Research News

University of Houston Partners with AuraVax Therapeutics on COVID-19 Vaccine

Navin Varadarajan, M.D. Anderson Professor of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering, has created a nasal vaccine for COVID-19 and a company to market it in partnership with the University of Houston.

The University of Houston has entered into an exclusive license option agreement with AuraVax Therapeutics Inc., a Houston, TX based biotech company developing novel vaccines to help patients defeat debilitating respiratory diseases such as COVID-19. Under terms of the agreement, AuraVax has the option to exclusively license a new intranasal COVID-19 vaccine technology developed by Dr. Navin Varadarajan, M.D. Anderson Professor of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering.

Faster swimming bacteria could help with spills

Narendra Dewangan, a graduate student of Dr. Jacinta Conrad, has completed work with the Conrad Research Group on how faster swimming bacteria could be used to help with removal of pollutants.

A new paper and research from the Conrad Research Group of the Department of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering at the University of Houston’s Cullen College of Engineering looks at how bacteria could be used to help with removal of pollutants, like in oil spills and wastewater treatment.

Rapid tests for COVID-19 now, other diseases later the goal for Kourentzi

Dr. Katerina Kourentzi, Research Associate Professor of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering, is developing a saliva-based lateral flow assay rapid test for COVID-19 detection. The test strips for the assay are designed using the Biodot XYZ3060 Dispensing Platform.

The development of point-of-care tests – and as of late, for COVID-19 – has been the primary focus of Dr. Katerina Kourentzi, Research Associate Professor of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering in the William A. Brookshire Department of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering at the University of Houston's Cullen College of Engineering.

Grabow heading UH portion of team for $2M NSF Distributed Chemical Manufacturing Project

Dr. Lars C. Grabow, Dan Luss Professor of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering at the Cullen College of Engineering, received a NSF grant to continue studies on small-scale reactors and catalysts.

A partnership between researchers at the University of Virginia and the University of Houston has continued to flourish, and expanded to another professor at the Worcester Polytechnic Institute, after the National Science Foundation chose their Emerging Frontiers in Research and Innovation (EFRI) proposal – the development of dynamically operated, smaller scale reactors that can process distributed feedstock – for a $2 million award.

Breaking Molecular Traffic Jams with Finned Nanoporous Materials

3D finned zeolite catalysts enhance molecule access to the interior of the particle (graphic created by J.C. Palmer).

Thousands of chemical processes used by the energy industry and for other applications rely on the high speed of catalytic reactions, but molecules frequently are hindered by molecular traffic jams that slow them down. Now an entirely new class of porous catalysts has been invented, using unique fins to speed up the chemistry by allowing molecules to skip the lines that limit the reaction. 

Showing Promise: UH Researchers Explore Care Options for COVID-19

UH engineering professor Navin Varadarajan (L) and pharmaceutics professor Xinli Liu (R) are collaborating on development and testing of a COVID-19 inhalation vaccine.

Not since the middle of the 20th century, amid the polio epidemic, have vaccines or drug treatment been so widely anticipated as those for COVID-19. In 1955 when the polio vaccine was licensed, the health outlook for millions of children improved and normal life resumed. Still, not all pandemics have found such resolution.

Rimer receives NSF grant for zeolite work

Dr. Jeffrey Rimer, the Abraham E. Dukler Professor of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering, has received a $446,364 grant from the NSF to study zeolites.

The complexity and mystery of zeolites – porous aluminosilicate crystals – was what first attracted Dr. Jeffrey Rimer, the Abraham E. Dukler Professor of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering, to his current field of research.

Researchers Take a Cue from Nature to Create Bulletproof Coatings

Alamgir Karim, Dow Chair Professor of chemical and biomolecular engineering, says the chitin project could lead to more environmentally friendly plastics and other polymers.

Shrimp, lobsters and mushrooms may not seem like great tools for the battlefield, but three engineers from the University of Houston are using chitin – a derivative of glucose found in the cellular walls of arthropods and fungi – and 3D printing techniques to produce high-impact multilayered coatings that can protect soldiers against bullets, lasers, toxic gas and other dangers.

UH Engineers Test Biodegradable Self-Guided Reconnaissance Devices

UH ECE student Jarrett Lonsford works on the electronics for a sensing drift node in Dr. Aaron Becker's lab on Thursday, Oct. 3, 2019.

Researchers share video of their Advanced Naval Technology Exercise

 

Discretion is an integral part of covert reconnaissance missions. With that in mind, a team of UH Cullen College of Engineering researchers are working on a $1 million project to create self-guided biodegradable containers of sensors to map coastlines and the bottom of the ocean. 

UH Engineer Alamgir Karim leads game-changing project to advance copolymer production

Alamgir Karim, professor of chemical and biomolecular engineering and director of materials engineering at the University of Houston.

The National Science Foundation (NSF) awarded a three-year grant to a UH Cullen College of Engineering research team led by Alamgir Karim, professor of chemical and biomolecular engineering. The team’s project, titled “Ordering of Block Copolymer Systems with Enhanced Molecular Interactions and Diffusional Dynamics,” received $399,718.

Getting Closer: Finding Out Why the Immune System Attacks Itself

B cells are lymphocytes, or white blood cells, that make protein antibodies that attack a patient’s healthy proteins in patients with Rheumatoid Arthritis. Photo courtesy: GettyImages

B Cells Gone Bad Could be the Culprit in Rheumatoid Arthritis

 

Biomolecular researcher Navin Varadarajan recently published in Arthritis & Rheumatology journal a first-of-its-kind study -  a comprehensive profile of B cells in rheumatoid arthritis (RA). B cells are lymphocytes, or white blood cells, that make protein antibodies that attack a patient’s healthy proteins in patients with RA.

Establishing Immunotherapy For Pediatric Liver Cancer

One of the most common forms of liver cancer in adolescents is hepatocellular carcinoma in which patient survival rates are under 30 percent. Photo courtesy: GettyImages

T-Cell Editor Creating Powerful Immunotherapy Weapon

 

As part of a $6 million effort to establish new therapies for high-risk pediatric liver cancer, Navin Varadarajan, associate professor of chemical and biomolecular engineering at the Cullen College of Engineering, will modify T cells to recognize and kill glypican-3, a molecule found in liver cancer cells.

Undergrads From Across the Country Work As UH Engineering Researchers Over Summer

Student researcher presented their work at the 2018 UH REU Poster Session to students and faculty

UH Cullen College’s REU Programs Focus on Materials Science, Neurotechnologies

 

For 10 weeks over the summer, undergraduate students from across the U.S. became bonafide engineering researchers, working alongside some of UH Cullen College’s brightest minds to solve some of the world’s most pressing technical challenges with science and ingenuity.

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