DATE: Sunday, April 22, 2018
TIME: 04:00 PM - 05:00 PM
LOCATION:Auditorium between Bldg 4 & 5 - Level 0
Presenter: Prof. Himanshu MishraTitle: Fries “on-water”
Abstract:Fries rearrangements entail the conversion of phenolic esters into hydroxyaryl ketones—key intermediates in pharmaceuticals, cosmetics, and flavors and fragrance industries—through Lewis acids, such as HF, AlCl3, BF3, and SnCl4  [2-5]. However, the challenges associated with the separation of reaction products, waste disposal, and health and safety due to the application the Lewis acids necessitate greener alternatives. In response, we will describe the first catalyst-free Fries rearrangement of phenyl acetate (PA) in aqueous emulsions driven by interfacial phenomena.
Bio:Professor Himanshu Mishra directs Interfacial Lab (iLab), comprising of engineers, chemists, and theoreticians, at WDRC. His areas of scientific interest include measurement of chemical reactions and surface forces at the interfaces of water with hydrophobic media, such as air and oils. His finish-time for KAUST’s first mini-triathlon event – 400 m swim, 20 km bike, and 5 km run – was 1:19:44.
Presenter: Sreekiran PillaiTitle: Understanding Hydrophobic Interactions between Rigid Macroscopic Surfaces Across Various Protic Solvents
Abstract: Engineers routinely characterize hydrophobic surfaces by measuring contact angles, θ_r, of water droplets on them – if θ_r>〖90〗^°, surfaces are classified as hydrophobic. Despite this simple assessment, the fundamental nature of the hydrophobic interaction, defined as the attractive force experienced by two hydrophobic surfaces across water, remains unclear. Specifically, molecular-scale insights into the distance-dependence of the hydrophobic interaction and, the effects of adsorption of ions and evolution of hydrogen bonded percolation networks at water-hydrophobic interfaces are not entirely clear. Detergency and self-assembly process in air, oils and perflurocarbons are common examples of hydrophobic interactions. However, despite its ubiquitosness, mechanistic insights into hydrophobic interactions between extended surfaces remain elusive. To resolve those issues we quantified hydrophobic interactions between molecularly-smooth mica surfaces terminated with perfluorodecyltrichlorosilane (FDTS) molecules in a variety of aqueous solutions, including 10 mM KCl water and heavy water, methanol, ethanol, and isopropanol, and 10 mM aqueous solutions of KBr, KI, KClO4, KPF6 using the Surface Force Apparatus (SFA). Intriguingly, we found that the hydrophobic interaction was stronger in light water compared to heavy water. This difference in hydrophobic interaction comes up when most of the physical properties of light water and heavy water are the same. My seminar will be a brief talk about the SFA technique used for the force measurement studies followed by the results and backed up by molecular dynamic simulations.
Bio: Sreekiran Raveendran Pillai received his M.Tech in Chemical Engineering from Indian Institute of Technology (I.I.T) Bombay in 2014 with an All India Rank of 148, where he worked under Prof. Sarika Mehra and Prof. Rama Govindarajan. He joined Interfacial Lab in WDRC during the Fall of 2015. Currently he is pursuing his PhD in the department of Environmental Engineering under the supervision of Prof Himanshu Mishra. His research interest includes surface engineering, hydrophobic interactions and interfacial engineering.
DATE: Sunday, April 29, 2018
Abstract:Antimicrobial resistance (AMR) is one of the biggest threats to global health, food security and societal development. In particular, AMR is of extreme relevance in water reuse settings, as wastewater constitutes a key factor in the environmental dissemination and emergence of antibiotic resistant bacteria (ARB) and antibiotic resistance genes (ARGs). Although wastewater treatment plant has been very effective in reducing regulated microbial contaminants, several studies have demonstrated potential selective enrichment of ARB post-treatment. In this seminar, we will provide evidence that common environmental physicochemical stressors (i.e. chlorination disinfection byproducts, UV and solar irradiance) enhance the acquisition rate of AMR in the environmental bacterium Acinetobacter baylyi. The insight of this research raises questions regarding the potential contribution of current disinfection practices, in the dissemination of AMR in environmental compartments.
Presenters:David MantillaPhD Student Bio:In 2010 David Mantilla received his bachelors in microbiology from Los Andes University, Bogota - Colombia. He then relocated to KAUST to pursue a masters in environmental science and engineering. In 2013, he was enrolled as PhD student under the supervision of assistant professor Peiying Hong. David’s primary research interest and line of work focuses on the strategies for dispersion and persistence of antibiotic resistant pathogens in the environment.
Nicolas AusburgerPhD Student Bio:Nicolas Augsburger earned his bachelor’s degree in Biology with a minor in chemistry from Georgia State University in Atlanta, GA in 2015. He then joined Professor Carlos Santamarina’s Energy and Geotechnical Laboratory (EGEL) group in the Petroleum Research Center at KAUST to pursue an MS degree. His research investigated the significance of microbiology in porous hydrocarbon related systems. Upon completion of his MS degree, in 2017, Nicolas joined assistant professor Peiying Hong’s group as a PhD student and is currently researching transmission of antibiotic resistance in wastewater treatment systems.
DATE: Tuesday, May 01, 2018
TIME: 01:30 PM - 04:30 PM
LOCATION:Auditorium between Bldg 2 & 3 - Level 0
Increased population, participation in scientific research and societal interest for science is leading to an exponential growth of research effort and the number of publications to communicate the results. The growth of the volume of scientific publications together with changes to the concept of "publication" derived from technological developments, particularly the Internet 2.0, has led to an acceleration of the changes in all steps of the process of scientific publications to reach a pace that challenges any one's capacity to adapt and anticipate the future. Because of the central role that scientific publications play in the career of researchers, this fast rate of change often results in considerable risk to prospective authors deciding where to publish their research. This workshop, specifically addressed to students, postdocs and early career scientists (Faculty welcome as well!), will provide an overview of the rate of growth of the scientific publication and the diversification of concepts, models and tools, discuss the resulting challenges, and speculate on the future directions of change.
DATE: Sunday, May 06, 2018
Abstract: Microbes are of fundamental importance to human health, environment and agriculture. To exploit their potential for various purposes, a fundamental challenge is to decipher the basic rules of community organization that is heterogeneous in space and time. My lab aims to address the challenge using a bottom-up approach that combines biophysical modeling with experimental synthetic biology. Recently, we developed a computational platform that enables individual-based simulation of microbial communities across multiple scales. We also explored how the modes of cellular social interaction and the spatial scale of interaction contribute to microbial assemblages using the platform, both of which were subsequently determined using experimental ecosystems. Using engineered cellular interactions, we further demonstrated the utility of synthetic microbial consortia for metabolic engineering applications. Our studies provide insights into the organization of complex microbial communities and illustrate the potential of synthetic communities for practical goals.Bio:Dr. Ting Lu is an Associate Professor in the Department of Bioengineering and the Carl R. Woese Institute for Genomic Biology at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (UIUC). He received B.S. in Physics from Zhejiang University in 2002 and Ph.D. in Biophysics from UC-San Diego in 2007. Prior to joining UIUC in 2011, Dr. Lu was a postdoctoral researcher at Princeton, MIT, and Wyss Institute at Harvard. Dr. Lu’s research focuses on the analysis, construction and utilization of bacterial gene regulatory networks for cellular functionality programming. He has received several awards for his research, including ONR Young Investigator Award, NSF CAREER Award, NARSAD Young Investigator Award, and Young Innovator of Cellular and Molecular Bioengineering.
DATE: Tuesday, May 08, 2018
Abstract:The presentation will elaborate on the potential and opportunities coming from a cooperation between unnatural partners: the researcher and the plant operator. “One spending money on his hobbies and the other working for living on a limited budget”. However a strong cooperation between the partners creates a Demming circle, essential for feedback and improvement. On top the cooperation created a platform for the introduction of new innovations into the water field and provides unique information of day-to-day and practical experience. Via the continuous exchange of information new ideas will be generated for new research projects. The presentation will challenge the proposition that this partnership is essential for Innovation. The author will use his personal experience and findings as utility operator on technology development in cooperation with research institutes and universities, showing examples: the good, the bad and the ugly.Bio:Over 20 years of water & waste water treatment experience and management of industrial water utility operations for chemical, energy, water, pharma and food industries. Clients and contract partners included: BASF, Dow Chemical, Huntsman, Shell, RWE, Air Liquide, Solvay, P&G and others; owner & founder of BCF Systems (Advanced Separation Technology for Food and Pharma) and previously employed as CTO/ Member of management team (>10 years) of Evides Industry Water Company (Rotterdam, The Netherlands) where he co-invented the “AiRO” technology and played an essential part in the business expansion, DBFO contract management, technology strategy and development of the process engineering dept. He holds an MSc from Eindhoven University of Technology.