Wayne State and BASF announce lineup of renowned chemical engineers for third annual lecture series

The Wayne State University College of Engineering will welcome four prominent scientists to its virtual campus over the next several months for the third annual BASF Distinguished Lecture Series, a joint effort between BASF and the Wayne State Department of Chemical Engineering and Materials Science.

The hourlong lectures aim to stimulate idea-focused conversations about emerging growth areas such as applications of artificial intelligence in autonomous vehicles, catalysis and energy conversion, the role of aqueous electrolytes in biophysics and chemical engineering, and the circular economy.

Dimitar Filev, Henry Ford Technical Fellow at Ford Motor Company, will open the series on Wednesday, Feb. 24. Subsequent speakers include Enrique Iglesia, the Theodore Vermeulen Chair in Chemical Engineering at the University of California at Berkeley and a faculty senior scientist at the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory; Athanassios Panagiotopoulos, the Susan Dod Brown Professor and department chair of chemical and biological engineering at Princeton University; and Gulay Serhatkulu, senior vice president for performance materials at BASF North America.

"We are really excited to host these outstanding speakers at Wayne State, and we are incredibly grateful to BASF for the continued financial support for this seminar series," states Helen Durand, Ph.D., assistant professor in the Department of Chemical Engineering and Materials Science at Wayne State University and coordinator of the BASF Distinguished Lecture Series. "One of the unique features of this year's series is their virtual format; we hope that this will make them accessible to a much larger audience to increase their impact on the scientific community."

The partnership between Wayne State and BASF - the largest chemical producer in the world, with a footprint in more than 80 countries - creates new channels that connect students with professional leaders and enhances interaction among industry experts.

"The quality of science education at Wayne State is outstanding, and BASF is proud of our partnership with the College of Engineering," said Michael Pcolinski, former BASF vice president of advanced materials and systems research. "Bringing world-class scientists to visit and interact with faculty and students enhances the students' educational experience and helps further expand their understanding of pathways to success."

Dimitar FilevDimitar Filev, Ph.D. - Feb. 24, 2021

Filev is a Henry Ford Technical Fellow in Control and AI with Ford Research and Advanced Engineering, and a member of the Ford Corporate Technical Advisory Council. He is an industry leader in research, development and deployment of advanced projects in manufacturing, safety, powertrain control and autonomous driving. Filev conducts research in computational intelligence, AI and intelligent control, and their applications to autonomous driving, vehicle systems and automotive engineering. He holds 120 granted U.S. patents, has published more than 200 research publications and received the IEEE 2008 Norbert Wiener Award and the IEEE 2015 Computational Intelligence Pioneer's Award. He served as president of the IEEE Systems, Man and Cybernetics Society in 2016-17. Filev is an IEEE Fellow and a member of the National Academy of Engineering. He holds a Ph.D. in electrical engineering from Czech Technical University in Prague.

Enrique IglesiaEnrique Iglesia, Ph.D. - March 3, 2021

Iglesia is an expert in heterogeneous catalysis and chemical reaction engineering. He joined the University of California at Berkeley as a professor of chemical engineering after 12 years of research and management experience at the Exxon Corporate Research Laboratories. He currently serves as the Theodore Vermeulen Chair in Chemical Engineering at UC Berkeley and as a faculty senior scientist in the E.O. Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory. He is a past editor-in-chief of the Journal of Catalysis (1997-2010) and president of the North American Catalysis Society (2009-17), and is the president of the International Association of Catalysis Societies. Iglesia is a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and the National Academy of Inventors, and a fellow of the American Chemical Society and the American Institute of Chemical Engineers. He holds degrees in chemical engineering from Princeton (B.S.) and Stanford (Ph.D.).

Athanassios PanagiotopoulosAthanassios Panagiotopoulos, Ph.D. - April 7, 2021

Panagiotopoulos is the Susan Dod Brown Professor and department chair of chemical and biological engineering at Princeton University. His research focuses on development and application of theoretical and computer simulation techniques for the study of properties of fluids and materials. Panagiotopoulos received an undergraduate degree from the National Technical University of Athens and a Ph.D. from MIT, both in chemical engineering. After a postdoctorate in physical chemistry at the University of Oxford, he held faculty positions at Cornell and the University of Maryland. He is a member of the U.S. National Academy of Engineering and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. Panagiotopoulos is the author of more than 300 technical articles and of the undergraduate textbook Essential Thermodynamics.

Gulay SerhatkuluGulay Serhatkulu, Ph.D. - April 21, 2021

Serhatkulu is a senior vice president responsible for the performance materials business of BASF Corporation in North America. This sector of BASF's business encompasses an array of innovative, customized plastic materials that are actively used in the major industry sectors of transportation, construction, industrial applications and consumer goods. Serhatkulu joined BASF in 2006 as a technical service representative and has held a variety of roles with the company in product management, marketing, sales, strategy and procurement. Prior to her arrival at BASF, she completed postdoctoral appointments at the University of Nottingham and Wayne State University. Serhatkulu earned a Ph.D., M.S. and B.S. from the University of Akron and Hacettepe University in Ankara, Turkey, in the fields of polymer science and engineering, and chemical engineering.

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