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Meet the Division Leaders 
for the AIChE Forest Bioproducts Division, 2014

2014 Update: At the end of 2013, Dr. Shri Ramaswamy became our new Chair, with Dr. Junyong Zhu now serving as Vice Chair. Several directors were also added, as noted in the page on leaders of the Forest Bioproducts Division. Here are the relevant bios.

Chair: Dr. Sridharan (Shri) Ramaswamy

Sridharan (Shri) Ramaswamy
Department of Bioproducts and Biosystems Engineering
University of Minnesota
2004 Folwell Avenue
St. Paul, Mn 55108
Tel: (612) 624 8797, Fax: (612) 625 6286

Dr. Sridharan (Shri) Ramaswamy is Professor and Head of the Department of Bioproducts and Biosystems Engineering at the University of Minnesota, St. Paul, MN. From 2003 to 2006 he was Professor and Head of the Department of Bio-based Products (formerly Wood and Paper Science). He was Associate Professor from October 1995 to June 2003, also at the University of Minnesota, St. Paul. He has taught many undergraduate and graduate level courses in Paper Science and Engineering. His research emphasis has been in transport processes in porous media and papermaking process development.

Prior to joining the University, Shri was a Senior Project Leader at Scott Paper Company (Philadelphia, PA), 1994-1995, working with papermaking processes research and development with special emphasis on vacuum de-watering and through air drying. Prior to that he was a Senior Research Engineer at Hercules Inc. (Wilmington, DE), where he worked from 1990 to 1993 pursuing applications technology development in paper chemicals with a special emphasis on compression strength, alkaline sizing, wet strength and dry strength.

He has a Ph.D. in Paper Science and Engineering from SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry, Syracuse, NY, 1990. Other degrees include M.S. Chemical Engineering, Syracuse University, 1988; M.S. Paper Science and Engineering, SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry, Syracuse, 1986; a Diploma in Pulp and Paper Technology, University of Roorkee, Roorkee, India, 1981; and B.S. Physics, University of Madras, Madras, India, 1979.

Vice Chair: Junyong Zhu (and Acting Treasurer)

Junyong Zhu, Ph.D
Scientific Team Leader
USDA Forest Products Laboratory
One Gifford Pinchot Dr.
Madison, WI 53726
Phone: (608) 231 - 9520
FAX: (608) 231 -9538

Dr. Junyong Zhu joined the U.S. Forest Service, Forest Products Laboratory (FPL), Madison, Wisconsin, in February, 2003. He is a Scientific Team Leader engaging research and development related to wood and fiber utilization. Dr. Zhu research expertise is the area of woody biomass such as forest residues upgrading and processing for productions of fiber, cellulose nanomaterial, sugar, biofuel, and chemicals.

Dr. Zhu also holds an adjunct Professorship at the Dept. of Biological Systems Engineering of the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Before his appointment at the Forest Products Laboratory, he was a faculty member at the Institute of Paper Science and Technology (IPST, now Part of Georgia Institute of Technology), Atlanta, GA, for about 10 years, where he was an Assistant Professor first and promoted to Associate Professor in 1999.

Dr. Zhu is a Technical Editor of TAPPI Journal, member of the Editorial Board for BioEnergy Research (Also an Associate Editor), BioResources, J. Biobased Materials and Bioenergy, China Pulp and Paper. He has published over 140 referred articles and delivered about 100 presentations at various national and international conferences. He is also a co-inventor of 17 patents and applications. Dr. Zhu is an elected Fellow of International Academy of Wood Science. In 2014, Dr. Zhu received US Forest Service Deputy Chief for R&D’s Distinguished Science Award.

Dr. Zhu received his Ph.D in Engineering from the University of California, Irvine, in 1991.

Outgoing Chair: Dr. B. V. Ramarao

B. V. Ramarao, Professor
Paper and Bioprocess Engineering Dept.
SUNY College of Environmental Science & Forestry
310 Walters Hall
Phone: (315) 470-6513
Fax: (315) 470-6593

Dr. B.V. Ramarao is a Professor in the Paper and Bioprocess Engineering Dept. at SUNY College of Environmental Science & Forestry, Syracuse. He is Associate Director of the Empire State Paper Research Institute since 2003. He has served as Acting Chair in the Faculty of Paper and Bioprocess Engineering, SUNY College of Env. Science & Forestry, 1999-2000. He has been on the SUNY faculty since 1986, and was Senior Fellow, Dept. of Chem. Eng., National Univ. of Singapore, 1995-1996.

Ram has a Ph. D. in Chem. Eng. from Clarkson University (Potsdam NY 1986). He has been active in AIChE for many years and has been serving in the Forest Products Division as Programming Chair since 2005 and will continue in 2007. He has been an active participant in AIChE Annual Meetings and in the Forest Products Division business meeting, and has served as a session chair at the Annual Meeting three times.

He is a member of the National Working Group on Nanotechnology in the Forest Products Industry (sponsored by TAPPI) and other industry groups. He has 47 peer-reviewed publications and one patent.

His research interests include fluid particle separations, consolidation and dewatering of pulp suspensions, colloidal and surface phenomena, transport and thermodynamics of moisture in paper and other cellulosic materials.


Director: Dr. Amar Mohanty

Amar K. Mohanty
College of Agriculture and Natural Resources, School of Packaging
Michigan State University
130 Packaging Building
East Lansing, MI 48824-1223
Phone Number: 517-355-3603
Fax Number: 517-353-8999

Dr. Amar Kumar Mohanty is currently an Associate Professor at the School of Packaging, Michigan State University. Recently, he has accepted the position of Professor and Premier's Research Chair in Biomaterials and Transportation and will be the Director of a new Bioproducts Discovery and Development Center at the University of Guelph, Ontario, Canada. He earned his Master's degree in Chemistry with gold medal and the Ph.D. in Chemistry with emphasis on polymers and natural fibers from the Utkal University. He has more than 200 publications to his credit, including 134 peer-reviewed journal papers, 3 book chapters and 5 US Patents. Dr. Mohanty is an accomplished researcher and was the holder of the prestigious Alexander von Humboldt Fellowship in Technical University of Berlin, Germany and received the Andrew Chase Forest Products Division Award for 2006 from the Forest Products Division of the American Institute of Chemical Engineers. Dr. Mohanty's principal research is focused on biobased materials, nanotechnology, renewable resource-based materials, natural fiber composites, biodegradable and biobased polymers, nanoblends, nanocomposites, and value-added materials from the byproducts of biofuel industries. He was the lead editor of a book Natural Fibers, Biopolymers and Biocomposites published by Taylor & Francis CRC Press in 2005. Dr. Mohanty is currently the Editor-in-Chief of the Journal of Biobased Materials and Bioenergy.

Dr. Mohanty has been one of the Division's most active organizers of technical sessions for the past several years, bringing a wide variety of exceptional talent to our sessions at the Annual Meeting. This year he will be chairing three sessions. His vision in programming bio-based materials sessions since 2002 and his many efforts to promote bio-based themes were recognized last year when AIChE presented him the Andrew Chase Forest Products Division Award.

Director: Dr. Peter van Walsum

Dr. Peter van Walsum
Associate Professor
Forest Bioproducts Research Initiative
5737 Jenness Hall, Room 311
University of Maine
Orono, ME 04469
Tel: (207) 581-2226

Dr. Peter van Walsum is Associate Professor of Chemical and Biological Engineering at the University of Maine, where he leads the Forest Bioproducts Research Institute (FBRI) biological processing research cluster. Prior to coming to U. Maine, van Walsum was assistant and then associate professor of Environmental Science at Baylor University, TX, where he served as graduate program director. Van Walsum is a professional chemical engineer and has also worked in process engineering for AMEC Americas and Shell Canada.

Peter holds a PhD in Biochemical Engineering from Dartmouth College, as well as Masters and Bachelor degrees in Chemical Engineering from McGill University and a BA in Geology from Williams College, MA. His current research interests include production of biofuels and bioproducts from renewable resources. In particular, his current work focuses on integration of bioproduct technology into existing bioresource industries such as pulp and paper, dairy, and aquaculture.

He is a member of AIChE, the Canadian Society of Chemical Engineers, the American Chemical Society and the Society for Industrial Microbiology. He has served as Session chair at annual meetings of the AIChE and SIM and has been active in serving the Forest Bioproducts Division.

Director: Eric Bober

Eric Bober
Director-Strategy, Forest Products Practice
Nexant, Inc.
44 S. Broadway, 4th Floor
White Plains, NY 10601
Tel: 914-609-0302

Eric Bober is Director-Strategy, Forest Products Practice at Nexant, a clean energy solutions company. Nexant is a premier provider of energy and chemical technology consulting services, delivering a deep understanding of the technical, commercial, and strategic aspects of the industry. Ericís role is to bring this expertise to the forest products sector. Before joining Nexant in 2009, Eric spent over 20 years in the forest products industry. This experience includes 10+ years as a consultant, developing and implementing creative solutions to complex client problems, and 10+ years in marketing strategy, product management, and operations management roles with a paper and packaging manufacturer. Eric has a BS in chemical engineering from the University of Pennsylvania , an MBA from the Wharton School of Business, and is a 25+ year member of AIChE.

Eric offered this statement:

My interest in the Division and forest bioproducts is evident in my current position and my career progression. My current job is to bring a deep understanding of bioenergy and biochemicals to forest products manufacturers. I am combining my 20+ years of direct forest products sector experience with Nexant's expertise in bioproducts. The evolution of the Division seems to mirror my career!

Director: Dr. Jim Frederick (William James Frederick, Jr.)

Jim Frederick
Golden, CO

Jim recently retired as Thermochemical Platform Program Manager in the National Bioenergy Center at the National Renewable Energy Laboratory, Golden, Colorado. Jim joined NREL in September, 2008 as Thermochemical Platform Program Manager for the National Bioenergy Center. Prior to joining NREL, he was Professor of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering at the Georgia Institute of Technology, and Director of IPST, one of the five major research institutes at Georgia Tech. Earlier he held the CEI Professorship in Green Chemistry at Chalmers University of Technology (Sweden), was Professor and Head of Chemical Engineering at Oregon State University, Visiting Professor of Chemical Engineering at Ňbo Akademi University (Finland) and held industrial positions with Weyerhaeuser Company and General Motors.

His research and industrial experience over the past 38 years has focused mainly on chemicals and energy from biomass-containing industrial residues, emphasizing pyrolysis and gasification research and technology development for the past 16 years. He is author or co-author of two books and more than 140 technical papers. Jim has received AIChEís Forest Products Division Award in 1998, a Visiting Professor award, from Monash University (Australia) in 2000, and the TAPPI Engineering Divisionís Engineering Division Technical Award & Beloit Prize in 2008. He was elected TAPPI Fellow in 2007.

Jim received his B.S., M.S., and Ph.D. degrees in Chemical Engineering from the University of Maine.

International Director: Dr. A.K. Ray

Dr. A.K. Ray
Professor, Department of Paper Technology
Indian Institute of Paper Technology, Saharanpur Campus
Tel/Fax: (O) (0132)-2714314/2714003

Dr. Ray is a Professor in the Department of Paper Technology, IIT Roorkee (Indian Institute of Paper Technology, Saharanpur Campus, Saharanpur, India). At IIT Roorkee, he served as Professor and Head in the Department of Paper Technology from Jan. 2004- Dec. 2006 and as Head of the Institute of Paper Technology from Sept. 1994 - Sept. 1997. He has 37 years of teaching and research experience with 258 research publications and supervised 11 Ph.Ds in Chemical Engineering and allied areas related to forest products. He possesses some shop floor professional working experience in three chemical industries in India prior to joining university as faculty.

He has a Ph.D, in chemical engineering, and complete post doctoral research at the University of Quebec, Canada, and the Technical University of Darmstadt, Germany.

He has 40 years of professional teaching and research experience: Lecturer in Calcutta University colleges (1972,1974); CSIR Research Fellow(1976); junior technical officer in National Sugar Institute, Govt. of India (1977-1982 Jan.); worked in Industry (1974-1976); IIT, Roorkee -Lecturer (Chem. Engg.)-1982-1984, Reader (1984--1994), Professor (1995 to till date).

He served as member on the Editorial Board for the Journal of Scientific and Industrial Research (JSIR ), of the Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR), Govt. Of India and Editorial advisory board of IPPTA (Indian Pulp and Paper Technical Association) and also as executive member and Editor-in-Chief for IPPTA (1995-1997), and member of the Indian Institute of Chemical Engineers (IIChE). He is currently an active member of IPPTA Journal, the Sugar Technologistsí Association of India (STAI) Journal and Technia - International Journal of Computing Science & Communication Technology.

His honors include the Jewel of India Award and a Certificate of Merit by the Indian Solidarity Council for outstanding achievements and contributions in the fields of Science, Technology and Education (Dec 22, 2006); a Lifetime Achievement Gold Medal Award by the International Institute of Education & Management (Delhi, December 22, 2006); the International Gold Star Millennium Award by Citizen Integration Peace Society (Dec. 24, 2006); the Indira Gandhi Excellence Award by International Business Council; a Silver Medal/Sugar Industry Cup from the Sugar Technologistsí Association of India (1993); the Noel Deer Gold Medal from STAI, 1996; the Sisir Kumar Mitra Award from IIChE (1996); Best Teacher Award from Federation of Paper Traders Association of India (FPTAI, 1999); and two best paper awards from IPPTA (1983, 1984). ). He is a recipient of distinguished participant certificate from Celluloseí91, Cellucon, ACC, and Am. Chemical Society (New Orleans, 1991) and DAAD-IIT fellowship.

Prof. Ray represented India at the 1997 Nanjing International Symposium of High Yield Pulping at the invitation of Chinese Academy of Forestry and Research Institute of Chemical Processing and Utilization of Forest Products, P.R. China and was requested to speak on behalf of developing countries including Mexico, Cuba, Malaysia & Korea (1997).

He is the co-author of two books: Fundamentals Of Artificial Neural Network and Fuzzy Logic by Rajesh Kumar and A.K. Ray (S.K. Kataria &Sons) and Measurement and Instrumentation by Rajesh Kumar and A.K.Ray (New Age International Limited, formerly Wiley Eastern Limited, New Delhi). Further he contributed five chapters in Tappi Non-Wood Progress Report (Nos. 19 and 20), 1991 and one chapter of proceedings of NIEM (United Nation Development Programme).

Prof. Ray is a reviewer of journals and proceedings of ELSVIER-Computers & Chemical Engineering, WM-SCIí08, JSIR, CSIR, India Ministry of Environment and Forests (MIEF), IPPTA, DST(TIFAC), Sugar Development Board / Sugar Research Advisory Board , Dept. of Food, Govt. of India, etc.

His research interest include chemical engineering applications to pulp and paper issues, as well as applications involving sugars, alcohols, and polymers, with interests in modeling, simulation and control. He has conducted research in collaboration with many organizations internationally, such as the Pulp and Paper Research Centre in Quebec; the Institution of Paper Technology and Mechanical Process Engineering at theTechnical University of Darmstadt, Germany and the Technical University of Dresden, Germany; and CTP and EFPG in Grenoble, France.

Director: Dr. Lei Kerr

Assistant Professor
Paper and Chemical Engineering
Miami University
Gaskill Hall 252A
Oxford, Ohio 45056-3629
Phone: (513) 529-9229
Fax: (513) 529-2201

Lei Kerr is an assistant professor of Paper and Chemical Engineering at Miami University, Oxford, OH. She received her B.S. in Chemical Engineering from Wuhan Institute of Chemical Technology, Wuhan, China in 1997. She received her Ph.D. in Chemical Engineering from University of Florida, Gainesville, FL in May, 2004. She joined Miami University in August, 2004. Her background is in photovoltaics, with research interests in flexible solar cells, nanostructured materials and paper coating. Her role in the FPD division since the 2005 Annual Meeting has been to prepare the program guide for annual AICHE meeting. Lei also wishes to help the Division cover broader research areas such as printing electronics which use paper as substrate, and will be adding such topics to the guides she prepare for the Annual Meeting.

Director: Yulin Deng

Associate Professor
Georgia Institute of Technology
School of Chemical and Biological Engineering
500 10th Street, NW
Atlanta, GA 30332-0620
Phone: 404-894-5759
Fax: 404-894-4778

Yulin Deng is an Associate Professor in the School of Chemical & Biomolecular Engineering at Georgia Tech. Yulin received his PhD in Polymer Chemistry from the Manchester University UK.

Dr. Deng has been an active member of AIChE since joining in 2003, participating in Annual Meetings and attending Forest Product Leadership events. He served as session chair for Renewable Materials at the 2004 Annual Meeting, as session chair for Nanotechnology in Forest Products at the 2005 Annual Meeting, and as the session chair of Properties and Design of Biobased Products at the 2006 Annual Meeting. Dr. Deng is interested in further serving the Division by eventually taking on the Program Chair position.

His research interests include nanomaterials and composites, hydrogels, drug delivery, polymer synthesis and characterization, fiber modification, and paper recycling.

Dr. Deng has published over 80 peer-reviewed papers and over 50 conference paper, and holds 2 patents. Among his honors are the Certificate of Excellence from IPST at Georgia Tech, Certificate of Excellence (Jan, 2005), the Teacher of the Year Award at IPST (2003), the IPST President Award for Research, 1999, and the Sichuan Province Technology and Innovation Award, 1986. Dr. Deng is also a member of the International Board for Progress in Paper Recycling.

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Created: March 20, 2014; Last Updated: Sept. 23, 2010.
URL: "http://www.forest-products.org/leader-bios.html"