Tricia A. W. Thomas
University of Tennessee at Chattanooga
615 McCallie Avenue
Chattanooga, TN 37403
(423) 425-5596 (Office)
(423) 645-3850 (Mobile)
Carnegie Mellon University
Ph. D., Chemical Engineering-Bioengineering (1998)
Thesis: "The Motility and Morphology of Glioblastoma Cells on Compliant Polymeric Substrata”
Advisor: P. A. DiMilla.
Synthesized thin thermally-vulcanized polysiloxane films and bulk polyacrylamide gels (containing chemically bound gelatin) having tunable mechanical compliances for use in cell culture. Measured the relationship between mechanical compliance of polymeric surfaces, density of adhesive extracellular matrix protein, cell morphology, and rate of cell migration for human glioblastoma cells using time-lapse videomicroscopy and quantitative image analysis. Developed computational models predicting the combined effects of substratum mechanics and receptor-mediated adhesion on cell motility. Experiments were conducted in collaboration with the NSF Center for Light Microscope Imaging and Biotechnology and the CMU Colloids, Polymers, and Surfaces Program.
Minors in Chemistry and English
University of Tennessee at Chattanooga
August 2006 – present
Assistant professor (Aug 09 – present) visiting assistant professor (Aug 07 – July 09) and adjunct faculty (Aug 06 – May 07) in the College of Engineering. Undergraduate and graduate courses taught include Basic Engineering Science, Probability and Statistics for Engineers, Chemical Process Principles, Pollution Controls, Chemical Kinetics and Reactor Design, Fractional Distillation Separation Processes, Water Supply and Wastewater Treatment, Water and Wastewater Treatment Systems, and Unit Operations Laboratory. Research conducted in 2008 and 2009 in collaboration with the UTC Center for Energy, Transportation, and the Environment. Current research focuses on production of biodiesel fuel from algae.
April 2005 – December 2007
Contract researcher for MeadWestvaco. Worked with MeadWestvaco Legal Department to review patent literature and prepare patent applications. Collaborated with product development and corporate research personnel to produce prototype materials. Worked with marketing and product development personnel to identify target applications and potential specifications for materials being developed.
Lead Engineer and Research Engineer in Corporate Research. Responsible for a wide range of projects in the pulp and paper area focusing on process improvement and new product development. Led new product development teams within research and acted as research liaison for division-led teams. Served as MeadWestvaco corporate adviser to research consortium focusing on engineered paperboard products at the Institute of Paper Science and Technology at Georgia Tech.
Carnegie Mellon University
August 1993-December 1997
Teaching assistant for undergraduate and graduate courses: Principles of Chemical Engineering, Chemical Engineering Design, Transport Processes, Chemical Kinetics, Physical Chemistry of Macromolecules, and Biological Transport.
Received Mark Dennis Karl Outstanding Graduate Teaching Award (1995).
Tutor for Carnegie Mellon Action Program: conducted review sessions for targeted minority students
Participated in teacher training program at CMU Eberly Center for Teaching Excellence.
Procter and Gamble
May 1992-August 1992 and May 1993-August 1993
Engineering intern in the Technical Support Department of the Pringles Division. Responsible for multiple projects involving mathematical modeling of processes, preparation of transfer flowsheets, product quality control, process control and improvement, and capital management.
August 1989-May 1991
Teaching assistant and tutor for undergraduate courses Calculus, Engineering Graphics, Physics, and Statics.
August 1990-December 1990
Research intern on project team working to develop models to simulate removal of residual radioactivity from abandoned nuclear research sites. Responsible for comparison and analysis of alternative approaches for modeling the transport of radioactive particles through ecological systems.
Thomas, T., F. Jones, J. Buecker, E. Snider, R. Dacus, J. Lewis, R. Mebane, R. Bailey and J. Hiestand, “The Effect of Phase and Temperature on the Kinetics of Biodiesel Production and Microreactor Design,” In Proceedings of the American Institute of Chemical Engineers 2011 Annual Meeting (2011)
Saputa, A., F. Jones, N. Alp, and T.Thomas, “From Well to Wheel: A Comprehensive Comparison of Traditional and Hybrid Electric Vehicles,” In Proceedings of the ASEM 2011 International Annual Conference (2011)
Thomas, T., R. Dacus, J. Lewis, R. Mebane, J. Hiestand, R. Bailey, M. Lowe and F. Jones, “Micro Chemical Processing Technology for Production of Biodiesel Fuel,” In Proceedings of the American Institute of Chemical Engineers 2010 Annual Meeting (2010)
Babcock, B. W., and Thomas, T. W., “White Top Paperboard,” United States Patent 7,491,293, issued Feb. 17, 2009
Thomas, T. Moving Electric Transportation Forward: The Many Faces of Electric Vehicles. The World Electric Vehicle Journal, Vol 2, Issue 1 (2009)
Thomas, T. Energy on Demand. The World Electric Vehicle Journal, Vol 2, Issue 2 (2009)
Thomas, T. W., and P. A. DiMilla. Spreading and motility of human glioblastoma cells on sheets of silicone rubber depend on substratum compliance. Medical and Biological Engineering and Computing 2000, 38, 360-370
Thomas, T. W., and P. A. DiMilla. Effects of substratum compliance on the motility, morphology, and proliferation of adherent human glioblastoma cells. In Proceedings of the 1995 Bioengineering Conference, BED-Vol. 29, R. M. Hochmuth, N. A. Langrana, and M. S. Hefzy, eds., ASME, New York, pp. 153-154, 1995
From Well to Wheel: A Comprehensive Comparison of Traditional and Hybrid Electric Vehicles, ASEM 2011 International Annual Conference, October 2011 (with N. Alp (presenter), A. Saputa, and F. Jones)
Thomas, T., R. Dacus, J. Lewis, R. Mebane, J. Hiestand, R. Bailey, M. Lowe and F. Jones, “Micro Chemical Processing Technology for Production of Biodiesel Fuel,” American Institute of Chemical Engineers 2010 Annual Meeting, Salt Lake City, UT, November 2010.
Algae-Based Biodiesel Fuel, Chattanooga Engineers Club, Chattanooga, TN, June 8, 2009.
Using Topographical and State of Charge Information to Predict the Actual Range of Electric Vehicles, EVS24, Stavanger, Norway, May 2009 (with Mark Hairr, Paul Griffith, Woodlyn Madden, and J. Ronald Bailey)
Combined effects of materials chemistry and rheology on cell motility on compliant polymer gels. American Institute of Chemical Engineers 1996 Annual Meeting, Chicago, IL, November 1996.
Cell motility and morphology depend on substratum compliance. Biomedical Engineering Society 1996 Annual Fall Meeting, State College, PA, October 1996.
A model for the effects of substratum and cell mechanics on cell motility on compliant substrata. Keystone Symposia on Molecular and Cellular Biology, Santa Fe, NM, February 1996.
Engineering the mechanics of biomaterials for tissue engineering: studies of interactions of cells with compliant polymeric networks. Keystone Symposium on Tissue Engineering, Taos, NM, January 1996 (with P. A. DiMilla).
Motility, proliferation, and morphology of human glioblastoma cells on elastomeric substrata. ASCB Annual Meeting, Washington, DC, December 1995.
Engineering cell spreading and migration on elastomeric biomaterials through manipulation of substratum compliance. AIChE Annual Meeting, Miami Beach, FL, November 1995 (with P. A. DiMilla).
Effects of substratum compliance on the motility, morphology, and proliferation of adherent human glioblastoma cells. 1995 ASME/ASCE/AIChE Summer Bioengineering Conference, Beaver Creek, CO, July 1995 (with P. A. DiMilla).
Migration of tissue cells on elastomeric crosslinked siloxane substrata. 69th ACS Colloid and Surface Science Symposium, Salt Lake City, UT, June 1995 (with P. A. DiMilla).
Is addiction hereditary? 1991 Alpha Chi Conference, Orlando, FL, April 1991.
Modeling the removal of residual radioactivity: A comparison of four methodologies. 1991 EUREKA Conference for Undergraduate Research, Pasadena, CA, March 1991.
American Institute of Chemical Engineers – UTC Student Chapter Advisor (2008-present)
American Society for Engineering Education (2010-present)
Process development for production of feedstocks for alternative fuels, particularly development of algae-based feedstocks
Engineering education, especially the incorporation of writing and communication skills development in a technical program.
Purification of wood pulping by-products and use of subsequent materials in dietary supplements and other novel applications
Biological Transport, Transport Phenomena, Engineering Statistics, Chemical Kinetics
Product development management and strategies, using an interdisciplinary team approach to simulate collaboration between divisions within a corporation as well as between companies and academia.
Special interests in developing interdisciplinary laboratory courses, studies for non-majors, and undergraduate honors courses