ChE Students Win Four of Six PEERS Poster Prizes

First place winner Ashty Karim explains his research posterChE students swept this year’s Poster Exhibition & Engineering Research Symposium (PEERS) contest hosted by the Student Engineering Council and the Cockrell School Student Affairs Office as part of Research Week.

“Chemical engineering students took home four of the six prizes-very impressive,” said Rishi Garg, a PEERS organizer and fellow ChE undergraduate.

Ashty Karim, a fourth-year ChE student working with Professor Hal Alper, won the first place $500 prize with his poster “Optimizing Gene and Protein Expression in Saccharomyces cerevisiae for Metabolic Engineering Applications”.

“By creating libraries of gene regulatory elements with varying expression levels, we can up-regulate desired genes and down-regulate undesired, but essential, genes to enhance production of desired proteins and therefore desired chemicals,” said Karim.

“Our work bridges fundamental biology and industrial applications. It is exciting to participate in research that will make energy, chemicals, pharmaceuticals, and consumer goods more profitable, renewable, and environmentally-friendly.”

Professor Hal Alper said, “We’re proud of Ashty.  This poster was the perfect opportunity for him to showcase the hard work and innovation that goes into his research each day.”

Third-year ChE student Leon Dean, who works in Professor Grant Willson’s lab, earned the third place prize of $150 with his poster “OrientatioThird place poster winner Leon Dean presents his researchn Control of Silicon-containing Block Copolymers”.

“Block copolymers are one of the possible future paths for microelectronic patterning,” explained Dean. “These materials could be used to create lithographic templates to produce drives with capacities of more than one terabit per square inch in order to match increasing demands in the electronic world.”

Other ChE winners included sophomore Genevieve Lim and freshman Sai Gourisankar who won two of the three $50 underclassman prizes with their posters “Permeability of Conductive Polymers” and “Gold Nanoparticles for Bioimaging Applications”, respectively. Lim works in Professor Christine Schmidt‘s lab and Gourisankar in Professor Keith Johnston‘s lab.


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