Chemical engineering student wins national research competition

Published: Nov 24, 2008 2:09:16 PM
Media Contact: Sally Credille,, 334.844.3447

Jeney Zhang Small

Jeney Zhang

Jeney Zhang, senior in chemical engineering, won first prize in the undergraduate student paper competition at the American Institute of Chemical Engineers (AIChE) annual meeting, held in Philadelphia on Nov. 15. She represented the southeast region as an excellence in undergraduate research finalist. Her research, "Bandage Contact Lenses for Anti-Inflammatory Therapeutics," was conducted under the direction of Mark Byrne, Mary and John H. Sanders Associate Professor of Chemical Engineering in the Samuel Ginn College of Engineering at Auburn University.

"This recognition is well deserved and is a tremendous honor for Jeney, our department, the college and the university," Byrne said. "Jeney gave a superb presentation, and she has done excellent research work at Auburn that will lead to significant advances in the administration of ocular therapeutics."


Zhang and faculty member Mark Byrne at the annual AICHE conference held Nov. 15

Zhang was one of nine finalists from across the country. To qualify as a finalist and earn an invitation to present her research, she won first place in her podium presentation division and first place in podium for the overall southeast regional conference, held last spring. In 2007, Zhang placed third in the podium competition at the regional meeting and second place in her poster presentation at the AIChE national meeting.

"We are very proud of Jenny and her accomplishments, as well as how this reflects on the fine research being conducted at Auburn, particularly in biomedical areas," said Chris Roberts, Uthlaut Professor and chair of Auburn's Department of Chemical Engineering.

In addition, Tyler Gunn, mid-America region representative from the University of Iowa, won second place in the competition with research conducted at Auburn under the direction of Roberts and Juncheng Liu, post-doctoral fellow in chemical engineering. Gunn was a 2007 fellow in the National Science Foundation Research Experiences for Undergraduates (REU) in Micro/Nano-structured Materials, Therapeutics and Devices at Auburn University. It is a program directed by Byrne and fellow faculty member Steve Duke, Alumni Associate Professor of Chemical Engineering.

AIChE is the world's leading organization for chemical engineering professionals, with more than 40,000 members from 93 countries.