ChBE Seminar Series - 3:30 p.m. EDT Wednesday December 14 - Orlando Rojas (Virtual)

Wed Dec 14 3:30 pm to 4:30 pm
Virtual Link

Orlando RojasOrlando Rojas, Department of Chemical and Biological Engineering, Department Chemistry and Department Wood Science, University of British Columbia (Virtual)

"Renewable (nano)particles in bioproduct development"

Coffee and snacks will precede the presentation at 3 p.m. in the ES&T Atrium.


Seminar Link Password = ChBE2022



Structured colloidal materials are proposed to endow new functions to renewable materials, including cellulose, lignin, chitin  which can be isolated as large axial aspect nanofibrils or nanorods. Interparticle interactions and ensuing adhesive forces are used for building macroscale assemblies displaying networks with tailorable strength, cohesion, porosity and with opto-mechanical response. Here, we demonstrate that the topology of nanonetworks formed from the respective system enables robust structuring, organic or hybrid, representing a generic pathway for the fabrication of a new class of constructs. An intermixed network of fibrils with particles increases the toughness of the assemblies by up to three orders of magnitude compared, for instance, to sintering. Supramolecular cohesion is transferred from the fibrils to the constructs following a power law, with a constant decay factor. A vast number of opportunities is further demonstrated to develop from the association of nanocelluloses and nanochitin, for instance, in the formulation of multiphase systems., especially emulsions.  Our results are expected to expand the development of functional colloids from laboratory-scale towards their implementation in nanomanufacturing of bulk materials. The latter are shown for applications ranging from energy storage to biomedical devices.



Professor Orlando Rojas is a Canada Excellence Research Chair in University of British Columbia and Director of the Bioproducts Institute. In this latter role, he synergizes a distinguished group of professors and researchers conducting multi- and cross-disciplinary research to create fundamental knowledge and applications, from seed genetics to cutting-edge biorefining technologies, from thermochemical and bio-conversion pathways to novel bio-based products. His research group, Bio-based Colloids and Materials operates between Vancouver (UBC) and Helsinki (Aalto University).

Prof. Rojas received the Anselme Payen Award, established by the American Chemical Society in 1962, the highest recognition in the area of cellulose and renewable materials. He is an elected Fellow of the American Chemical Society (2013), the Finnish Academy of Science and Letters (2017) and recipient of the Tappi Nanotechnology Award (2015). He is adjunct professor in the Department of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering of North Carolina State University.

Prof. Rojas is Associate editor of Biomacromolecules and Emeritus Editor of J. Dispersion Science and Technology. He is member of the Marcus Wallenberg Foundation Selection Committee and Honorary Chair of the Asia Pacific Young Scientists Association.  Prof. Rojas most recent research grants include the prestigious European Research Commission Advanced Grant (ERC-Advanced) and a Horizon H2020 project, among others. 

Prof. Rojas is co-lead of the national competence center to advance the Finnish materials bioeconomy, the FinnCERES Flagship, between Aalto University and the Finnish Research Center (VTT).  Prof. Rojas is past-chair of Aalto’s Materials Platform and co-PI of the Academy of Finland's Center of Excellence in Molecular Engineering of Biosynthetic Hybrid Materials Research, HYBER.

During his career Prof. Rojas has advised 50 postdoctoral fellows, 61 PhD and 50 MS students. He has also hosted 112 international visiting scholars and professors. With a h-index of 83 and 33000 citations (Google Scholar), he has authored about 460 peer-reviewed papers and a larger number of conference contributions related to the core research, mainly dealing with nanostructures from renewable materials and their utilization in multiphase systems.  He is in the top 1% researcher by citations for field and year according the Web of Science™ 2022.