Sheehan Elected to Leadership Board of Forest Bioproducts Division

By Sarah Chase

James Sheehan

Dr. James Sheehan

Dr. James Sheehan, assistant professor of chemical and biological engineering, was elected as one of the directors on the leadership board of the Forest Bioproducts Division (FBP) within the American Institute of Chemical Engineers (AIChE). Sheehan, facing eight other candidates for one of the two open director positions, was able to collect enough votes from his fellow division members to be selected.

In his position, Sheehan will work alongside five other directors to organize technical sessions at future meetings, look for new opportunities for division expansion, and work to recruit the next generation of engineers focused on advancing research in bioproducts derived from forestry and lignocellulosic feedstocks.

“Being elected as a director of the Forest Bioproducts Division is a really exciting opportunity and I am looking forward to contributing to the future vision and directions of the Division,” Sheehan said. “As the chemical economy continues to look for opportunities to decarbonize, forestry and natural products will play an integral role as renewable and sustainable feedstocks for value-added chemical products, fuels and materials.”

Sheehan’s current research focuses on two topics related to the FBP. He describes that the first addresses “thermocatalytic deconstruction of forestry residues into small molecules that can be used as chemical building blocks to produce value-added products” and the second dives into “materials and interfacial interactions of natural fibers, such as cellulose, in the presence of gases and moisture.”

Sheehan is also a member of the Early Career Board for the ACS Sustainable Chemistry and Engineering journal and his research relating to forestry products is currently funded by the National Science Foundation along with the United States Department of Agriculture’s National Institute of Food and Agriculture.

Sheehan was elected as one of the directors during the 2023 AIChE annual meeting in Orlando, Florida. The meeting lasted from Nov. 5 to Nov. 10 and was held at the Hyatt Regency Orlando.

Read more about AIChE’s Forest Bioproducts Division here.

In 1837, The University of Alabama became one of the first five universities in the nation to offer engineering classes. Today, UA’s College of Engineering has more than 5,200 students and more than 170 faculty. In recent years, students in the College have been named USA Today All-USA College Academic Team members, Goldwater, Hollings, Portz, Boren, Mitchell and Truman scholars.

Author: Sarah Chase    /    Posted on: November 20, 2023    /    Posted in:   Chemical and Biological Engineering, Faculty and Staff