Catherine H. Niu

     Catherine H. Niu  B.Eng., M.Eng., Ph.D.

    Associate Professor, Department of Chemical and Biological Engineering

    Biography

    B.Eng
    M.Eng.(Sichuan, China)
    Ph.D.(McGill)

    My research area focuses on biosorption which utilizes inexpensive non-living biomaterials called biosorbents to sequester chemicals of interest. Biosorbents are prepared from the naturally abundant or waste biomass of algae, moss, fungi, bacteria or waste parts of plants and animals, which act just as adsorbents of biological origin.  The reusability and the low cost of biosorbents make the process economical and competitive. My research includes developing and characterizing biosorbents, optimizing biosorption processes, and studying the adsorption kinetics and equilibrium. The diversified and promising applications of biosorption technology lead to the development of my research projects as follows.

    Dehydration of fuel bioalcohols

    There is a greatly increasing interest in using bioalcohols as a sustainable energy source and the purification processes for dehydration of bioalcohols are very energy intensive. My projects in this area include developing cost-effective biomaterials for selective water adsorption from alcohol-water mixtures and optimizing the bioalcohol dehydration process in a packed-column with biosorbents.

    Biosorption in wastewater treatment

    I actively focus on the study of biosorption which targets on the industrial effluent treatment and metal recovery. Focus is on developing biosorbents with high uptake and controlled size, shape and stability.

    Biosorption of biochemicals and drug delivery

    My research also involves in biosorption of biochemicals such as proteins, amino acids and polysaccharides. The research targets on effective loading and controlled release of biochemicals of interest, particularly in drug delivery.

    I have also collaborated on the projects on drug loading by nano-materials, tissue engineering and environment-responsive microgels.

    I would be glad to work with students and research fellows who share the same research interests. There are Ph.D. and M.Sc. positions avaialble.

    Publications

    Chapters in Books
    • B. Volesky*, J. Yang. and H. Niu (2001). Biosorption of Metal Cations and Anions. In SenGupta, A. K., Marcus, Y. and Marinsky, J. A. (eds), Ion Exchange and Solvent Extraction, 14, 119-168. New York: Marcel Dekker, Inc.
    • H. Niu (1996). Bioreactor with Liquid Pumping (translated from English to Chinese). In J. Wang (ed.), K. Schugerl (original author), Biochemical Engineering (Chinese version), 2, 275-305. Chengdu: Chengdu University of Science of Technology Press.
    Refereed Journal Publications
    • Niu, C.H., Baylak, T., Wilson, D.I. and Zhang, M. (2014). Pelletisation of canola meal by extrusion-spheronisation for ethanol dehydration. Biomass and Bioenergy, 66:116-125.
    • Baroi, C., Mahto, S., Niu, C.H., and Dalai, A.K. (2014). Biofuel production from green seed canola oil using zeolites, Applied Catalysis A: General, 469: 18-23.
    • Soleimani, M., Tabil, L., and Niu, C.H. (2013). Adsorptive isotherms and removal of microbial inhibitors in a bio-based hydrolysate for xylitol production, Chemical Engineering Communications, http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/00986445.2013.867258.
    • Tajallipour, M., Niu, C.H. and Dalai, A. (2013). Dynamic Study on Ethanol Dehydration in a PSA Process using Canola Meal. Energy and Fuels, http://dx.doi.org/10.1021/ef400897e.
    • Ranjbar, Z., Tajallipour, M., Niu, C.H. and Dalai, A.K. (2013). Water Removal from Ethanol Vapor by Adsorption on Canola Meal after Protein Extraction, Industrial Engineering and Chemistry Research, http://pubs.acs.org/doi/pdf/10.1021/ie4002662.
    • Liu, L., Wu, F.,  Ju, X.-J.,  Xie, R., Wang, W., Niu, C.H., and Chu, L.-Y.  (2013). Preparation of monodisperse calcium alginate microcapsules via internal gelation in microfluidic-generated double emulsions, Journal of Colloid and Interface Science, 404 (2013) 85–90.
    • Baylak, T., Kumar, P., Niu, C.H. and Dalai, A.K. (2012). Ethanol Dehydration in a Fixed Bed using Canola Meal, Energy and Fuels, 26, 5526-5231.
    • Wang, H.D., Yang, Q.Q., Niu, C.H. and Badea, I. (2012). Adsorption of Azo Dye onto Nanodiamond Surface, Diamond and Related Materials, 26, 1-6.
    • Wang, H.D., Yang, Q.Q. and Niu, C.H. (2012). Preparation of Films of Nanodiamonds by Step-By-Step Deposition Approach Through Hydrogen Bonding, Diamond and Related Materials, 25, 73-79.
    • Wang, H.D., Niu, C.H., Yang, Q.Q. and Badea, I. (2011). Study on Protein Conformation and Adsorption Behaviors in Nanodiamond Particle-Protein Complexes, Nanotechnology, 22, 145703-145713.
    • Wu, H.G., Ju, X.J., Xie, R., Liu, Y.M., Deng, J.G., Niu, C.H. and Chu, L.Y. (2011). A Novel Ion-Imprinted Hydrogel for Recognition of Potassium Ions with Rapid Response, Polymers Advanced Technologies, 22, 1389-1394.
    • Liu, L., Yang, J.P., Ju, X.J., Xie, R., Liu, Y.M., Wang, W., Zhang, J.J., Niu, C.H. and Chu, L.Y. (2010). Monodisperse Core-Shell Chitosan Microcapsules for pH-Responsive Burst Release of Hydrophobic Drugs, Soft Matter, 7(10), 4821-4827.
    • Thevannan, A., Hill, G. and Niu, C.H. (2010). Kinetics of Nickel Biosorption by Acid Washed Barley Straw, Canadian Journal of Chemical Engineering, 89, 176-182.
    • Bawa, N., Bear, D., Hill, G.A., Niu, C.H. and Roesler, W. (2010). Fermentation of Glucose and Starch Particles Using an Inexpensive Medium, Journal of Chemical Technology & Biotechnology, 85, 441-446.
    • Thevannan, A., Mungroo, R. and Niu, C.H. (2010). Biosorption of Nickel with Barley Straw, Bioresource Technology, 101, 1776-1780.
    • Chen, G., Niu, C.H., Zhou, M.Y., Ju, X.J., Xie, R. and Chu, L.Y. (2010). Phase transition behaviors of poly(N-isopropylacrylamide) microgels induced by tannic acid, Journal of Colloid and Interface Science, 343, 168-175.
    • Wang, H.D., Yang, Q.Q. and Niu, C.H. (2009). Functionalization Of Nanodiamond Particles With N,O-Carboxymethyl Chitosan, Diamond & Related Materials, 19, 441-444.
    • Wang, H.D., Xie, R., Niu, C.H., Song, H., Yang, M., Liu, S. and Chu, L.Y. (2009). Chitosan chiral ligand exchange membranes for sorption resolution of amino acids, Chemical Engineering Science, 64(7), 1462-1473.
    • Ju, X.J., Liu, L., Xie, R., Niu, C.H. and Chu, L.Y. (2009). Dual thermo-responsive and ion-recognizable monodisperse microspheres, Polymer, 50(3), 922-929.
    • Sun, N., Okoye, C., Niu, C.H. and Wang, H. (2008). Adsorption of Water and Ethanol by Biomaterials, International Journal of Green Energy, 4, 623-634.
    • Yang, M., Chu, L.Y., Wang, H.D., Xie, R., Song, H. and Niu, C.H. (2008). A Thermoresponsive Membrane for Chiral Resolution, Advanced Functional Materials, 18, 652-663.
    • Mi, P., Chu, L.Y., Ju, X.J. and Niu, C.H. (2008). A Smart Polymer with Ion-Induced Negative Shift of the Lower Critical Solution Temperature for Phase Transition, Macromolecular Rapid Communications, 29, 27-32.
    • Sun, N., Okoye, C., Niu, C.H. and Wang, H. (2007). Adsorption of Water and Ethanol by Biomaterials, International Journal of Green Energy, 4(6), 623-634.
    • Lin, H., Chu, L.Y., Mei, Y., Wang, H.D. and Niu, H. (2007). Preparation and Characterization of Novel Cationic pH-Responsive Poly(N,N`-dimethylamino ethyl methacrylate) Microgels, Journal of Colloid and Interface Science, 311, 110-117.
    • Niu, H. and Volesky, B. (2007). Modelling Chromium (VI) Biosorption by Acid Washed Crab Shells, American Institute of Chemical Engineering Journal, 53(4), 1056-1059.
    • Niu, H. and Volesky, B. (2007). Biosorption of Arsenic (V) with Acid Washed Crab Shells, Water Research, 41, 2473-2478.
    • Niu, C. and Volesky, B. (2006). Biosorption of chromate and vanadate species with waste crab shells., Hydrometallurgy, 0(in press, available online June 5, 2006), 0-0.
    Refereed Conference Proceedings
    • Sun, N., Okoye, C., Niu, H. and Wang, H. (2007). Adsorption of Water and Ethanol by Biomaterials, The Proceedings of the 3rd International Green Energy Conference, Vasteras, Sweden, June 17-21, Paper No. 001, 1-9 (CD Rom).
    Non-refereed Conference Proceedings
    • Bawa, N., Hill, G.A. and Niu, C.H. (2008). Bioethanol Production by Fermentation of Starch Particles Using a Novel, Inexpensive Media, Proceedings of the AIChE Spring Meeting, New Orleans, LA, April 6-10, 1-6.
    Conference Presentations / Poster Presentations
    • M. Tajallipour, C.H. Niu, and A. Dalai, 2012. The usage of Canola meal as the desiccant for ethanol dehydration. 62nd Canadian Chemical Engineering Conference, Vancouver, BC, Canada, October 15-17.
    • Z. Ranjbar, A. Dalai and C.H. Niu*, 2012. Ethanol Dehydration with Protein Extracted Canola Meal In a Pressure Swing Adsorption Process. 62nd Canadian Chemical Engineering Conference, Vancouver, BC, Canada, October 15-17.
    • L. Zhou, H.B. Zhang, X.B. Chen, W.J. Zhang* and C. Niu, 2013. Real time degradation control of bio-scaffolds for tissue engineering. ASME 2013 2nd Global Congress on NanoEngineering for Medicine and Biology, Boston, MA, USA, Feb. 4–6, 2013.
    • H.D. Wang, Q.Q. Yang*, C.H. Niu, 2011. Preparation of nanodiamond thin films by Layer-by-Layer assembly. 22nd European Conference on Diamond, Diamond-like Materials, Carbon Nanotubes, and Nitrides, Garmisch-Partenkirchen, Bavaria, Germany, September 4-8.
    • H.D. Wang, Q.Q. Yang*, C.H. Niu and I. Badea, 2011. Adsorption of Azo Dye onto Nanodiamond Surface.
    • Wilson, L.D., Dreaver, N., Cline, A.L. and Niu, C.H. (2011). Equilibrium Adsorption Studies of Water and Ethanol Mixtures Using Polymeric Nanosponge Materials, 61st Canadian Chemical Engineering Conference, London, ON, October 23-26, 2011.
    • Ranjbar, Z., Kumar, P., Dalai, A.K. and Niu, C.H. (2011). Ethanol Dehydration with Protein Extracted Canola Meal, 61st Canadian Chemical Engineering Conference, London, ON, October 23-26, 2011.
    • Tajallipour, M., Kumar, P., Dalai, A.K. and Niu, C.H. (2011). Ethanol Dehydration Using Canola Meal in a Pressure Swing Adsorption Process, 61st Canadian Chemical Engineering Conference, London, ON, October 23-26, 2011.
    • Wang, H.D., Yang, Q.Q. and Niu, C.H. (2011). Preparation of Nanodiamond Thin Films by Layer-by-Layer Assembly, 22nd European Conference on Diamond, Diamond-like Materials, Carbon Nanotubes, and Nitrides, Garmisch-Partenkirchen, Bavaria Germany, September 4-8, 2011.
    • Wang, H.D., Yang, Q.Q., Niu, C.H. and Badea, I. (2011). Adsorption of Azo Dye onto Nanodiamond Surface, 23rd Canadian Materials Science Conference, Kelowna, BC, June 22-24, 2011.
    • Kaur, R., Chang, P., Dalai, A., Classen, H. and Niu, C.H. (2011). Characterization of Biosorbents Used for Ethanol Dehydration, Agriculture Bioproducts Innovation Network Annual Meeting, London, Ontario, Canada, Jan 9-11.
    • Kaur, R., Chang, P., Dalai, A.K., Classen, H. and Niu, C.H. (2011). Characterization of Biosorbents Used for Ethanol Dehydration, Agriculture Bioproducts Innovation Network Annual Meeting, London, ON, January 9-11, 2011.
    • Kaur, R., Chang, P., Dalai, A., Classen, H. and Niu, C.H. (2010). Characterization of Biosorbents Used for Ethanol Dehydration, 60th Canadian Chemical Engineering Conference, Saskatoon, SK, Canada, Oct. 24-27.
    • Baylak, T., Niu, C.H. and Dalai, A. (2010). Ethanol Dehydration in a Fixed Bed using Biosorbents, 60th Canadian Chemical Engineering Conference, Saskatoon, SK, Canada, Oct. 24-27.
    • Wickens, C., Niu, C.H. and Dalai, A. (2010). Ethanol Dehydration using Biosorbents in a Pressure Swing Adsorption Process, 60th Canadian Chemical Engineering Conference, Saskatoon, SK, Canada, Oct. 24-27.
    • Wang, H.D., Niu, C.H. and Yang, Q.Q. (2010). Fabrication of Nanodiamond Thin Films by Layer-by-Layer Assembly, 60th Canadian Chemical Engineering Conference, Saskatoon, SK, Canada, Oct. 24-27.
    • Jaffer, N., Nakoneshny, J., Haeusler, L., Niu, C.H. and Dalai, A. (2010). Removing Water from Ethanol Using Biosorbents, Agriculture Bioproducts Innovation Network Annual Meeting, London, Ontario, 13-14.
    • Jaffer, N., Nakoneshny, J., Haeusler, L., Niu, C.H. and Dalai, A. (2010). Dehydration of Ethanol Using Biological Based Adsorbents, Agriculture Bioproducts Innovation Network Annual Meeting, London, Ontario, 13-14.
    • Wang, H.D., Yang, Q.Q. and Niu, C.H. (2009). Functionalization of Nanodiamond Particles for Protein Adsorption, 20th European Conference on Diamond, Diamond like Materials, Carbon Nanotubes and Nitrites, Athens, Greece, 6-10.
    • Thevannan, A. and Niu, C.H. (2008). Optimization of Nickel Biosoprtion, 58th Canadian Chemical Engineering Conference, Ottawa, Ontario, Canada, October 19-22.
    • Oraedu, C. and Niu, C.H. (2008). Characterization of Biosorbents, 58th Canadian Chemical Engineering Conference, Ottawa, Ontario, Canada, October 19-22.
    • Bawa, N., Hill, G.A. and Niu, C.H. (2008). Bioethanol Production by Fermentation of Starch Particles using a Novel, Inexpensive Media, The American Institute of Chemical Engineers Spring National Meeting 2008, New Orleans, LA, USA, April 6-10.
    • Bawa, N., Hill, G.A., Roesler, B. and Niu, C.H. (2008). Improvement of Bioethanol Production from Saccharomyces cerevisiae, Engineering Research Day, Poster, Saskatoon, SK, April 2.
    • Okoye, C., Sun, N., Niu, C.H. and Lin, Y. (2007). Ethanol Dehydration with Barley Straw, 57th Canadian Chemical Engineering Conference, Edmonton, Alberta, Canada, October 28-31.
    • Sun, N., Okoye, C., Niu, C.H. and Wang, H. (2007). Ethanol Dehydration with Flax Shives, 57th Canadian Chemical Engineering Conference, Edmonton, Alberta, Canada, October 28-31.
    • Thevennan, A. and Niu, C.H. (2007). Kinetics and Equilibrium of Nickel Biosorption, 57th Canadian Chemical Engineering Conference, Edmonton, Alberta, Canada, October 28-31.
    • Sun, N., Okoye, C., Niu, C.H. and Wang, H. (2007). Ethanol Dehydration with Flax Shives, 57th CSChE Conference, Edmonton, AB, October 28-31.
    • Wang, H. and Niu, H. (2006). Challenges in Teaching as a Professor whose English is a Second Language, Abstracts of 28th McGraw-Hill Ryerson National Teaching, Learning, and Technology Conference, Saskatoon, SK, November 2-3.
    • Mungroo, R. and Niu, H. (2006). Biosorption in Nickel Plating Rinse Water Treatment, 56th Canadian Society of Chemical Engineering Conference, Sherbrooke, QC, October 15-18.

    Research Grants

    2013-2014

    • Principal Investigator, and Dr. A. Dalai, co-investigator, Drying Fuel Alcohols and Natural Gas with Biosorbents Based on Agricultural By-products”, $140,400, Saskatchewan Agriculture Development Fund, December 2013 - September, 2017, year 1 of 3, $48420/yr.
    • Principal Investigator, and Dr. A. Dalai, co-investigator, Drying Fuel Alcohols and Natural Gas with Biosorbents Based on Agricultural By-products”, $46,800, Saskatchewan Western Grain Research Foundation, December 2013 - September, 2017, year 1 of 3, $15940/yr.
    • Principal Investigator, and Dr. A. Dalai, co-investigator, Drying Fuel Alcohols and Natural Gas with Biosorbents Based on Agricultural By-products”, $46,800, Saskatchewan Canola Development Commission, December 2013 - September, 2017, approved year 1 of 3, $15940/yr.

    2012-2013

    • Principal Investigator, Biosorption of Species in Multi-Component Systems, $110,000, Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada Discovery Grant, April 2013 - March 2018, year 2 of 5, 22,000/yr. Co- Investigator, and X.B. Chen, Principal Investigator, Tissue Engineering Research Group - Phase II, $300,000 approved by SHRF, January 2012 – December 2015, year 2 of 3, $100,000. $10,000 available to C.H. Niu.

    2011-2012

    • Principal Investigator, Dehydration of alcohols using biosorbents, University of Saskatchewan, NSERC Bridging Fund.
    • Co-Investigator, Tissue Engineering Research Group, Phase II, SHRF, Contract.

    2010-2011

    • Principal Investigator, Dehydration of alcohols using biosorbents, University of Saskatchewan, NSERC Bridging Fund.

    2009-2010

    • Principal Investigator, Ethanol dehydration in PSA process, Saskatchewan Agriculture Development Fund, Contract.
    • Principal Investigator, Ethanol Dehydration Using Biosorbents, Agriculture and Agri-food Canada, ABIP-ABIN.

    2008-2009

    • Principal Investigator, Biosorption in nickel plating rinse water treatment, NSERC, Discovery Grant.
    • Principal Investigator, Ethanol dehydration in PSA process, Saskatchewan Agriculture Development Fund, Contract.
    • Principal Investigator, Separation of Ethanol-Water Mixtures Using Biosorbents, Pound-Maker Ltd, Industry Contract.
    • Principal Investigator, Separation of Ethanol-Water Mixtures Using Biosorbents, Saskatchewan Canola Development Commission, Industry Contract.

    2007-2008

    • Principal Investigator, Biosorption in nickel plating rinse water treatment, NSERC, Discovery Grant.
    • Principal Investigator, Characterization of Biosorbents for Ethanol Dehydration, University of Saskatchewan, USTEP.
    • Principal Investigator, Ethanol Dehydration Using Biosorbents, Agriculture and Agri-food Canada, ABIP-ABIN.
    • Principal Investigator, Separation of Ethanol-Water Mixtures Using Biosorbents, Pound-Maker Ltd, Industry Contract.
    • Principal Investigator, Separation of Ethanol-Water Mixtures Using Biosorbents, Saskatchewan Canola Development Commission, Industry Contract.

    Teaching

    2013-2014

    • CHE 414.2 - Chemical Engineering Laboratory II
    • CHE 461.3 - Intro Biochemical Engineering
    • CHE 861.3 - Fundamental Biochemical Eng
    • EPIP, Internship

    2012-2013

    • CHE 322.3 - Mathematical Modelling
    • CHE 414.2 - Chemical Engineering Laboratory II
    • CHE 424.2 - Chemical Engineering Laboratory III
    • EPIP, Internship

    2009-2010

    • BIOE 898.3 - Tissue engineering
    • CHE 333.2 - Laboratory 1
    • CHE 461.3 - Intro Biochemical Engineering
    • CHE 861.3 - Fundamental Biochemical Eng
    • EPIP 400 - Engineering Professional Internship Program

    2008-2009

    • BIOE 898.3 - Application of biomaterials in biomedical engineering
    • CHE 311.3 - Mathematical Modeling 1
    • CHE 333.2 - Laboratory 1
    • EPIP 400 - Engineering Professional Internship Program
    • VACC 801.3 - A Multidisciplinary Approach to Vaccinology and Immunotherapeutics

    2007-2008

    • CHE 322.3 - Mathematical Modeling 2
    • CHE 461.3 - Intro Biochemical Engineering
    • CHE 861.3 - Fundamental Biochemical Eng
    • CHE 898.3 - Special Topics - Biosorption in Sequestration of Targeted Chemicals
    • EPIP 400 - Engineering Professional Internship Program

    Research Projects

    2011-2014

    • Characteristics of Biosorbents for Ethanol Dehydration
    • Ethanol dehydration in adsorption column
    • Ethanol dehydration in PSA process
    • Ethanol dehydration using biosorbent spheres in fixed bed adsorption column
    • Functionalization of nanodiamond for controlled drug release

    2010-2011

    • Characteristics of Biosorbents for Ethanol Dehydration
    • Ethanol dehydration in adsorption column
    • Ethanol dehydration in PSA process
    • Ethanol dehydration using biosorbent spheres in fixed bed adsorption column
    • Functionalization of nanodiamond for controlled drug release

    2009-2010

    • Characteristics of Biosorbents for Ethanol Dehydration
    • Ethanol dehydration in adsorption column
    • Ethanol dehydration in PSA process
    • Functionalization of nanodiamond for controlled drug release

    2008-2009

    • Biosorbents pellets manufacture in pilot scale
    • Biosorption of Nickel from Nickel Sulfate Solution
    • Characteristics of Biosorbents for Ethanol Dehydration
    • Ethanol Concentration in Vapor Phase by Biomaterials
    • Ethanol dehydration in adsorption column
    • Ethanol dehydration in PSA process
    • Ethanol Production By Genetically Modified Yeast
    • Functionalization of nanodiamond for controlled drug release

    2007-2008

    • Biosorption of Nickel from Nickel Sulfate Solution
    • Characterization of Biosorbents for Ethanol Dehydration
    • Ethanol Concentration in Vapor Phase by Biomaterials
    • Ethanol Production By Genetically Modified Yeast