Member Focus/Student Spotlight

Member Focus

Asif Rahman

Dr. Asif Rahman is a young bright, rising scholar of Biological Engineering who is being profiled for his research accomplishments in synthetic biology coupled with the conversion of waste-to-bioproducts, and for exceptional leadership in the Institute of Biological Engineering (IBE) and at Utah State University (USU).

Dr. Rahman received his Bachelors in Chemical and Biological Engineering from the University of Wisconsin-Madison and his Masters in Chemical and Materials Engineering from the University of Auckland, New Zealand. He received PhD in Biological Engineering from Utah State University where his dissertation research was in Sustainable Production of Novel Biomaterials in Escherichia coli. His research demonstrated increased production in biomaterials using synthetic biology and utilizing sustainable carbon substrates as production platforms. Asif’s PhD work was funded in part by the Utah Science Technology and Research (USTAR) Initiative. During his time at USU, Asif received numerous awards including: USU Outstanding Engineering Graduate Scholar-Student and the Department of Biological Engineering Outstanding Achievement for Excellence Award.

Asif’s research has resulted in: eight peer-reviewed publications, three patent applications, and conference presentations at 12 international meetings. Dr. Rahman was awarded the 2014 Grand Prize, the highest prize awarded, for the Student Poster Presentation at the 2014 Annual Meeting.

Currently, Asif is a Post-Doctoral Research Fellow in the Bioengineering Branch at NASA Ames Research Center. His current transdisciplinary research addresses biologically based molecular- and process-level problems in the challenging environments of Space. This includes studying the fields of Synthetic Biology, Space Biology, Biomaterials, Biological Engineering, Biochemical Engineering, and Environmental Engineering with the objectives of implementing biology-based technologies for Deep Space Missions.

Asif has been a member of IBE since 2010 and was elected to serve twice as a graduate councilor in the years 2013 and 2014. He was the organizer and chair of the three IBE Western Regional Conference from 2010-2012 that promoted IBE in the Western region of the United States. The Western Regional Conferences were very successful increasing attendance each year and doubling to approximately 120 participants over the three years he was involved. Asif also represented IBE at the USA Science and Engineering Festival in 2014 to create awareness about the growing field of biological engineering where over 350,000 people attended. He was an invited speaker at a special biological engineering session at the American Society of Agricultural and Biological Engineers meeting in 2014. He served as a Student Poster Competition judge at the 2015 annual IBE meeting.

Dr. Rahman was elected an IBE Councilor-at-Large and is currently serving the two-year term started on January 1, 2015.

Student Spotlight

Jay Barlow

Jay Barlow is a graduate research assistant at the Sustainable Waste-to-Bioproducts Engineering Center (SWBEC) at Utah State University (USU). He conducts techno-economic and life-cycle analyses to determine the feasibility and sustainability of algal biofuels systems. This systems-level research is grounded in his experimental work with novel algal cultivation architectures at pilot scale, and hydrothermal liquefaction of algal biomass at lab scale. Research at SWBEC encompasses environmental, biological, and mechanical engineering, and these collaborations are an essential feature of Jay’s projects. He has a BA in Biochemistry, Biophysics, and Molecular Biology from Whitman College and is engaged by his interests in renewable energy, sustainability policy, and technology for the developing world. He has been an IBE member since 2014 and presented at the 2016 annual conference.



Archive

Member Focus

Dr. Jeffrey Catchmark

Dr. Jeffrey Catchmark is currently an Associate Professor in the Department of Agricultural and Biological Engineering at the Pennsylvania State University. He received B.S. and Ph.D. degrees in Electrical Engineering from Penn State University and Lehigh University, respectively. After working in industry for nearly 9 years in the field of nanoscale semiconductor optoelectronics, Dr. Catchmark joined Penn State University to manage a National nanofabrication facility. As a graduate faculty member, he became interested in biological nanomaterials with a specific focus on microbial cellulose biosynthesis and bionanocomposites. He shifted his career to biological engineering and has been involved with the discipline for over a dozen years.

Dr. Catchmark has a nearly life-long interest in environmental stewardship. Sustainability in terms of the life cycle of the products we manufacture and the environmental impacts of the processes we use to produce them are critical issues for our society. After working as a nanodevice design and process engineer for many years, Dr. Catchmark was eager to apply ideas emerging in the nanodevice fabrication community to the very disparate biomaterials community. His research group focuses on the development of sustainable biologically derived nanomaterials with a focus on polysaccharide polyelectrolyte complexes, bacterial cellulose, crystalline nanocellulose and other biopolymer composites. Most of the materials developed in Dr. Catchmark’s lab are based on food biopolymers. The objective of his research is to replace unsustainable materials such as those derived from petroleum with biopolymers ready for volume commercialization. He has developed several new biomaterials in the process of commercialization including a new insoluble polysaccharide barrier material aimed at replacing low density polyethylene (LDPE) laminates in food and other packaging applications, a new insoluble polysaccharide foam product for packaging and biomedical applications, and a new nanocellulose with controllable surface polarity enabling the volume production of improved composite materials.

Member Focus

Mark A. Eiteman

Professor Mark A. Eiteman is a Founding, Charter and Fellow member of IBE. He has distinguished himself with extraordinary contributions to biological engineering and to IBE.

Professor Eiteman was one of the first faculty members who joined the University of Georgia in 1991 to build a new undergraduate degree curriculum in biological engineering. He dared to take on this challenging assignment as an assistant professor in the midst of serious debates questioning whether biological engineering is indeed a new engineering discipline or not. In the process, he help formulate philosophical and technical content for the degree program as well as established a world renowned research that has led to numerous research articles published in most prestigious journals (e.g., PNAS) and patents that are now licensed to prominent industries.

Professor Eiteman recently served as a Fulbright-Nehru Scholar in India for six months where he guided several students and counseled faculty in a prominent university and lectured at several universities throughout the country and in Sri Lanka.

If you would like to nominate yourself or someone else for the "Member Focus" or the "Student Spotlight," email Cody Jones at IBE Headquarters a few sentences describing yourself, your achievements or what you are currently working on. Sending a headshot is optional.



Student Spotlight

Abdullah Dakhlalla

Abdullah Dakhlalla is currently a Ph.D. candidate in the department of Agricultural and Biological Engineering at Mississippi State University. He has maintained membership with IBE during his undergraduate and graduate years, and he is currently the secretary of the Ecological Engineering section of IBE. His research focuses on quantifying the impacts of climate change and land use change on water quantity, including surface water and groundwater, and water quality, including sediments, nutrients, and bacteria loads. He has constructed, calibrated and validated models for two large watersheds in Mississippi that suffer from water quality deterioration.

Abdullah has demonstrated his passionate dedication to his research and his teaching. He has received the Bagley College of Engineering Graduate Fellowship award in 2012 and 2013 for his outstanding commitment to research. Abdullah has also been selected as an NSF GK-12 Fellow, where he teaches and develops lesson plans for High School Physics classes that incorporate aspects of his research methodologies in the classroom. As an undergraduate student, he has received the Mississippi Recycling Coalition scholarship due to his commitment to environmental conservation and recycling efforts.

Student Spotlight

Anna Doloman

Anna Doloman is a PhD candidate at Utah State University in the department of Biological Engineering. As a recent member of IBE (since 2016) she has served its community as a Graduate Council representative and took part in organizing the recent 2016 IBE Annual Meeting in Greenville, SC.

Anna is a passionate researcher driven by application of fundamental scientific knowledge to solve real world problems. She does her research in the field of renewable energy, specifically working on anaerobic digestion of wastewater. She is focused on microbial consortia that drive the whole process of digestion and investigates ways to improve the wellbeing and productivity of those consortia.

Anna holds an engineering Biotechnology BS degree from National Technical University of Ukraine “Kyiv Polytechnic Institute” (NTUU ”KPI”) and a Microbiology MS degree from the University of Oklahoma, which she attended as a Fulbright Scholar.

Anna enjoys communicating her research and spreading scientific ideas. She has attended numerous scientific conferences, both in Ukraine and in USA. Her oral presentations received awards at the meetings in 2012 “Ecology.Human.Society.” at NTUU ”KPI” and at the regional meeting of Missouri Valley and Missouri Branch of American Society for Microbiology, Kansas City, MO, 2014. She also won awards for the poster presentations at Graduate Student Research and Performance Day at the University of Oklahoma, 2014 “McNair Choice Award for the best graduate student poster” and at the 2016 IBE Annual Meeting in Greenville, SC.

In addition to being a member of IBE, Anna is also a member of American Society for Microbiology and believes that “eventually, microbes will save the world”. Managing kindergarten of bacteria in the lab does not take all her time and energy: she enjoys rock climbing, running marathons and science fiction.

Nominations Needed

Send nominations for Member Focus and Student Spotlight to Cody Jones at IBE Headquarters.
Please include a headshot with your submission. The headshot may be submitted at a later date if necessary.