Frank Annunzio Award 2005
Frank Annunzio Award Columbus Scholars
The Christopher Columbus Fellowship Foundation is honored to have awarded the achievements of the following two 2005 $25,000 Frank Annunzio Awards Columbus Scholars
Field of Alternative Energy Sources
Bruce E. Logan, Ph.D.
Kappe Professor of Environmental Engineering
Penn State University, University Park, Pennsylvania
Dr. Logan and his research group are pioneering completely new ways to make electricity based on recovering energy from waste. They have shown that it is possible to produce electricity from waste organic matter in water, with a device called a microbial fuel cell. This device uses only ordinary bacteria found in our natural environmental as the catalyst for organic matter degradation.
Treating water and wastewater currently consumes five percent of the electricity generated annually in the United States. The process being developed accomplishes both wastewater treatment and results in the generation of excess power. This could result in the reduced need
for electricity for wastewater treatment, and could generate excess electricity for communities.
Dr. Logan's research could help improve world health as well as contribute to energy production. Over two million people in the world lack adequate sanitation,
in part due to the high energy costs for modern wastewater treatment methods. Often this is because electricity is expensive and production can be intermittent.
This process could lead to treatment plants that do not need electricity input, thus freeing the need for electricity to run the plant. If implemented around the
world, such treatment processes could lead to improved global health by reducing the potential for the spread of disease.
Dr. Logan's other research in energy production is in biological hydrogen production. Hydrogen can be used in fuel cells to power automobiles, resulting in the
emission of only harmless pure water. However, most of the hydrogen today is made from fossil fuels. The team has shown that high purity hydrogen gas can be
recovered from bacterial fermentation of organic matter using materials rich in carbohydrates. By modifying microbial fuel cells, the team has recently shown the
technology can be used to produce hydrogen from virtually any biodegradable organic matter. This could result in a hydrogen economy based on renewable energy sources
such as waste biomass and even crops.
Dr. Logan teaches and serves as director of the Engineering Environmental Institute at Penn State University. He was a Fulbright Scholar at the University of
Constance in Germany in 1993, and a Leverhulme Fellow at the University of Newcastle upon Tyne in England in 2003. He was a professor at the University of Arizona
in Tucson, prior to moving to Penn State in 1997.
Field of Science and Technology
Joseph Chaiken, Ph.D.
Professor of Chemistry
Syracuse University, Syracuse, New York
A ten year-old left in a dark room with a flashlight for a few minutes will usually press the light up against his or her hand or some other body part to
behold the red glow. The red glow shows that of the colors comprising white light, only the red has extensive penetration through the tissues. The technology
developed by Dr. Chaiken and his team for LighTouch Medical, uses CD player-type lasers that have been "kicked up a notch" to probe blood in capillaries in
fingertips with very pure red light.
Significantly, they also showed how to obtain information from the blood part of the fingertip without interference from the other tissues, i.e. skin, bone, fat,
etc. From the various colors of red light that emanate from the probed tissue, they discovered that it was possible and successfully demonstrated as one method to
obtain quantitative information on glucose and a number of other important metabolites including, but not necessarily limited to, total protein, albumin, cholesterol,
urea, triglycerides, and hemoglobin.
This technology will relieve millions of people with diabetes from the need to use fingersticks to monitor their glucose, and also will eventually allow all people
to obtain a "non-invasive blood panel" comprised of a number of analytes simultaneously. Such analytes are routinely monitored on hospital check-in, doctors' office
visits, etc. millions of times each day in the United States alone. Each test requires the removal of 2-4 vials of blood from a patient. The risks, discomfort and
costs associated with millions of blood draws each day will be avoided once and for all. The possible overall reduction of costs to the health care system will be in
the billions of dollars per year.
It is impossible at this time to estimate what other discoveries regarding the anatomy and physiology of blood, circulation and other chemical aspects of human
health may come from the newly discovered capability.
Dr. Chaiken graduated with Honors in Chemistry from the University of Chicago in 1977. He attended the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign earning his
Ph.D. in Physical Chemistry in 1982. He joined the faculty of the Chemistry Department of Syracuse University the same year.
The Christopher Columbus Fellowship Foundation is honored to have
had the assistance of the following distinguished individuals serving
on the 2005 Frank Annunzio Awards Evaluation
Anthony Atala, M.D., William Boyce Professor and Director, Wake Forest Institute for Regenerative Medicine, Wake Forest University School of Medicine, Winston Salem, North Carolina. Dr. Atala was the recipient of the 2000 $100,000 Christopher Columbus Foundation Award.
John A. Kleppe, Ph.D., P.E., Professor of Electrical Engineering at the University of Nevada,Reno.
- M. Ian Phillips, Ph.D.,Vice President for Research and Professor at the University of South Florida, Tampa, Florida. Dr. Phillips was the recipient of the 2002 $50,000 Frank Annunzio Award in the Science/Technology field.
- Fenella Saunders, Associate Editor, American Scientist.
- Neill S. Smith, Ph.D., Senior Engineer, Vehicle Control Technologies, Reston, Virginia
- James R. Fischer, Ph.D., P.E., Board of Directors, Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy, Department of Energy, Washington, D.C.