Department Seminars

We’ve been on hiatus since 2020 but we’re up and running again. Check back soon for updates!

Is your College, School, or Department interested in hosting a department seminar? The Innovation and Research Engagement Office can help supplement expenses for guest speakers’ travel and visit.

Therapeutic Opportunities in Sleep – An Industry Perspective

Danielle Hyman, Ph.D., Director of Medical Affairs and Sleep at Jazz Pharmaceuticals

Hosted by the Department of Biomedical Sciences
Date: December 10, 2019
Time: 12pm
Location: SAC 345

Please join us for a presentation by Danielle Hyman, PhD, Director of Medical Affairs and Sleep, at Jazz Pharmaceuticals. Dr. Hyman will be providing an overview of Jazz Pharmaceuticals and describing their portfolio of approved sleep products and their indications. She’ll discuss preclinical data supporting the hypothesized mechanisms of action for Sunosi (Solriamfetol) and Xyrem (Sodium Oxybate). Dr. Hyman will also describe opportunities for WSU researchers to collaborate with Jazz Pharmaceuticals, as well as their process for investigator sponsored trials.

Emerging Opportunities for Structural Biology in Drug Discovery

Robert Hayes, Ph.D., Senior Scientist, Computational and Structural Chemistry at Merck & Co., Inc.

Hosted by the Chemistry Department
Date: December 2, 2019
Time: 4:10pm
Location: Fulmer 201

Technological improvements in x-ray crystallography and cryo-electron microscopy have provided new opportunities to obtain timely structural information on high-complexity drug targets. A series of short stories will be shared that highlight the value of structural enablement across the drug development timeline – from medicinal chemistry in the discovery space, to late stage manufacturing with engineered enzymes. If you are curious about pharmaceutical research careers or other opportunities at Merck, please attend and feel free to ask questions! Details regarding current internship and post-doctoral programs will be provided.

My journey after graduating from WSU

Sumeet Dhawan, Ph.D., Scientist in Cooking Technologies for Nestlé Development

Date: November 7, 2019
Time: 4:10pm
Location: Clark Hall 149 (Pullman), TFLO 210 (Tri-Cities), Prosser IAREC Puyallup Rec

Sumeet Dhawan learned a lot during the transition from academics to industry. His short experience in the Silicon Valley working with entrepreneurs who are trying to disrupt the food industry by changing the way consumer’s shop, cook and eat food provided Dr. Dhawan with inside knowledge about the food trends that are hot in the food industry. His hope is to share the possibilities and learning opportunities working for a global Consumer Product Good Company. 

Dr. Sumeet Dhawan serves as a Scientist in Cooking Technologies for Nestlé Development Center based in Solon, Ohio. He also did a short assignment (6 months) with the company in their Silicon Valley Innovation Outpost based in San Francisco, Calif., to learn Design Thinking Methodologies and collaborating with Start-up’s across various Nestlé Business. Dr. Dhawan serves as the Chair for the Lake Erie Institute of Food Technologist (IFT) chapter. He got his Ph.D. in Food Engineering from Washington State University; and Bachelor in Biotechnology from PSG College of Technology, India. 

Heterogenous Electronic Packaging: Turning Concepts to Reality!

Gaurang Choksi, Ph.D., Vice President of Technology Development & Director of Assembly & Test Technology Development at Intel Co.

Hosted by the School of Mechanical and Materials Engineering
Date: November 7, 2019
Time: 11:00am
Location: ETRL 101
*A reception will be held at 10:30am in ETRL 119

Technology advances in electronic packaging have supported and sustained Moore’s Law silicon scaling, and have evolved to become an important enabler of product performance. Progress in the areas of computing, memory, communications and networking for a wide range of market segments including consumer electronics, high performance cloud computing and emerging areas such as autonomous driving and artificial intelligence will drive the need for increased integration and differentiation. This results in an extremely diverse set of 2-D, 2.5-D and 3-D packaging architectures and designs with multiple levels of integration; requiring novel constructs, materials technologies, modeling and simulation tools, test methods, and manufacturing processes. 

Rapid progress in the area of heterogeneous packaging and assembly / test will continue to require significant improvements in modeling/simulation software tools and measurement tools / techniques for design, assembly manufacturing and testing, and materials for mechanical integrity, signal integrity, power delivery and thermal requirements. Challenges that need to be addressed for facilitating analysis and characterization to enable efficient design, materials selection and associated assembly and test manufacturing processes will be reviewed. The role of cross-functional teams, decisions for trade-offs across electrical, thermal and structural integrity performance, and the need for new competencies moving forward, will be discussed. 

Dr. Choksi joined Intel in 1988, after receiving his Ph.D. degree from Virginia Tech. During his 30+ year tenure at Intel, he contributed to various areas including structural analysis and testing, electrical and physical design and analysis of multi-chip modules, design/analysis tool development for packages/boards, and thermal technologies and solutions. The scope of his group includes materials selection and characterization, dimensional measurements, and modeling and validation related to structural integrity, power delivery, high speed signaling, thermals and heat dissipation, and fluid flow to support the design and development of electronic packaging, assembly and test technologies. Dr. Choksi is a recipient of the Intel Achievement Award and serves on several academic and national advisory and review boards. 

Challenges and Opportunities for Renewable Fuels Production

Aalo Gupta, Ph.D., Director of the Future & Renewable Fuels Group at Phillips 66

Hosted by the School of Chemical Engineering and Bioengineering
Date: October 21, 2019
Time: 4:10pm
Location: Spark 335 (Pullman), Floyd 224 (Tri-Cities)

As an energy manufacturing and logistics company, Phillips 66 has developed a wide range of technologies to produce renewable and alternative fuels from feedstocks such as fats and oils, lignocellulosic biomass, and algae. Today, these efforts contribute to ongoing projects across the United States, including a major installation in Washington state. In this seminar, you’ll hear about the opportunities and challenges that exist for renewable fuels technologies and how smart research by Phillips 66 scientists and engineers can address technical risk and enable commercialization. 

Aalo Gupta is the Director of the Future & Renewable Fuels Group in the Phillips 66 Technology Organization. He manages the research portfolio related to the production of renewable and advanced fuels beyond traditional petroleum derived transportation fuels. Aalo joined Phillips 66 in 2011 and has worked in areas related to refining, production of advanced fuels, renewable fuels and hydrogen production, and the development of new catalytic materials and processes. Aalo received his Ph.D. in Chemistry from the University of Minnesota and B.S. in Bio-chemistry from Indiana University. 

McCormick Collaboration with IBM Pioneering the Use of Artificial Intelligence in Flavor and Food Product Development

Hamed Faridi, Ph.D., Chief Science Officer at McCormick Co.

Hosted by the Department of Biological Systems Engineering
Date: October 10, 2019
Time: 3:10pm
Location: L.J. Smith Hall 259 (Pullman), TFLO 210 (Tri-Cities), Prosser IAREC/Puyallup REC
Zoom link:

A renowned food industry leader, Dr. Hamed Faridi heads a global team of more than 500 scientists responsible for thought leadership, scientific research, product development, health and wellness, and sustainability to support the global businesses of the world’s largest flavor company — McCormick and Company, Inc. Dr. Faridi is the voice of science for McCormick & Company, and advises the company’s CEO and senior executives on strategic corporate initiatives such as technology investment and potential M&As and serves on several business councils. 

In 2013, in partnership with IBM, he initiated the creation of an AI platform for food and flavor product development with the potential to change the course of the industry and enhance the universal eating experience of consumers around the world by tapping into over 40 years of sensory, culinary, chemistry and scientific data collected by McCormick R&D scientists in 14 countries.

Prior to joining McCormick & Company in 1997, Dr. Faridi served on the faculty of Washington State University (1979-1983) and held R&D executive positions at Nabisco Food Group from 1983 to 1997 where he received several awards for innovation and business impact.   Dr. Faridi received his MS (1973) and Ph.D. (1975) both in food science from Kansas State University, and an MBA from Fairleigh Dickinson University (1987). He is a Certified Food Scientist (CFS).

Today’s Quantum Computers

Alex Mellnik, Ph.D., Senior Software Engineer Rigetti Computing

Hosted by the Physics & Astronomy Colloquium
Date: September 26, 2019
Time: 4:10pm
Location: Webster 17

Quantum Computing is attracting increased interest outside of academia, and a range of companies big and small are now working to develop commercially useful quantum computers. In this talk, Alex Mellnik will talk about the state of the industry, and where he thinks Noisy Intermediate‐Scale Quantum Computers may first have a significant impact. He’ll also talk about opportunities for scientists and engineers in the field and how he ended up in it, as well as current technical challenges for superconducting qubit‐based quantum computing. At the end of the talk, Mellnik will give a live demo of Rigetti’s Quantum Cloud Services platform by walking through a version of the Greenberger‐Horne‐Zeilinger experiment.