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Faculty - Ruben Carbonell

Ruben Carbonell photo
bullet Frank Hawkins Kenan Distinguished Professor of Chemical Engineering
bullet Director, Golden LEAF Biomanfacturing Training and Education Center (BTEC)
bullet Director, William R. Kenan, Jr. Institute for Engineering, Technology and Science
bullet National Academy of Engineering (2014)

B.S. Chemical Engineering, Manhattan College (1969)
Ph.D. Chemical Engineering, Princeton University (1973)
ruben (@ncsu.edu)
919-515-5118 (phone)
919-515-3465 (fax)
Partners Building I (P1) - 3200 (office)
bullet Honors & Awards
bullet Publications
bullet Patents
bullet Research Website

bullet BTEC
bullet Kenan Institute
Focus Areas
Biochemical Engineering. Molecular Recognition for Bioseparations, Diagnostics and Pathogen Removal. Interfacial Colloid and Surface Science. Multiphase Transport Processes.

Current Projects
Our research program focuses on novel process for bioseparations, diagnostics and pathogen detection and removal. Our group designs and uses solid phase combinatorial peptide libraries to screen and identify small, robust and inexpensive peptides that will bind specifically to a wide variety of biological species such as biotherapeutic proteins, toxins, viruses and bacteria. These small peptides exhibit great potential as ligands for large-scale affinity chromatography of therapeutic proteins to be obtained from complex mixtures such as human blood plasma, milk and fermentation broths. In addition, they can be used to develop robust sensing elements to detect low concentrations of analytes in medical diagnostics and process control applications. Peptides that can recognize and bind to toxins, viruses and bacteria can also play an important role in ensuring the safety of foods and drugs, since they can serve as the basis for novel viral clearance and anti-bacterial surfaces. Two start-up firms, PRDT and Ligamar, Inc., have been formed to commercialize recent successes of the research group in the adsorption of prion protein from plasma and blood products, and for the development of novel libraries using non-natural amino acids with both sequence and spatial diversity.

Current work in the lab involves the development of
novel affinity ligands that bind to the Fc fragment of human immunoglobulin G (hIgG); the coupling of peptide ligands to resins with different functionalities; characterizing the capture of prion protein from blood products; and studying the fundamentals of protein binding to ligands using Quartz Crystal Microbalance (QCM) and Surface Plasmon Resonance (SPR) techniques.

Our group is also developing
novel separation media based on nonwoven fabrics, in collaboration with the Nonwovens Cooperative Research Center (NCRC) at NC State University. Particle Impregnated Membrane (PIM) systems consist of resin particles with ion-exchange or affinity ligands sandwiched between two layers of nonwoven fabrics whose fiber diameter and porosity are designed to maintain the particles in membrane while allowing cells to flow through the device. Such systems would allow the capture of biotherapeutic products from cell culture media without prior removal of the cells or cell debris. In addition, we are developing surface grafting techniques to minimize nonspecific binding to the nonwoven fibers to create ion exchange and affinity nonwoven membranes for product capture or for adsorption of contaminants in process streams.

Honors & Awards
bullet 2014 Elected Member of the National Academy of Engineering
bullet 2009 Recognized for Innovation by the NC State Office of Technology Transfer and the Council for Entrepreneurial Development
bullet 2008 Fellow of the Industrial and Engineering Chemistry (I&EC) Division of the American Chemical Society (ACS)
bullet 2008 Industrial and Engineering Chemistry Division Award
bullet 2008 NC State nominee for the O. Max Gardner Award
bullet 2007 Alexander Quarles Holladay Medal
bullet 2003 Fellow of the American Institute of Chemical Engineers (AIChE)
bullet 2002 Frank Hawkins Kenan Distinguished Professor
bullet 2001 Alcoa Foundation Distinguished Engineering Research Award
bullet 2000 2nd Place, International Coatings Exposition Annual Meeting Poster Competition, (Federation of Societies for Coating Technology)
bullet 1999-2002 KoSa Professor of Chemical Engineering
bullet 1994 Alumni Distinguished Graduate Professor
bullet 1994 Merck, Sharpe and Dohme Lecturer, University of Puerto Rico, Mayaguez
bullet 1992 Maurice Simpson Technical Editors Award for Excellence in the Field of Contamination Control, Institute of Environmental Sciences
bullet 1991 Outstanding Teaching Award - member of the Academy of Outstanding Teachers at NC State University
bullet 1990 R.J. Reynolds Award for Excellence in Teaching, Research and Extension
bullet 1989 NC State University Alumni Association Outstanding Research Award
bullet 1989-1999 Hoechst Celanese Chair of Chemical Engineering
bullet 1974, 1977 Outstanding Teacher Award (University of California, Davis)
bullet 1969 Prutton Medal in Chemical Engineering (Manhattan College)