Lab News

This site provides periodic updates of lab activities: publication of papers, awards, graduations etc.

Honors College Thesis Gong Quadraphenia

posted May 1, 2016, 1:46 PM by Wayne Curtis

Curtis Lab Seniors hand in their thesis and ring the Honors College Gong (L > R) Nate Hamaker, Olga Vinagradova, Erik Curtis, and last (and least;) Katie Legenski ..   
* Quadraphenia reference to "The Who" album ... with a particular approporiote song "I have had Enough

D.C. Roadtrip to Support National Science & Technology Festival

posted May 1, 2016, 1:01 PM by Wayne Curtis   [ updated May 1, 2016, 2:11 PM ]

Dr. Curtis takes a group of students down to Washington DC to participate in the National Science and Engineering Festival where over 75,000 people attend a multi-day event with over 3000 booths, exhibitions and demonstrations.  Sponsors or particular note to Chemical Engineers (Dow, Chevron, illmina, AstraZeneca, 3M,Bayer, Corning) with extensive support from societies (ACS, APS, API, ASM, FASEB, FDA), and nearly every governmental agency (NASA, USDA,NIH, NIST, DoD, NOAA).  As part of the Society of InVitro Biology Booth, Penn State students including Haonan Xu, Olga Vinogradova, Tina Li, Krishnan Sreenivas presented plant tissue culture technology and plant propagation bioreactor systems.  Here is picture of crew at Great Falls on way out of Washington.

Examining "HairyRoots" under stereomicroscope

Erik gains Merck Job, (nearly) loses end of finger

posted Apr 4, 2016, 8:57 AM by Wayne Curtis   [ updated Apr 4, 2016, 6:43 PM ]

Erik accepted position with Merck in West Point, PA; and cleaning his bike chain got his finger caught in the 'spokes' of the disc brake while the wheel was spinning.  Nice clean cut that even took off the end of the finger bone!  I have a video of it being sewn up for those who are amazed like me at the ability of the human body to heal!  

Happy Easter! Reed & Rachel Return for talk on their Regeneron Careers!

posted Mar 29, 2016, 8:40 AM by April Hile

Recent CurtisLab alums, Reed Taylor ('14) and Rachel Erwin ('15), returned from Regeneron to give a lectured tailored to Dr. Curtis' Introduction to BioChemical Engineering Course (ChE 340)---it was awesome! Great to have insight into a 'Day in the Life' of a PSU ChE post-matriculation including optimizing bioprocess operations and purification as well as Regeneron's ongoing work. 
A photo in the Fenske Pilot Plant (Shared Fermentation Facility) before it all gets torn down!
L to R: Rachel Erwin, Wayne Curtis, Reed Taylor

Divakar (PhD '97) returns to PSU to serve on IPAC!

posted Mar 29, 2016, 8:27 AM by April Hile   [ updated Mar 29, 2016, 8:29 AM ]

Divakar Ramakrishnan returns to PSU to serve on Penn State's Chemical Engineering Department's IPAC (Industrial Partnership Advisory Committee). His PhD thesis in 1997 was on "Design principles for large-scale growth of root cultures in bioreactors". After graduating, he went onto work for Eli Lilly, attain a Harvard MBA, serve as founder on a biotech startup, scale-up Eli Lilly's European manufacturing, and now works in Cambridge overseeing a small Eli Lilly biotech project. 
        Divakar circa 1997                                                     L-R: Sammy, Olga Vinogradova, Krishnan Sreenivas, Divakar
                                                                                           Ramakrishnan, Wayne Curtis, Haonan Xu 
                                                                                           (and dawn redwood of course!)

PSU AESEDA highlights diverse research in Africa by Penn Staters!

posted Feb 25, 2016, 5:49 AM by April Hile   [ updated Feb 28, 2016, 8:32 PM ]

Before President Barron was President of Penn State, he was once a Penn State Dean of the College of Earth & Mineral Sciences, when he founded the Penn State Alliance for Education, Sciences, Engineering, and Development in Africa. He's breathed back some new life into this PSU Alliance by hosting 50 PSU researchers from all the campuses for a symposium of ~50 speakers giving 2 minute presentations followed by a dinner. 
Looks like Dr. Curtis definitely found some new friends with whom to 'play in the sandbox' (evidence below)! CurtisLab looks forward to fostering synergies within this diverse group to help tackle the significant and robust problems facing Africa. 

One of CurtisLab's first undergraduates returns... with his son!

posted Feb 25, 2016, 5:23 AM by April Hile   [ updated Feb 25, 2016, 5:24 AM ]

Thanks to the Holihan family for stopping by CurtisLab---and just in time to see Fenske Lab before it's demise! Hopefully we've got another Nittany Lion on our hands! WE ARE! 
Sean Holihan graduated in 1993, completing his undergraduate honors thesis in CurtisLab (at the time in Wartik) entitled "Hydraulic permeability of packed bed roots".

'John Wayne' Band Day--blast from the past!

posted Feb 25, 2016, 5:21 AM by April Hile   [ updated Feb 25, 2016, 5:35 AM ]

Sabbatical Rock Tour Preparation (we hope)! Dr. Curtis has a (surprise) jam session with old friend and longtime so-called 80s cheese band, Velveeta bass player, John Matthews (hence John + Wayne). What an awesome day! Looking forward to the encore downtown, featuring playsets with Goo Goo Dolls "Slide" and Bad Company's "Shooting Star"!

Valentine's Graduate Recruitment Weekend!

posted Feb 25, 2016, 4:59 AM by April Hile   [ updated Mar 7, 2016, 8:00 PM by Wayne Curtis ]

Seeking one intense graduate student to start this summer on a NSF/Gates Foundation project on orphan crop propagation and protein production/purification and another on wastewater in the fall! See attached for more details; if interested in wastewater, contact April directly (cannot disclose proprietary information). 

Thanks to all those that came to Happy Valley--especially those with a proclivity for Biology, who lunched with Dr. Rioux and Dr. Curtis at India Pavilion, and caught the blustery tour from the IST Building, Nittany Lion Statue, Pilot Plant, & Beyond! 

Double Digits! CurtisLab's 10th Publication of 2015 Accepted!

posted Dec 15, 2015, 8:04 PM by April Hile

A culmination of FIVE years of iterations on reactor designs with numerous unforeseen obstacles along the way, CurtisLab's manuscript, A Temporary Immersion Plant Propagation Bioreactor with Decoupled Gas and Liquid Flows for Enhanced Control of Gas Phase, was accepted to Biotechnology Progress. It details development of our Hy-TIB reactor, a Hydrostatically-driven Temporary Immersion Bioreactor that emphasizes low-cost scaleability for plant propagation, which is essential given their generally miniscule pricing. Current research involves its scale-up with collaborations in Africa towards propagation of Dioscorea (yam--not sweet potato--) to help feed millions. Sergio Florez, Matt Curtis, and Sydney Shaw spent COUNTLESS hours with massive the assistance of Nate Hamaker---not to mention the venerable Jeff Larsen.

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