Highly effective seminars and hands-on workshops held several times throughout the year


Seminars are taught by world-renowned faculty and industry leaders

Dr. Carol Barry is a faculty member of the Plastics Engineering Department at UMass Lowell. As well as teaching courses in plastics processing and computer-aided engineering, she coordinates the undergraduate plastics processing laboratories. Dr. Barry is also an active researcher in these areas.

Thomas Bezigian is a consultant to the film and sheet extrusion and converting industries, serving many major clients around the world. He is a graduate of UMass Lowell's Plastics Engineering program, where he now serves as an Adjunct Professor teaching extrusion, extrusion coating, polymer chemistry and other related subjects. He has more than 40 years of experience in the industry, and has worked in various capacities for companies such as Cryovac, Mobil Chemical, James River Corp. and Felix Schoeller GmbH. He founded his own specialty film and extrusion laminating business, Great Lakes Technologies, which he operated in Syracuse, New York, until he sold it to begin full-time consulting. He has extensive experience in screw design, materials, processing, single- and twin-screw extrusion process engineering, product development, packaging, quality management and manufacturing management in many different aspects of extrusion.

Dr. Bridgette M. Budhlall is an Associate Professor and Associate Chair of Doctoral Programs in the department of Plastics Engineering at UMass Lowell. After graduating from Lehigh University with a Ph.D. in Polymer Science and Engineering in 2000, she spent six years in industry at Air Products and Chemicals, Inc., where she conducted research on the synthesis of latexes for coatings and developed photoresist polymers and immersion fluids for microlithography applications. She worked briefly with Professor Orlin D. Velev at the department of Chemical and Bimolecular Engineering at North Carolina State University before joining the NSF Center for High Rate Nanomanufacturing at UMass Lowell. Her lab at UMass Lowell currently conducts research on the synthesis of nanostructured polymers with controlled morphologies specifically designed to trigger and control motility and assembly with external stimuli. She has received over $2.2 million in funding from the National Science Foundation, the U.S. Army Natick Soldier Research, Development & Engineering Center and various industrial collaborations. She has published more than 25 peer-reviewed journal articles, and has three U.S. and European patents.

Dr. Wan-Ting (Grace) Chen was a postdoc research associate in the School of Chemical Engineering at Purdue University prior to joining the faculty at UMass Lowell. She received her B.S. in Chemical Engineering from the National Taiwan University, and an M.S. and Ph.D. in Biological and Agricultural Engineering from the University of Illinois. Her Ph.D. research work focused on developing a synergistically integrated waste-to-fuel system that simultaneously produces biofuel and treats wet biowaste via algae growth and hydrothermal liquefaction (HTL). In particular, her work contributes to the area of upgrading complex HTL biocrude oil converted from biowaste to transportation fuels by distillation, esterification and catalytic treatments. Her ongoing work focuses on valorization of plastic waste into useful products, including pristine polymers, fuels, specialty chemicals and monomers.

Professor Stephen Burke Driscoll has been a faculty member in UMass Lowell's Plastics Engineering Department for almost 40 years. He teaches undergraduate and graduate courses in polymeric materials, additives and modifiers for plastics materials, testing/characterization with an emphasis on dynamic mechanical rheological testing, and marketing. Professor Driscoll was Chair of the ASTM D20 Committee on Plastics Sections on Long-Term Properties and Dynamic Mechanical Properties, the D20 Advisory Subcommittee, a member of the D20 Executive Subcommittee, an appointed member of ASTM International COTCO, and an elected member of the ASTM International Board of Directors. He is a Fellow of ASTM International, as well as The Society of Plastics Engineers. One of very few SPE members who has also been awarded the Honored Service Member recognition, he received the SPE International Education Award in 2004. He has presented and published more than 100 technical articles, organized several plastics conferences, consulted for many international plastics-oriented companies, and is a United Nations Consulting Fellow for Rheology.

Dr. Christopher Hansen is a faculty member in the Mechanical Engineering department. He has a B.S. in Materials Engineering from Iowa State University and a Ph.D. in Materials Science & Engineering from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. His research interests include additive manufacturing, composite materials, multifunctional materials and toxics use reduction. He has 13 years of experience in additive manufacturing (i.e., 3D printing), particularly with direct ink writing and fused filament fabrication techniques. His research projects work with a number of federal and industrial partners — particularly those in the aerospace and wind energy industries. He is the Site Director for the SHAP3D 3D-printing center at UMass Lowell.

Dr. Stephen Johnston came to UMass Lowell in 2003 to pursue his M.S. degree and subsequently his Ph.D. in Plastics Engineering. His expertise is in the area of instrumentation, analysis, and simulation of the injection molding process. Dr. Johnston has worked at Lord Corp., Moldflow Corp., Bausch & Lomb Inc., and does research and consulting for numerous other companies. In the fall of 2007, he started teaching courses at UMass Lowell. His course offerings focus on mold design, product design and processing.

Dr. David Kazmer is a Professor and Chair of Plastics Engineering at UMass Lowell. He has been both an engineer and a manager in industry, and is now teaching and researching in the areas of plastics product design, machine design and manufacturing processes. He holds more than 20 patents related to plastics product design and manufacturing, and is a fellow of the ASME and SPE.

Vijay Kudchadkar is a polymer engineer who has become an expert in analyzing and troubleshooting problems in extrusion, injection molding, thermoforming and blow molding. Kudchadkar graduated from the University of Pune in 2003 with a Bachelor's Degree in Polymer Engineering and from the University of Massachusetts Lowell in 2005 with a Master's Degree in Plastics Engineering. Since joining COMPUPLAST®, Kudchadkar has designed and troubleshooted numerous dies and screws for applications in profile, multi-lumen, sheet, cast film, and blown film extrusion. Kudchadkar has numerous publications and four patents in the field of polymer processing, and presents at COMPUPLAST seminars around the world.

Suhas Kulkarni is the President of FIMMTECH, a consulting firm that specializes in services related to injection molding. He earned his Master's in Plastics Engineering from the University of Massachusetts Lowell and a Bachelor's in Polymer Engineering from the University of Poona in India. He has 20 years of experience as a process engineer. His main area of expertise is Scientific Processing for Injection Molding. Based on his experience, he has developed a custom software called Nautilus, that aids the complete process development routine to production release. He has given numerous presentations on injection molding related topics and written several articles. He is also an author of the book Robust Process Development and Scientific Molding published by Hanser Publications.

Dr. Francis Lai is a professor in the Plastics Engineering Department at UMass Lowell. He holds a B.S., M.S. and Ph.D. in chemical engineering. His interests are mainly in plastics processing and computer-aided engineering. He has more than 40 years of academic and industrial experience in plastics materials and manufacturing research and development. His current research focuses on the applications of micro engineering, extrusion and injection molding in medical devices.

Dr. Davide Masato received a B.S. in Mechanical Engineering (2011), an M.S. in Mechanical Engineering (2014) and a Ph.D. (2018) from the University of Padova in Italy. In 2016, he was a visiting researcher at the University of Bradford (UK), where he worked at the Centre for Polymer Micro and Nano Technology (Polymer MNT). Prior to joining the faculty at UMass Lowell, he was a post-doc researcher at the University of Padova, where he worked at the Te.Si. Laboratory for Precision Engineering and Manufacturing. Beginning in 2015, he was a teaching assistant at the University of Padova for courses pertaining to engineering of plastics processes and injection molding process simulation.

Dr. Joey L. Mead received her B.S. in Chemistry from MIT (1981) and her Ph.D. in Polymers from the Department of Materials Science and Engineering at MIT (1986). She worked for over 10 years as a Materials Engineer for the Army Research Laboratory in Watertown, MA. Currently, she is the David and Frances Pernick Nanotechnology Professor in the Department of Plastics Engineering and the Director of the Nanomanufacturing Center at UMass Lowell, and was the Deputy Director of the NSF Center for High-rate Nanomanufacturing. Her research interests include nanomanufacturing of polymeric materials, structure-properties of polymers, elastomers and thermoplastic elastomers. She has over 200 publications and 10 book chapters.

Dr. Ramaswamy Nagarajan is a professor in the Plastics Engineering Department and Faculty Director of HEROES at UMass Lowell. Dr. Nagarajan's research is in the area of "greener" routes to the synthesis and processing of polymeric materials. Dr. Nagarajan has developed enzymatic/biomimetic routes for synthesizing electrically conductive and photoresponsive polymers. His teaching interests include polymers from renewable resources, rubber technology, thermal and morphological characterization of materials. He has authored roughly 30 papers published in peer-reviewed journals and is named co-inventor in seven patents related to enzyme catalysis.

Michael Paloian is president of Integrated Design Systems, Inc. (IDS), located in Great Neck, New York. Since its inception almost 30 years ago, IDS has developed hundreds of products ranging from MRI machines to pool chlorinators for companies worldwide. Mr. Paloian received his undergraduate degree in Plastics Engineering from Lowell Technological Institute in 1972 and his Master's of Industrial Design from Rhode Island School of Design in 1976. His unique education as an industrial designer and plastics engineer has enabled him to design products from concept to production. Mr. Paloian has more than 30 years experience designing products in numerous materials, including plastics, metals and composites. Mr. Paloian's extensive experience in numerous markets as both an industrial designer and engineer provides him with a distinctive advantage in optimizing designs based on materials, process and cost.

Mr. Paloian holds more than 30 patents, has been committee chairman for the SPE and frequently lectures for numerous professional organizations internationally. Michael has also written numerous articles concerning design for publications such as Machine Design, Design News, Innovation, Rotation and Plastics Design Forum.

Dr. Jay Park is an Assistant Professor of Plastics Engineering at UMass Lowell. He received a B.S. in Chemical Engineering from the Johns Hopkins University and a Ph.D. in Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering from Cornell University. He subsequently held postdoctoral appointments at MIT and U.S. Army Research Lab, where he gained expertise in processing-structure properties of high-performance fiber and plastics. He has expertise in multiple processing techniques in fiber and filament formation for high-performance applications.

Dr. John Perdikoulias is a licensed Professional Engineer with 20 years of experience in the plastics industry. He has a Master's Degree in Engineering from McMaster University and a Ph.D. from the University of Waterloo in Ontario. He has designed numerous screws and over 200 dies for the tubular (blown) film process including the world's first commercially available 8- and 9-layer blown film dies. Mr. Perdikoulias has also designed many dies for profile pipe, tubing, blow molding and coating applications. In 1990, he co-founded Compuplast International Inc., a company that provides engineering services, product development assistance and specialty flow simulation software specifically designed for the polymer processing industry.

Dr. Amy Peterson is an Associate Professor of Plastics Engineering at UMass Lowell. Her research group studies processing-structure-property relationships in polymers and polymer composites, with a focus on interfacial phenomena in multilayered systems. She received her Ph.D. in 2011 from Drexel University, where she was an NSF IGERT and Graduate Research Fellow. She was an Alexander von Humboldt Postdoctoral Fellow at the Max Planck Institute of Colloids and Interfaces (2011-2013) and Assistant Professor of Chemical Engineering at Worcester Polytechnic Institute (2013-2018).

Dr. Alex Shakhnovich received his M.S. in Chemistry in 1972 from Moscow State University and his Ph.D. in Heterocyclic Chemistry in 1979 from Institute of Dyes and Intermediates in Moscow. After working at different academic and industrial institutions in the Soviet Union, he joined the research team of Clariant (SANDOZ) in Charlotte, NC in 1991, where he developed dyes for the automotive industry, non-tendering Sulfur Black and porphyrine catalysts. From 1996 to 2002, Dr. Shakhnovich worked at GE Plastics and GE Corporate R&D in Niskayuna, NY. The focus of his work ranged from weather-able colorant gamuts for Geloy, PC, PBT and Ultem to coloration of self-healing polymers. Since 2002, he has worked in the R&D center of Cabot Corporation in Billerica, MA, holding the position of Cabot Research Fellow in Industrial Organic Chemistry. His research interests include synthesis, surface modification and application of organic colorants for non-impact printing. He is the author of multiple research articles and 15 US and European patents and an inventor of four organic colorants, listed in Colour Index.

Dr. Anne Soucy is an Assistant Teaching Professor and the Associate Chair for the Plastics Engineering undergraduate degree program at UMass Lowell, where she earned a bachelor's degree and a doctoral degree in Plastics Engineering. Prior to joining the UMass Lowell faculty, she was a faculty member in the departments of Plastics & Polymer Engineering Technology and Engineering Design Technology at the Pennsylvania College of Technology. Courses she has taught include blow molding, rotational molding, product and mold design for injection molding, Moldflow®, 2D CAD applications, print reading, and 3D parametric solid modeling. She has also taught injection molding and product design for injection molding industrial seminars.

Steve Thibeault is the President of Poly-Ject Inc., a small custom injection molder and mold maker located in Amherst, NH. He has a Bachelor's Degree in Plastics Engineering from the University of Massachusetts Lowell. He has designed and built over 200 injection molds for products ranging from tight tolerance military connectors to sporting goods, medical devices and everything in between. He also does all of the part designs at Poly-Ject for a wide range of customers and applications.

Dr. Javier Vera-Sorroche is Assistant Professor at UMass Lowell. He earned his M.Sc. in Chemical Engineering from Murcia University in Spain, and Ph.D. from the IRC Polymer Engineering Research Group at the University of Bradford, UK. He is an author of 14 publications. Before UMass Lowell, Javier worked in Smithers Rapra (UK) as Senior Technologist for two years and has been involved on both long term EU research projects and much shorter scale client projects. This covers a wide range of polymers and processing techniques. He has also been Manager of rheological services. His teaching and research are in the areas of control engineering, greener manufacturing processes, recycling, pharmaceutical and reactive extrusion and rheology.