Spotlight on I&EC Research’s Associate Editors from China - ACS Axial | ACS Publications
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Spotlight on I&EC Research’s Associate Editors from China

Industrial & Engineering Chemistry Research has been at the forefront of chemical engineering research since 1909. Because of the immense impact that researchers in China have had on the journal, Chinese Associate Editors and Editorial Advisory Board members now represent more than one-third of the team. This group works alongside Editor-in-Chief Phillip E. Savage to publish widely-read articles and provide high-quality peer review and fast times to decision.

For the past several years, I&EC Research’s manuscript submissions, published articles, and citations, and various publication parameters, such as the Clarivate Analytics Impact Factor, have continued to rise. The readership, submissions, and impact of researchers from China are significant contributors to these trends.

The journal is delighted to introduce the community to five Associate Editors from China. We look forward to future opportunities to convene at scientific conferences around the world, creating opportunities for members of the I&EC Research editorial team to engage with authors, reviewers, and readers.

Take a few minutes getting to know these members of the I&EC Research editorial board:

Professor Xinbin Ma


What is the biggest challenge you’re facing when returning to reopen your lab?

I want to make sure every member of my lab is healthy, both physically and mentally.

Tell me about your area of research. How did your interest in this area first develop?

The group’s research area focuses on syngas utilization and CO2 capture and utilization. Take syngas utilization as an example. Given the abundance of coal resources in China, it is important to develop a green technology for the conversion of coal-based syngas into bulk chemicals. My early research focused on the synthesis of oxalate and its downstream products such as ethylene glycol from syngas, which has a huge market demand in China. Through many years’ efforts, my team developed a highly competitive catalytic technology for the production of ethylene glycol that was successfully applied in a pilot plant.

What do you think is the most interesting or important unsolved problem in the field of chemical engineering?

From my viewpoint, the most interesting problem is the development of a green chemical process that can meet the demand of the present and future generations for various chemical products and meanwhile benefit the environment and society.

What advice would you give to someone who wanted to pursue a career in chemical engineering?

The field of chemical engineering offers many different avenues for building a career. Whether working to design new chemical processes, develop new plants, or overseeing operations of a facility or doing education and lab research, individuals with a career interest in chemical engineering can find their roles in these areas. It quite depends on personal interests and circumstances. In general, good education and training that fits the career goal are required. This helps to master the necessary skills, learning the tools and technology for the career, and build personal strength.

What is the best piece of advice you have ever received? How has it helped your career?

“No cohesion, no team.” In scientific research, teams are central to the work. Without cohesion in the team members, without efforts focusing on the same goal, a lot of things could not have been made when scaling the coal-based syngas to ethylene glycol technology from the lab scale to the commercial scale.

How has I&EC Research had an impact on your research?

I&EC Research is the largest, oldest, and most cited chemical engineering research journal in the world. The journal covers industrial and academic research in the broad fields of applied chemistry and chemical engineering with a special focus on fundamentals, processes, and products. During my research career, reading the I&EC Research articles has inspired me to think about a lot of new ideas, no matter if they work or not in the end. Meanwhile, it is a channel to get to know peers who work in the same field. The publication of papers in I&EC Research has given us a chance to demonstrate our research work to others. All of these have a positive impact on career development and progress.

Read Some of His Research in ACS Publications Journals

Influence of Acid Strength on the Reactivity of Dimethyl Ether Carbonylation over H-MOR
ACS Sustainable Chemistry & Engineering 2019, 7, 2, 2027-2034
DOI: 10.1021/acssuschemeng.8b04388
***
Deactivation Kinetics for the Carbonylation of Dimethyl Ether to Methyl Acetate on H-MOR
Industrial & Engineering Chemistry Research 2017, 56, 46, 13618-13627
DOI: 10.1021/acs.iecr.7b03500
***
Balancing Effect between Adsorption and Diffusion on Catalytic Performance Inside Hollow Nanostructured Catalyst
ACS Catalysis 2019, 9, 4, 2969-2976
DOI: 10.1021/acscatal.9b00282

Professor Feng-Shou Xiao

What is the biggest challenge you’ve faced in reopening your lab?

The biggest challenge is to preserve the safety of the students and to avoid the virus. In addition, the progress of scientific research is also important, because we have lost the past several months.

Tell me about your area of research. How did your interest in this area first develop?

My research is focused on the green synthesis of zeolites and the development of heterogeneous catalysts. My interest is in developing sustainable routes for the synthesis of zeolites because of the large amount of water and organic template that are used in the conventional synthesis of zeolite catalysts. In the past 20 years, we developed organic template-free and solvent-free strategies for the synthesis of zeolites. Furthermore, the organic template-free synthesis of Beta and ZSM-22 zeolites has been scaled up for industrial production. Recently, we are working to prepare zeolite-metal nanoparticle hybrid catalysts by fixing the metal nanoparticles within zeolite crystals, which has obvious advantages in the activity, selectivity, and durability, compared with general supported catalysts.

What do you think is the most interesting or important unsolved problem in the field of chemical engineering?

Using cheap and earth-abundant carbon resources such as methane and carbon dioxide, as well as the ethane and propane, to produce valuable chemicals. A lot of research studies have been focused on this field, but the efficacy goal remains unmet and still requires new ideas in the design of catalysts and reaction processes.

What advice would you give to someone who wanted to pursue a career in chemical engineering?

Focus on the most important things and keep going! Don’t give up easily.

What is the best piece of advice you have ever received?

New ideas usually result from the reconsideration of experiments. Put in the hard work to do more experiments.

How has I&EC Research had an impact on your research?

I&EC Research publishes both industrial and fundamental research, which are very helpful for my group members and me to get the latest research information, particularly in the fields of applied chemistry.

Read Some of His Research in ACS Publications Journals

Green Routes for Synthesis of Zeolites
Chemical Reviews 2014, 114, 2, 1521-1543
DOI: 10.1021/cr4001513
***
Cobalt–Nickel Catalysts for Selective Hydrogenation of Carbon Dioxide into Ethanol
ACS Catalysis 2019, 9, 12, 11335-11340
DOI: 10.1021/acscatal.9b04187
***
Solvent-Free Synthesis of Core–Shell Zn/ZSM-5@Silicalite-1 Catalyst for Selective Conversion of Methanol to BTX Aromatics
Industrial & Engineering Chemistry Research 2019, 58, 34, 15453-15458
DOI: 10.1021/acs.iecr.9b03357

Professor Huanting Wang

How did you cope during your university’s recent closure for COVID-19?

It has been quite challenging during our university’s recent closure in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. I am an experimentalist, and the lab shutdown simply means that all projects suddenly stop. I have managed to stay positive and spend more time reading papers, thinking about some new ideas, and revising manuscripts. I have had regular meetings via online platforms with my students and postdocs to share my experience in living with this difficult situation, and encourage them to be still active in research, and making progress in their projects. Most importantly, my group members are all safe, well, and optimistic about our future.

What is the biggest challenge you expect to face when returning to reopen your lab?

We will face some challenges. We will still need to maintain the social distancing rules for (at least) many months ahead. The biggest challenge is that we will need to work in the labs efficiently while ensuring everyone’s safety and well-being. But we have been well-prepared and will get through this challenging time together.

Tell me about your area of research. How did your interest in this area first develop?

My area of research is membranes and functional materials for efficient separations (gas separation, water desalination and purification, chiral separation, and lithium extraction and recovery) and electrochemical energy applications (fuel cells and hydrogen production). My interest in this area was first developed when I was doing my master’s degree at the University of Science and Technology of China, where there is strong research is being done in these areas.

What do you think is the most interesting or important unsolved problem in the field of chemical engineering?

This is a big question, and people certainly have different views on this. To me, the most interesting unsolved problem in the field of chemical engineering is how to construct separation systems to manipulate molecular and ionic transport at the nano- to sub-nano- levels and thus achieve highly efficient separations and enable advanced renewable energy technologies.

What advice would you give to someone who wanted to pursue a career in chemical engineering?

The chemical engineering field has become much broader than ever before, which means it interfaces with anything you would like to do in the future. I am open-minded and interact with people in different fields. Cross-disciplinary knowledge often leads to exciting ideas that impact chemical engineering.

What is the best piece of advice you have ever received? How has it helped your career?

I have been privileged to have the opportunity to work with so many people and have received a lot of great advice that helped my career development. One piece of advice is that you need to remember to think about the next step, beyond what you are currently doing. This has motivated me along different stages of my career.

How has I&EC Research had an impact on your research?

I&EC Research is one of the best journals in the field — a must-see resource for chemical engineering and related fields. I have been reading this journal since my master’s study. I have enjoyed so much publishing and reviewing with I&EC Research, and my research has greatly benefited from this journal.

Read Some of His Research in ACS Publications Journals

Voltage-Gated Ion Transport in Two-Dimensional Sub-1 nm Nanofluidic Channels
ACS Nano 2019, 13, 10, 11793-11799
DOI: 10.1021/acsnano.9b05758
***
Robust Thermoresponsive Polymer Composite Membrane with Switchable Superhydrophilicity and Superhydrophobicity for Efficient Oil–Water Separation
Environmental Science & Technology 2016, 50, 2, 906-914
DOI: 10.1021/acs.est.5b03418
***
Improvement of the Swelling Properties of Ionic Hydrogels by the Incorporation of Hydrophobic, Elastic Microfibers for Forward Osmosis Applications
Industrial & Engineering Chemistry Research 2017, 56, 2, 505-512
DOI: 10.1021/acs.iecr.6b03689

Professor Bo Geng Li


How did you cope during your university’s recent closure for COVID-19?

We have launched online teaching, academic discussions, and conferences. With the financial support of the university, all teachers’ home broadband has been upgraded.

What is the biggest challenge you’re facing when returning to reopen your lab?

It is taking much longer to buy reagents or equipment for the lab, especially when those items must be imported from other countries.

Tell me about your area of research.

My research area is polymer product engineering. When I read papers in the field of polymers, I often find that with the same raw materials and cost input, products with different performance can be obtained. I think the precise customization of polymeric structures is very important in the polymerization process. Digital manufacturing of mechanical industrial products has a history that is several decades long. 3D printing has realized the digital manufacturing of polymer products with specific shapes, but the mechanical properties of 3D printing parts have not yet reached the level of traditional polymer parts because of the difference in the molecular and aggregate structures. In my research, we are exploring if the molecular and aggregate structures of polymers can be digitally manufactured.

What do you think is the most interesting or important unsolved problem in the field of chemical engineering?

Digital manufacturing of structured chemicals such as polymers, i.e., precisely customizing structured chemicals based on computer programmed approaches.

What is the best piece of advice you have ever received? How has it helped your career?

The best piece of advice I have ever received from my supervisor is “Teach undergraduate students because they have no frame of reference, so they will ask you many challenging questions.” I’m constantly growing my knowledge from these types of challenging questions.

How has I&EC Research had an impact on your research?

I&EC Research is like a think tank, which provides a lot of research inspiration. It is a stage to share the joys of research success amongst peers.

Read Some of His Research in ACS Publications Journals

The Epoxidation of Polybutadiene via Reaction-Controlled Phase-Transfer Catalysis
Industrial & Engineering Chemistry Research 2019, 58, 29, 13085-13092
DOI: 10.1021/acs.iecr.9b02371
***
Modification of Poly(ethylene 2,5-furandicarboxylate) with Biobased 1,5-Pentanediol: Significantly Toughened Copolyesters Retaining High Tensile Strength and O2 Barrier Property
Biomacromolecules 2019, 20, 1, 353-364
DOI: 10.1021/acs.biomac.8b01495
***
CO2-Triggered Recoverable Metal Catalyst Nanoreactors using Unimolecular Core–Shell Star Copolymers as Carriers
ACS Applied Nano Materials 2018, 1, 3, 1280-1290
DOI: 10.1021/acsanm.8b00031

Professor Youqing Shen

How did you cope during your university’s recent closure for COVID-19?

I worked at home reading, writing, and planning. I read to learn the basics and the most recent research progress of an area I recently got interested in: cancer immunotherapy. I discussed with my students via WeChat about their recent results and made detailed plans for each project.

What is the biggest challenge you’re facing when returning to reopen your lab?

We want to ensure the students’ safety and remain cautious of persons carrying the virus that do not show symptoms. I have asked my students to wear masks as often as possible and to stay on campus.

Tell me about your area of research. How did your interest in this area first develop?

My research area is in biomedical materials or polymers, particularly for cancer drug delivery and cancer immunotherapy. My interest in this area originated from a dream of being a doctor. So, when I started my own group at the University of Wyoming, I started to use my polymer chemistry background to solve biomedical problems.

What advice would you give to someone who wanted to pursue a career in chemical engineering?

To be a good chemical engineer, make your math and chemistry knowledge base solid during your undergraduate study.

What is the best piece of advice you have ever received? How has it helped your career?

When I just started my career, my friend Professor Maciej Radosz shared this advice: “Chase problems rather than chase funding.” This really helped me focus during my early career development, when various funding opportunities may easily lure you to chase them.

Read Some of His Research in ACS Publications Journals

Enzyme-Triggered Transcytosis of Dendrimer–Drug Conjugate for Deep Penetration into Pancreatic Tumors
ACS Nano 2020, 14, 4, 4890-4904
DOI: 10.1021/acsnano.0c00974
***
Enzyme-Responsive Charge-Reversal Polymer-Mediated Effective Gene Therapy for Intraperitoneal Tumors
Biomacromolecules 2018, 19, 6, 2308-2319
DOI: 10.1021/acs.biomac.8b00440
***
Biocompatible Cyclodextrin-Based Metal–Organic Frameworks for Long-Term Sustained Release of Fragrances

Industrial & Engineering Chemistry Research 2019, 58, 43, 19767-19777
DOI: 10.1021/acs.iecr.9b04214

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Read Highlighted Articles from Chinese Authors in I&EC Research

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