuticals (M.S., Ph.D.)
  • Industrial Biological Processes (M.S., Ph.D.)
  • Bioprocess Engineering (M.P.S.)

Participating Faculty

Areas of Study

Biocatalysis and Bioreaction Engineering (M.S., Ph.D.)

  • Reaction mechanisms and kinetics
  • Catalytic and activation effects
  • Enzyme Chemistry, Engineering
  • Fermentation Engineering
  • Engineering of Bioreactors

Biocatalysis  is the study of biological and chemical processes involving biocatalysts, enzymes and proteins. This area of study prepares students for traditional “upstream” operations: principles of design and operation of bioreactors and fermenters. Chemical and biological processes often involve reactions at the interfaces of liquid and solid, and are frequently diffusion limited. Understanding of surface activities as well as effective modeling of the process kinetics enables the engineer to design processes with optimal yield, rate of reaction using appropriately sized equipment. These form the core of most bioprocesses in the industry. Pilot plant facilities in these areas are also available.

Bioseparations Engineering (M.S., Ph.D.)

  • Membrane-based separations: micro, ultra and nanofiltration; functionalized membranes
  • Adsorptive, extractive and reactive separations
  • Solid liquid separations: filtration, centrifugation
  • Chromatographic separations
  • Novel separation technologies: simulated moving bed and expanded bed adsorption and chromatography

Bioseparations is the study of separation of valuable products from the output of bioreactors using the wide spectrum of unit operations. Traditional “downstream”  operations include membrane and chromatography processes. This area encompasses study of unit operations, separations, transport phenomena, thermodynamics, colloid and surface science and process engineering. There is extensive research effort and focus in this area. Current projects include membrane separations, adsorption, filtration, centrifugation, and novel separations based on functional materials. Pilot plant facilities in these areas are also available.

Bioprocess Design, Simulation and Control (M.S., Ph.D.)

  • Process design
  • Process simulation, dynamics, control
  • Batch process scheduling

This area of study involves the design, simulation and control of batch and continuous processes. Coursework is concentrated in process simulation, process analysis and dynamics and control. This is supplemented by studies in downstream and upstream processing. The dynamic operation and scheduling of batch plants is an important aspect of bioprocesses. Process economics are an important adjunct to the modeling of manufacturing processes. Pilot plant facilities in these areas are also available.

Bioenvironmental Engineering (M.S., Ph.D.)

  • Anaerobic and aerobic bioreactors
  • Sludge and wastewater treatments
  • Bacterial and enzymatic processes in environmental remediation

Bioenvironmental engineering links research with environmental and bioresource stewardship. Research here includes process dynamics and control, characterization and treatment of waste streams from bioprocesses, byproduct recovery, and computer simulation of  environmental processing systems. The extensive laboratories and pilot plant in Walters Hall are strongly supported by computing facilities and expertise on campus. Pilot plant facilities in these areas are also available.

Renewable Energy & Biofuels (M.S., Ph.D.)

  • Energy from biomass and other renewable sources
  • Bioseparations of lignocellulosic materials into useful components
  • Bioprocessing of renewable materials
  • Creation of new bioproducts using ecologically sustainable processes

This area of study encompasses both the use of renewable and sustainable resources (e.g., wood) for the production of chemicals, advanced materials, fuel, and energy, as well as the use of bioprocessing technology to produce such products. Such bioproducts extend to the production of energy from renewable resources including the use of gasification, co-firing of byproducts, anerobic digestion, solar, and the production of ethanol. Courses include chemical engineering, advanced chemistry, biotechnology, and bioengineering, building on a strong base of mathematics, chemistry, and biology. Current research projects in this area include the bioseparation of xylan from hardwoods, the production of ethanol and acetic acid from wood hemicelluloses, development of separation processes for various bioproducts, gasification, enzymatic processing of lignocellulosic materials, and chemical production from sustainable resources as a replacement for non-renewable fossil fuels. Pilot plant facilities in these areas are also available. Many research projects in this area have extensive connections to industrial organizations.

Biopharmaceuticals (M.S., Ph.D.)

  • Upstream processing, bioreactors
  • Downstream processing

Biopharmaceuticals are typically biologically active proteins produced by using recombinant bacterial and mammalian cells. Bioprocesses to produce biopharmaceuticals typically utilize microbial and mammalian cell culture fermentation processes, tangential flow filtration, centrifugation and a variety of chromatographic separations. Principles of microbiology, fermentation technology, reaction kinetics, separation science, as well as statistical process control are used to develop highly reproducible processes that can produce consistent products necessary to meet GMP (good manufacturing practice) production requirements.

Industrial Biological Processes (M.S., Ph.D.)

  • Biological processes in food and beverage manufacturing
  • Industrial fermentation processes

Biological processes have been used for centuries to produce wine, beer and fermented foods.  As processes and manufacturing efficiencies have improved, products such as antibiotics, vitamins, enzymes, specialty chemicals and even commodity chemicals have and are being produced using bioprocesses. Bioprocesses for these applications typically employ microbial fermentation processes, filtration or centrifugation, precipitation and/or crystallization and drying. Principles of microbiology, fermentation technology, reaction kinetics, separation science and process economics are typically required to develop large cost efficient manufacturing processes.

Bioprocess Engineering (M.P.S.)

  • Energy from biomass and other renewable sources
  • Bioseparations of lignocellulosic materials into useful components
  • Bioprocessing of renewable materials
  • Creation of new bioproducts using ecologically sustainable processes

This area of study encompasses both the use of renewable and sustainable resources (e.g., wood) for the production of chemicals, advanced materials, fuel, and energy, as well as the use of bioprocessing technology to produce such products. Such bioproducts extend to the production of energy from renewable resources including the use of gasification, co-firing of byproducts, anerobic digestion, solar, and the production of ethanol. Courses include chemical engineering, advanced chemistry, biotechnology, and bioengineering, building on a strong base of mathematics, chemistry, and biology. Current research projects in this area include the bioseparation of xylan from hardwoods, the production of ethanol and acetic acid from wood hemicelluloses, development of separation processes for various bioproducts, gasification, enzymatic processing of lignocellulosic materials, and chemical production from sustainable resources as a replacement for non-renewable fossil fuels.

Graduate Students in Bioprocess Engineering

Current Students

Only currently registered students appear—new student names are added at the start of the academic year.

Karin ArensKarin Arens
karens@syr.edu

Bioprocess Engineering

Degree Sought: PHD
Advisor(s): Liu
Undergraduate Institute: Michigan State University (Chemical Engineering)

Graduate Research Topic
My work aims to improve enzymatic production of cellulases by to optimizing the fermentation conditions and substrate utilization for a given microorganism. This study uses wood extract produced during hot-water pretreatment as substrate to stimulate the enzymes yield. An increment in enzyme production would be a step in the right direction in the efforts to reduce the enzymatic cost and could help the biobased industry become more competitive.

Shannon Baird-WolfsonForrest Baird
sbaird@syr.edu

Bioprocess Engineering

Degree Sought: MS
Advisor(s): Bujanovic
Undergraduate Institute: SUNY-ESF (Environmental Science)

Personal Statement
I'm a student engineer who's learning to play flute.

Professional Statement
Renewable energy is a fascinating subject. An odd way to think about it: Renewable energy is taking a pathway that is similar to equal rights. Currently, it is experiencing a slow start, but it is catching ground. Solutions to our energy problems are becoming diverse - what works for Central New York may not work for New Mexico, and what works for Romania may not work for Indonesia. Just as society needs a diversity of people, renewable energy needs a diversity of generation solutions. I look forward to contributing to the field of renewable energy. I want to learn about all types of energy generation, and perhaps down the road invent or discover a new type of energy that can dissolve the residual of current energy problems.

Research Interests
Energy Systems Science & Engineering (and all it encompasses), Materials Science & Engineering, Ecology.

Favorite Quote
"I hated every minute of training, but I said 'Don't quit, suffer now, and live the rest of your life as a champion.'" -Muhammad Ali

Hobbies
Music composition, trumpet performance, computer programming, digital photography, website design, physical fitness.

For More Information
Forrest's Professional Website

Hanchi ChenHanchi Chen
hchen23@syr.edu

Bioprocess Engineering

Degree Sought: MS
Advisor(s): Liu

Derek CorbettDerek Corbett
dbcorbet@syr.edu

Bioprocess Engineering

Degree Sought: MS
Advisor(s): Bujanovic

Links
LinkedIn

Personal Statement
I am a motivated, highly active, and enthusiastic person in all environments. I get true pleasure out of discovery and learning, and love to solve problems. I am driven to contribute to human progress towards greener and more sustainable means of meeting our growing energy and material needs. I also love music and dance.

Research Interests Include:
Lignocellulosic Chemistry; Bioprocess Engineering; Lignin Bioplastics; Biorefinery; Cellulosic Biofuels.

Dorlan CurtisDorlan Curtis
dcurtis@syr.edu

Bioprocess Engineering

Degree Sought: MS
Advisor(s): Liu

Vignesh GnanavelVignesh Gnanavel
vgnanave@syr.edu

Bioprocess Engineering

Degree Sought: MS
Advisor(s): Ramarao

Robert HamiltonRobert Hamilton
rwhamilt@syr.edu

Bioprocess Engineering

Degree Sought: MPS
Advisor(s): Scott
Undergraduate Institute: SUNY-ESF

Narayana Raju JampanaNarayana Raju Jampana
nvjampan@syr.edu

Bioprocess Engineering

Degree Sought: PHD
Advisor(s): Ramarao

Chenhui LiangChenhui Liang
cliang@syr.edu

Bioprocess Engineering

Degree Sought: MS
Advisor(s): Liu

Zheng LiuZheng Liu
lzheng08@syr.edu

PBE Sustainable Engineering Management

Degree Sought: MS
Advisor(s): Liu

Aditi NagardeolekarAditi Nagardeolekar
anagarde@syr.edu

Bioprocess Engineering

Degree Sought: PHD
Advisor(s): Bujanovic

Personal Statement
I have always been fascinated by green technology. I truly believe that being a part of one of the best schools in the field of environmental sciences will give me an immense opportunity to delve into the exciting, new challenges that this ever-growing field presents to the avid researchers. It will always be my dream to contribute to this field by combining my pharmaceutical and bioprocessing knowledge to develop novel bio-products using green solutions. Apart from my research, I love reading and singing and Iím an occasional dabbler in astronomy and photography.

Favorite Quote
In the final analysis, its between you and yourself; it was never between you and them anyway.

Research Interests
My research interests include (but are not limited to): Biopharmaceuticals, Bioenergy, Biocatalysis, Lignocellulosics

Stephanie PerkinsStephanie Perkins
stperkin@syr.edu

Bioprocess Engineering

Degree Sought: MPS
Advisor(s): Liu

Mary Jennifer PuthotaMary Jennifer Puthota
mputhota@syr.edu

Bioprocess Engineering

Degree Sought: PHD
Advisor(s): Ramarao

Yipeng XieYipeng Xie
yixie@syr.edu

Bioprocess Engineering

Degree Sought: PHD
Advisor(s): Liu

Lakshmi Rakesh YasarlaLakshmi Rakesh Yasarla
lryasarl@syr.edu

Bioprocess Engineering

Degree Sought: PHD
Advisor(s): Ramarao

Previous Graduate Study: Acharya Nagarjuna University (Biotechnology )

Graduate Research Topic
Separation and Purification of Lignocellulosic Hydrolyzates by Polymer Flocculation and Tangential Flow Micro Filtration.

Patrick YoungPatrick Young
pmyoun01@syr.edu

Bioprocess Engineering

Degree Sought: MS
Advisor(s): Amidon

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