Venture Cafe Providence – Corporate Innovation Night @ South Street Landing
Jul 18 @ 5:30 pm – 7:30 pm

Hosted by Venture Café Providence, Corporate Innovation Night, is designed to help corporates and startups form better collaborations to catalyze sustainable innovation. This event will also help entrepreneurs understand the specific problem-sets corporate innovators are battling and practical ways to co-create on solutions.

All FREE of charge!

Register here: https://venturecafeprovidence.org/corporateinno/ 

12th Annual RI SURF Conference
Jul 26 @ 9:00 am – 12:30 pm
12th Annual RI SURF Conference

The 12th Annual Rhode Island Summer Undergraduate Research Fellows Conference will be held on Friday, July 26, 2019, in the North District of the University of Rhode Island’s Kingston Campus, in the Richard E. Beaupre Center for Chemical & Forensic Sciences and the Center for Biotechnology and Life Sciences.

The Conference, co-sponsored by the RI IDeA Network of Biomedical Research Excellence (RI-INBRE) and the RI C-AIM/NSF EPSCoR, provides undergraduate students from around the state with a unique opportunity to present their summer research findings to a group of their peers. More than 140 posters will be presented in the biomedical, behavioral, environmental, and life sciences.

The conference is expected to draw an estimated 400 faculty, students, and administrators from the University of Rhode Island, Brown University, Providence College, Rhode Island College, Roger Williams University, Salve Regina University, Bryant University, the Community College of Rhode Island, and the Rhode Island School of Design.

REGISTER for the SURF Conference.

2019 Annual SSEER Workshop @ URI Bay Campus
Aug 29 @ 10:00 am – 2:00 pm

The purpose of the annual SSEER workshop is to share resources and provide training to improve the ability of scientists, administrators, communicators, and first-responders to assist the state of Rhode Island in addressing environmental emergencies and threats to public health and safety. Areas of focus this year will be the SSEER process; a National Incident Management System (NIMS) and Incident Command System (ICS) overview; and a special guest presentation on emergency preparedness at sensitive Rhode Island facilities.

Amgen Seminar Series in Chemical Engineering – Dr. Thomas Dziubla @ Cherry Auditorium, Kirk Hall
Sep 19 @ 12:45 pm – 1:45 pm

Biocompatibility or Toxicology? Oxidative Stress as a Focal Point of Nanomaterial Design


Dr. Thomas Dziubla
Department of Chemical & Materials Engineering, University of Kentucky


Of the weapons employed by the body’s defense mechanisms, oxidative stress appears to be the most ubiquitous, non-specific, and damaging. When oxidative mechanisms have been induced (e.g., the leukocyte respiratory burst), it can result in a degenerative cycle of chronic inflammation and cell death, which further stimulates the release of more harsh oxidants. However, under mild conditions, this oxidative stress stimulates tissue regeneration and cellular upregulation of protective mechanisms (e.g., ischemic preconditioning), improving the overall viability and prognosis of tissue health. A delicate balance of pro-oxidant and antioxidant mechanisms constitutively exist to ensure that only the beneficial effects are observed. For nanomaterials, oxidative stress poses an especially troubling challenge to their biocompatibility. Indeed, no material is in all biological settings and situations 100% non-inflammatory, non-toxic, non-teratogenic, non-carcinogenic, nonthrombogenic, and non-immunogenic. Yet, while it is classically considered a mechanism of toxicity, regulation of oxidative stress can be a new tool by which we tune and widen the biocompatibility window of nanomaterials. Here we present some initial efforts in creating materials with inherent antioxidant capabilities to tune and control biocompatibility for the effect of controlling chronic inflammation.

Bio: Dr. Thomas Dziubla, Ph.D. is Professor of Chemical Engineering and the Chair of the Department of Chemical and Materials Engineering at the University of Kentucky. He received his B.S. and Ph.D in Chemical Engineering from Purdue University (1998) and Drexel University (2002), respectively. In 2002–2004, he was an NRSA postdoctoral fellow in the Institute for Environmental Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine, where he worked on the design of degradable polymeric nanocarriers for the delivery of antioxidants. His research group is interested in the design of new functional polymeric biomaterials which can actively control local cellular oxidative stress for improved biomaterial integration and disease treatment. In 2019, he was inducted into the American Institute for Medical and Biological Engineering College of Fellows. He holds 5 patents, has authored over 75 peer reviewed publications, has edited a book on Oxidative Stress and Biomaterials, and is an editor of the Journal of Biomedical Materials Research Part B. Along with Dr. Zach Hilt, he is the Co-founder of Bluegrass Advanced Materials, LLC, a company that is currently developing and commercializing technologies based upon research from their laboratories.

This series at the University of Rhode Island is made possible through the generosity of Amgen, West Greenwich, R.I.

Refreshments provided by the Joseph Estrin Endowment.

Amgen Seminar Series in Chemical Engineering – Nicole Loontjens @ Cherry Auditorium, Kirk Hall
Sep 26 @ 12:45 pm – 1:45 pm

Inherently Safer Design – It Starts With You


Nicole Loontjens
Process Safety Manager, Americas Styrenics LLC


Trevor Kletz, the godfather of process safety, said, “What you don’t have can’t leak.” If you aren’t using a hazardous chemical, then that chemical can’t leak. If you use one tank instead of two, that is one tank less that can leak. As researchers, engineers, and plant operators, there are an unlimited number of ways that we can design inherently safer systems. This talk will introduce you to the inherently safer design principles using examples throughout industry.

Bio: Nicole Loontjens graduated from URI’s chemical engineering program in 2001 and is currently the Process Safety Manager for Americas Styrenics – a company that produces styrene and polystyrene for the North and South American markets. She began her career with Dow Chemical in Midland, MI, before transferring to the polystyrene facility in Connecticut in 2004. She has a Process Safety Practice Certificate from Texas A&M University and is an ISA 84 Safety Instrumented Systems Expert. Nicole contributed to the forthcoming book from AIChE’s Center for Chemical Process Safety – Guidelines for Inherently Safer Design.

This series at the University of Rhode Island is made possible through the generosity of Amgen, West Greenwich, R.I.

Refreshments provided by the Joseph Estrin Endowment.

National Cancer Institute at the National Institutes of Health @ Webinar
Oct 1 @ 2:00 pm – 3:00 pm

FREE Applicant Assistance Program (AAP)


October 1, 2019, 2:00 p.m. – 3:00 p.m.


We are very excited to share with you that the National Institutes of Health (NIH) has expanded their FREE Applicant Assistance Program (AAP) for companies interested in applying for SBIR/STTR grant funding. The AAP provides expert coaches from Eva Garland Consulting (EGC) to assist small businesses in preparing SBIR/STTR proposals for the January 6, 2020 deadline.

As part of the AAP expansion, NIH will support companies applying to the following institutes:

  • National Cancer Institute (NCI)
  • National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS)
  • National Institute on Aging (NIA)
  • National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI)

The application for the program and additional information can be found at the AAP program website. The application is very simple to complete, and the deadline is October 4, 2019.

To learn more, join NIH experts for an informational webinar on Tuesday, October 1, 2019, 2-3- p.m. EDT. Please click here to sign up for this webinar.





Amgen Seminar Series in Chemical Engineering – Dr. Stephen J. Kmiotek @ Cherry Auditorium, Kirk Hall
Oct 17 @ 12:45 pm – 1:45 pm

Chemical Process Safety in the Chemical Engineering Curriculum


Dr. Stephen J. Kmiotek
Chemical Engineering Department, Worcester Polytechnic Institute


In 2011, ABET modified its accreditation criteria for Chemical Engineering programs to include “….. the hazards associated with (chemical, physical and/or biological) processes.” The new criterion was added in large part because of continued serious process safety incidents within the chemical industry and, based on the incident investigations, an apparent lack of understanding of these hazards by chemical engineering graduates. ABET left it to universities to address how best to meet the criterion at their institutions. Despite resources provided by, for instance, the Center for Chemical Process Safety, it has proven a challenge to add significant new content to a packed course of study. To address the needs, the chemical engineering faculty turned to their roots: spiraling the core content into the curriculum in foundational courses and turning to project-based learning for a summative experience.

This talk will discuss how we have implemented these process safety requirements within the context of WPI’s program, including examples of some of the projects our students have conducted.

Bio: Dr. Kmiotek is a Professor of Practice in Chemical Engineering at WPI, primarily focused on chemical process safety and environmental issues as they pertain to chemical plant design. Prior to joining the WPI faculty in 2012, he was the Responsible Care Leader for the Dow Chemical Company’s northeast operations, with overall responsibility for environmental, health, safety, industrial hygiene, emergency response, and security at Dow’s northeast manufacturing sites. In total, he has more than 30 years of experience in the chemical industry, and consulting engineering. He has worked and managed operations in manufacturing and in research and development and has designed environmental control systems and process safety systems for companies as diverse as pulp and paper mills, foundries, organic and inorganic chemical manufacturers, and electronics and microelectronics manufacturers throughout North America. At WPI, he is also the Faculty Advisor for Tau Beta Pi and for the student chapter of AIChE. His awards include the 1986 Sigma Xi award for outstanding doctoral research and the 2017 WPI Trustee’s Award for Outstanding Teaching. He holds a PhD in Chemical Engineering from WPI and is a Registered Professional Engineer.

This series at the University of Rhode Island is made possible through the generosity of Amgen, West Greenwich, R.I.

Refreshments provided by the Joseph Estrin Endowment

Amgen Seminar Series in Chemical Engineering – Dr. Anju Gupta @ Cherry Auditorium, Kirk Hall
Oct 24 @ 12:45 pm – 1:45 pm

Graphene and Copper Coatings for Phase Change Heat Transfer


Dr. Anju Gupta
Chemical Engineering Department, Rochester Institute of Technology


Phase change heat transfer is crucial to various engineering applications. Some prominent examples include distillation reboiler, nuclear reactor, high-powered electronic systems, and  refrigeration. Boiling is a heat transfer process accompanied by phase change from liquid to vapor, subsequently, pool boiling involves the boiling of a stagnant liquid over a heated surface. This talk aims to examine the physical mechanisms of boiling heat transfer that are of prime importance to quantify the efficacy of the process. For various manifestations, the pool boiling performance of a surface is dictated by higher critical heat fluxes and heat transfer coefficients. This talk examines various strategies to create multiscale surface-active engineered surfaces with tunable properties essentially roughness, porosity, hydrophilicity, wickability and wicking rates and their influence on the heat transfer properties. First, several surface engineering methods and the resultant physical properties that can effectively modify the vapor bubble dynamics will be discussed using multiscale graphene coatings as an example. The second part of the talk will focus on electrodeposited graphene nanoplatelet (GNP) enriched copper composite coatings formed systematically by increasing the GNP concentration to yield hierarchal porous structures. These superhydrophilic with very high wicking rates resulted in high critical heat flux (CHF) and heat transfer coefficient (HTC). The copper/2 wt% GNP (weight/volume) composites exceeded the highest pool boiling performance reported in literature with a CHF of 286 W/cm² and HTC of 204 kW/m²-°C, representing an improvement of 130% in CHF and 290% in HTC over a polished copper surface. High thermal conductivity along with improved hydrophilicity and wickability of the copper/GNP coatings are attributed for the enhanced CHF. High-speed images revealed reduced bubble departure diameters and micro-size pores on the electrodeposited surface serving as nucleation sites. The increase in the bubble frequency and delayed formation of vapor blanket resulted in enhanced heat transfer properties.

Bio: Anju Gupta graduated from University of Rhode Island with her doctorate in Chemical Engineering from Geoff Bothun’s laboratory in May 2012. Her Intefacial Thermal and Transport lab studies phase change heat transfer on novel substrates, and transport mechanisms across the cell membrane. Dr Gupta has received funding from NSF, ACS PRF and Ward Ford Foundation and hold two patents. Dr. Gupta is an active member of AIChE , ACS, North American Thermal Analysis Society and ASEE and has published her work in a variety of scientific and education journals.

This series at the University of Rhode Island is made possible through the generosity of Amgen, West Greenwich, R.I.

Refreshments provided by the Joseph Estrin Endowment

NE I-Corps @ Rhode Island Kick-Off Workshop @ URI Kingston Campus
Jan 15 @ 5:00 pm – 8:00 pm

Kick-Off Workshop


    • On January 15, from 5:00 – 8:00 PM, attend a kick-off workshop
    • Each team presents their idea
    • Then you learn how to:
      • Identify top customer segments
      • Develop hypotheses about the value proposition offered to each segment
      • Find and effectively interview potential customers about their problems/needs

NE I-Corps is partnering with URI Ventures and Venture Mentoring Service of RI to offer NE I-Corps @ Rhode Island. This program is part of the National Science Foundation initiative to help move innovations to market. It is a free, 3-week interactive program to help researchers and engineers learn the skills necessary to engage in informed product development and explore the potential applications of their new technologies.

The program kicks-off on January 15th from 5:00 – 8:00 PM at the URI campus in Kingston with a final presentation on February 5th from 5:00 – 8:00 PM. Applications are due January 7 , 2020.

NE I-Corps @ Rhode Island is open to any individuals and/or teams who are working on new, innovative and differentiating technology that could be a candidate for future SBIR proposals. Whether you have an idea or have started a business, this program will help you explore the potential applications of your new technology. –

You must apply before the January 7, 2020 deadline!

NE I-Corps @ Rhode Island Lessons Learned Workshop @ URI Kingston Campus
Feb 5 @ 5:00 pm – 8:00 pm

Lessons Learned Workshop


    • On February 5, from 5:00 – 8:00 PM, attend the Lessons Learned Workshop
    • Each team presents their findings
    • Receive additional coaching
    • And determine next steps to advance your idea