PI: Tagbo H. R. Niepa, PhD.
Dr. Niepa will join the University of Pittsburgh on July 1st, 2017 as an Assistant Professor of Chemical and Petroleum Engineering. He held a Postdoctoral Fellowship for Academic Diversity at the Penn department of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering (University of Pennsylvania). He started his academic journey in the Ivory Coast (West Africa), where he received an Associate Degree in Food Science. Thereafter, he worked at the Pasteur Institute (Ivory Coast) for two yeas, and moved to Germany to study Bioengineering at the University of Dortmund. In 2008 Dr. Niepa transferred to Syracuse University, where he received a Bachelor of Science in Biomedical Engineering (2009) and a Ph.D. in Chemical Engineering (2014). Dr. Niepa acquired essential principles to perform research in various settings. His study of the Electrochemical Control of Bacterial Persister Cells (ECCP) focused on the electrophysiology of highly drug-tolerant bacterial cells, known as persister cells. He revealed the mechanisms underlying ECCP, which was awarded US patents (US Patent 8,663,914 & US Patent 8,569,027). This technology was successfully tested for its safety on human cells and for its efficacy in curing a rabbit model of sinusitis. Some aspects of this work have been published in scientific journals including Biomaterials and Acta Biomaterialia. His current research focusing Biointerface Engineering is applied to solving problem associated with microorganisms relevant to the food, medical and environmental fields. Beside this academic considerations, he co-founded in 2011 Helios Innovative Technologies Inc. (PurpleSun Inc.), a medical device company that develops automated sterilization systems to fight bacterial cross-contamination. His current research interest is to understand how beneficial microbes could be used to better clean the environment after an oil spilland how pathogens could be prevented from causing disease.