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Director's Welcome

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Director's Welcome

Welcome for Fall 2022

Dimitrios Papavassiliou
Professor and Director, CBME

It is with excitement and optimism that I welcome you to the CBME website at the beginning of this academic year! After the challenges and the disruptions that the pandemic brought, we are now ready for a return to normalcy. For our students, this will be the time to experience college life as it should be, and for the first-year students, this will be a year of firsts. First time living with a roommate, first time in large calculus and chemistry classes, and first time at an OU home football game! For our alumni, we hope to see you again on our campus.

Last spring, we said goodbye to our seniors, 80% of whom had jobs or post-graduate opportunities with an average salary of $72,650. We are now about 200 undergraduates strong, with over 50 graduate students and post-docs, while over 50 new students started in August. Our student-faculty ratio is close to 12 with all our undergraduate courses taught by faculty – this is on par or better with private universities along the East and West Coasts. We are starting a new direction in our undergraduate studies, that of Sustainability, in addition to the Standard, Biotechnology and Pre-Med directions.

Current and future students, keep these options in mind as you get to your advising sessions!

This is a year of firsts for me as well. I have been in CBME for 23 years, but this year I am starting as Director of the School, following Dr. Brian Grady, who led CBME for the last 8 years. In other faculty updates, Dr. Jeff Harwell retired at the end of last Spring – we will all miss his teaching and mentorship. However, new faculty have joined our ranks: Dr. Alberto Striolo is back at OU from the University College London and is taking over the Controls course this semester. Dr. Kasun Gunasooriya has just joined from the Technical University of Denmark and will begin his teaching in the Spring, while Dr. Vivek Bajpai will join in January, coming to OU from Stanford. We anticipate Dr. Horst Hahn to join us from UC Irvine in October as a research professor, and with him, CBME will be the first department of Engineering in Oklahoma to have two active US National Academy of Engineering members in its faculty – a faculty that already boasts three Oklahoma Education Hall of Famers, five AIChE Fellows, four National Science Foundation Career awardees and one US Department of Energy Career award winner.

I urge our undergraduate students to take advantage of exciting research in our School. Find opportunities to work on treating cancer and making vaccines, to be stewards of the environment by discovering more efficient uses of energy and upcycling of polymer waste, to produce and store green energy, to invent better materials for separations and for artificial organs that prolong healthy lives in a cleaner environment. Looking into 2022, our School has multiple research scholarships for undergraduate researchers, as does the Gallogly College of Engineering. We also have scholarships through the Program of Excellence at CBME, awarded to over 40 students per year. Keep an eye out for the AIChE and the SWE activities – even with rain, the barbeque sponsored by our AIChE chapter was a success. The graduate student association is also planning a series of social events in the Fall. Try not to miss them. Be involved and have fun learning!

Dimitrios Papavassiliou

Dr. Brian Grady