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    2007 Peck Lecture & Distinguished Alumni Awards

    Each year, the Department of Chemical and Biological Engineering at IIT invites an esteemed colleague from academia, government or industry to speak on topical biological, environmental and/or chemical engineering issues. This lecture series has its roots in the late 1970s when it was initiated in honor of Ralph Peck, who served as chairman of the Department of Chemical Engineering at IIT from 1953 to 1967.

    In addition, on the day of the lecture, the department presents its annual Distinguished Alumni Awards. These awards are presented annually to alumni who have brought recognition to the department through their outstanding contributions to the advancement of the chemical and/or environmental engineering professions, and to alumni who have shown exceptional dedication to the department through the generous donation of their time, effort and/or financial resources.

    Photo Album
    Friday, October 5, 2007
    Perlstein Hall Auditorium
    Illinois Institute of Technology, 10 W. 33rd Street, Chicago, Illinois


    4:00 - 5:30 pm
    2007 Peck Lecture and Distinguished Alumni Awards| Perlstein Hall Auditorium
    Doing More with Less: Hydrogels as Selective Filters for the Transport of Proteins and Other Macromolecules

    Presented by Dr. John L. Anderson
    Illinois Institute of Technology
    5:30 - 6:30 pm
    Reception, Perlstein Hall lobby

    A reception for alumni and friends of IIT and the Department of Chemical and Biological Engineering will follow the lecture.

    Peck Lecture Abstract

    Because of their volume filling capacity, gels have potential as selective transport barriers for macromolecules. The separations can be based on either steric mechanisms (volume exclusion) or a specific solute/gel affinity. Perhaps the most important example of gel barriers is the extracellular matrix (ECM), a fibrin gel that fills the aqueous spaces between cells in animals. The problem with gels is their fragility and large osmotic compressibility. A composite medium formed by synthesizing a gel in the pore spaces of a membrane or particle, or between two closely spaced surfaces, can achieve the desired combination of mechanical strength and molecular selectivity. In this talk I give an overview of research aimed at understanding the transport of water and proteins in synthetic gels (polyacrylamide, PAA) and natural gels (fibrin, the natural polymer of ECM) that are mechanically stabilized. The results are discussed in terms of structural models for gels based in part on their Darcy (water) permeability. Of the several takeaways from the talk, perhaps the most interesting is that while hydrogels restrict water flow as much as porous rock, they have a rather small influence on the diffusion of molecules until the molecular size is comparable to the spacing between the gel fibers.

    2007 Peck Lecturer

    John L. Anderson is the eighth president of Illinois Institute of Technology. He assumed the office on August 1, 2007.

    A Wilmington, Del., native, Anderson served as provost of Case Western Reserve University from 2004 until joining IIT. Prior to Case, he served for 28 years at Carnegie Mellon University, including eight years as dean of the College of Engineering. He was a member of the Cornell University faculty before joining Carnegie Mellon.

    Anderson received his bachelor's degree in chemical engineering from the University of Delaware and his Ph.D. in chemical engineering from the University of Illinois at Urbana–Champaign.

    Anderson is a member of the National Academy of Engineering and a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and has been awarded a Guggenheim Fellowship. He has held visiting professorships at Massachusetts Institute of Technology, the University of Melbourne (Australia), and the Landbouwuniversiteit Wageningen (The Netherlands).

    He has presented guest lectureships at universities throughout the United States, and is the author of more than 100 journal articles and book chapters.

    Anderson and his wife, Pat, have two children and two grandchildren.

    2007 Distinguished Alumni Award

    ChBE is proud to honor Charles W. Pierce with the 2007 Distinguished Alumni Award in recognition of his legacy as the first African-American chemical engineer in the United States. In 1901, he was the first graduate of Armour Institute of Technology’s chemical engineering program.

    After completing his degree, Pierce moved to Alabama to teach at Normal College, now known as the Tuskegee Institute. There he worked alongside such pioneers as Booker T. Washington and George Washington Carver. In 1907, he continued his career at the State Agricultural and Mechanical College, the present-day North Carolina A&T, and headed the mechanical engineering department. Pierce eventually returned to Chicago, and in 1921 he began teaching physics at Wendell Phillips High School. In 1935, he transferred schools and started teaching science and physics at DuSable High School, where he taught until his retirement in 1941. He passed away in 1947 at the age of 71.

    After more than six years of researching his legacy, including determining whether any other chemical engineering programs graduated an African-American student prior to 1901, ChBE and Armour College are pleased to pronounce Pierce as the nation’s first African-American chemical engineer.

    Chemical and Biological Engineering
    Perlstein Hall, Suite 127
    10 W. 33rd Street
    Chicago, IL 60616
    Phone: 312.567.3040
    Fax: 312.567.8874