fbpx Research | University of Kentucky College of Engineering


Chemical engineering is constantly engaged in a wide variety of groundbreaking research across a diverse spectrum of interests in several facilities.

Undergraduate and graduate students have ample opportunities to perform hands-on research projects under the tutelage of highly qualified faculty who are readily accessible both inside and outside the classroom. By working in the hands-on environment of chemical engineering research, students have an opportunity to apply their classroom knowledge by solving real-world problems and often present the results of their research at regional and national conferences. The department has a long tradition of student recognition and awards for outstanding research projects.

Undergraduate research provides an excellent foundation for future graduate work. Every year some of the top graduates go on to pursue masters or Ph.D. degrees at UK or other outstanding universities throughout the country.

Graduate students pursue research projects that encompass a broad range of chemical and materials engineering endeavors, including advanced materials and nanotechnology, bioengineering, energy and environmental engineering. Many of these projects are multidisciplinary in character and involve interactions with researchers in agriculture, chemistry, physics, medicine and pharmacy.

Research News

Left: Headshot of Ashbey Manning Right: Headshot of Sydney Chapman

The University of Kentucky Office of Undergraduate Research (OUR) named its ten finalists in the 5-Minute Fast Track Competition last week. Among those, were Sydney Chapman, a senior, majoring in computer science and Ashbey Manning, a senior, majoring in chemical engineering.

Dibakar Bhattacharyya, Ph.D., is one of this year’s Great Teacher Award recipients. For the UK College of Engineering professor known across campus as "DB," there is nothing more exciting than that “aha!” moment when a student realizes their full potential. Teaching students continues to drive Bhattacharyya, now in his sixth decade at UK.

Faculty Awards

The annual College of Engineering Faculty Awards ceremony was held on April 27 at Malone's Prime and Events. Awards were given in the areas of research, service and graduate studies.

Four engineering students and three engineering alumni have been awarded the coveted five-year fellowship. 

L to R: Bertucci, Dailey and Lycans.

Three engineering students were selected to present their research at the Kentucky State Capitol on March 2. 

The goal of the project is to create a membrane-based downstream purification platform for large-scale continuous biomanufacturing of viral vectors and virus-like particles (VLPs).

A team of University of Kentucky researchers led by College of Engineering Professor Dibakar Bhattacharyya, Ph.D., and his Ph.D. student, Rollie Mills, have developed a medical face mask membrane that can capture and deactivate the SARS-CoV-2 spike protein on contact.

Manh Tien Nguyen, a graduate student in Chemical Engineering, was selected for the Department of Energy's (DOE) Office of Science Graduate Student Research (SCGSR) Program and the Energy Efficiency & Renewable Energy (EERE) Energy Storage Internship Program.

Lauren Mehanna, a Ph.D. student in the Department of Chemical Engineering, was awarded an honorable mention for the 2022 Dr. Rena Bizios Poster Award.

Molly Frazar is the 24th recipient of the Karen Wetterhahn Memorial Award, which recognizes one outstanding graduate student or postdoctoral researcher who exemplifies qualities of scientific excellence.

Professor Jeff Seay conducts a training session on the Trash-to-Tank Processor for the staff of Upcycle Africa in Mpigi, Uganda.

Jeff Seay's research has resulted in a device capable of converting waste plastic into clean fuel oil.

Bourbon is Kentucky's signature spirit.

Faculty with the institute will serve as judges in an upcoming contest to find innovative solutions for using spent grains.

Five of UK's ten NSF Graduate Research Fellows are from the College of Engineering

The NSF GRFP is the country’s oldest graduate fellowship program directly supporting graduate students since 1952.

Engineers are often tasked with solving complex problems, and one of their most important tools in finding a solution is their own creativity.

Ingenuity — that’s exactly what Sarah Wilson would need when confronted with a public health issue in her field.

Engineers are often tasked with solving complex problems, and one of their most important tools in finding a solution is their own creativity.

Ingenuity — that’s exactly what Sarah Wilson would need when confronted with a public health issue in her field.

Chemical engineering lecturer Sarah Wilson became interested in research on engineering student mental health while attending an engineering education conference.

The collaboration will allow two of the world’s leading carbon fiber research and development organizations to maximize their respective expertise in the field.

Bhattacharyya recently received a Rapid Response Research (RAPID) grant from the NSF to develop a mask that will deactivate COVID-19 on contact.

University of Kentucky engineering professor Dibakar Bhattacharyya recently announced he had the concept and the means to develop a medical face mask that would capture and deactivate COVID-19 on contact. Now, the director of UK’s Center of Membrane Sciences, along with collaborators from two different disciplines, has received a grant from the National Science Foundation (NSF) to make these masks a reality.

Rodney Andrews, professor of chemical engineering, is PI on the project.