Chemical Engineers Will Meet at Pittsburgh Conference Offering More Than 700 Sessions

AIChE marks 110-year history with event exploring breakthroughs in advanced manufacturing, bioengineering, energy
September 24, 2018

The American Institute of Chemical Engineers (AIChE) will showcase the pivotal roles that chemical engineers play in addressing the needs of society and industry at the 2018 AIChE Annual Meeting in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, October 28 – November 2.

The meeting, to be held at the David L. Lawrence Convention Center, spotlights emerging areas of chemical engineering technology, including new opportunities in energy- and cost-efficient manufacturing. Advances in “next-generation manufacturing” with chemical engineers at the helm underscore many of the meetings technical session, covering hot topics such as 3D printing, cybersecurity, smart manufacturing, and process intensification. Along other program tracks, experts will discuss new research in immunotherapy, food science, sustainable engineering, bioengineering, energy, fuels and petrochemicals, pharmaceuticals, materials science, particle technology, nanotechnology, and more, in a technical program consisting of thousands of presentations in more than 700 sessions.

Sessions at the 2018 conference — which coincides with AIChE’s 110th anniversary — will also offer a century-spanning overview of the chemical engineering discipline’s evolution, current opportunities, and future prospects.

June Wispelwey, Executive Director of AIChE, said “As we celebrate the 110th Anniversary of AIChE, this year’s Annual Meeting in Pittsburgh will also highlight chemical engineering’s far-reaching history of accomplishments, while the meeting’s technical program will emphasize the countless advances chemical engineers are developing to improve the quality of life for us, and for future generations — from the invention of new healthcare and energy options to techniques for more-efficient and productive manufacturing processes.”

With its emphasis on technical innovation and the professional growth of chemical engineers, AIChE’s Annual Meeting is the foremost educational forum for chemical engineers working in research and development. Organizers expect more than 5,000 engineers, scientists, and business leaders to attend the meeting to acquire insight into developments in the field’s growth areas and to connect with fellow professionals.

In addition to its expanded coverage of advanced manufacturing techniques, the meeting’s other new topical conferences highlight breakthroughs in immunotherapy and the revolution in cancer treatment; microbiomes at biomedical interfaces, with applications in health care; and engineers’ roles in food innovation. Other topical conferences will present the latest intelligence in nanotechnology and nanomaterials (including environmental aspects and energy applications), advanced systems for fossil energy usage, innovations in green process engineering for sustainable energy and the environment, and sensors. The program also features the 2018 International Congress on Energy.

Among the Highlights:

How will the world’s energy portfolio evolve in the years ahead? Is there a path to truly sustainable energy? A panel of thought leaders will tackle such questions on Monday, October 29, at the session The Future of Energy in the Region, Nation, and World. Speakers include Kamel Ben-Naceur, Chief Economist at ADNOC, the United Arab Emirates’ national oil and gas company; and Theodore J. (T. J.) Wojnar, Vice President of Corporate Strategic Planning at Exxon Mobil Corporation.

A retrospective session on Tuesday, October 30, looks at the past half-century of the chemicals and fuels sectors, and asks “What the Heck Happened?” The session evaluates the impacts of such events as the oil crises of the 1970s and the rise of shale gas, and considers how those influences have directed the energy industry’s trajectory. Perspectives will be shared by experts including Scott Mitchell (Braskem), Antonis Papadourakis (LANXESS Corporation), Joseph Powell (Shell), Jeffrey Siirola (Purdue University and Carnegie Mellon University), and David West (SABIC).

To commemorate AIChE’s 110 Years, on Tuesday, October 30, experts will present their visions for chemical engineering’s future. Speakers include William Liechty (Dow Chemical Company), Clare McCabe (Vanderbilt University), Ruth Misener (Imperial College London), Ankur Pariyani (Near-Miss Management LLC), and Phil Westmoreland (North Carolina State University).

Also observing a milestone in 2018 is AIChE’s Women’s Initiatives Committee, which marks its 20th Anniversary with a symposium “Celebrating Women in Chemical Engineering” on Tuesday, October 30. The event will feature talks by more than 20 prominent women in chemical engineering — who will discuss the contributions of women chemical engineers across history and fields of practice.

At the Annual Student Conference, October 26–29, nearly 1,800 chemical engineering undergraduates from universities worldwide will participate in career workshops, scholarly and intercollegiate competitions, and networking events. The Student Conference kicks off on October 26 with a welcome keynote address by Demetri N. Zervoudis, Senior Vice President of Global Polyurethane Joint Ventures and Propylene Oxide / Polyether Sites at Covestro LLC. The 2018 Student Conference is also the venue for the 20th running of AIChE’s signature Chem-E-Car Competition.

Major Lectures:

•  The John M. Prausnitz AIChE Institute Lecture, Wednesday, October 31. Klavs F. Jensen, the Warren K. Lewis Professor of Chemical Engineering and Professor of Materials Science and Engineering at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, will deliver this year’s lecture, “Accelerating Development and Intensification of Chemical Processes.”

•  The Andreas Acrivos Award for Professional Progress in Chemical Engineering Lecture, Tuesday, October 30. This lecture will be given by AIChE’s 2017 Acrivos Professional Progress Award recipient, Orlin D. Velev, INVISTA Professor at North Carolina State University. His talk will describe “Microscale Engineering of Responsive, Flexible, and Reconfigurable Particle Structures.”

•  The James E. Bailey Award Lecture, Tuesday, October 30. Presented by AIChE’s Society for Biological Engineering (SBE), the Bailey Award recognizes outstanding contributions in biological engineering. The 2018 Bailey Award recipient — Jeffrey A. Hubbell,  the Eugene Bell Professor in Tissue Engineering at the University of Chicago’s Institute for Molecular Engineering — will discuss his work in immunotherapy in a lecture entitled “Turning Immunity On and Off.”

•  The SBE’s Daniel I. C. Wang Award Lecture will be presented by John Auniņš, Executive Vice President and Chief Technology Officer at Seres Therapeutics, Inc. At the lecture on Monday, October 29, Auniņš will share “Lessons from a Life in BioPharma.”

• On Monday, October 29, Sang Yup Lee, Distinguished Professor of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering at Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology, will discuss the role of biotechnology in achieving the United Nations’ sustainable development goals in his P. V. Danckwerts Lecture.

For information about conference registration and an up-to-date schedule of events, visit

About AIChE: AIChE is a professional society of more than 60,000 members in more than 110 countries. Its members work in corporations, universities and government using their knowledge of chemical processes to develop safe and useful products for the benefit of society. Through its varied programs, AIChE continues to be a focal point for information exchange on the frontier of chemical engineering research in such areas as nanotechnology, sustainability, hydrogen fuels, biological and environmental engineering, and chemical plant safety and security. More information about AIChE is available at