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Winter 2015 Newsletter


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Download: SBIO Newsletter Winter 2015

COVER: Fall 2014 students from SBIO 3004 at the Radford AEP hydroelectric facility on the New River. Pictured from left to right: Levi Callahan, Nick Frohock, Kat Bryan, Josh Mayne, Stephanie Betzel, Nadeem Khan, Derek Robords, Bridget Cantwell, JPhuard, Tori Kellinger, Haden Ponish, Smita Sharma, Wendell Foster, Brenda Villarreal. Not pictured: Dr. John Bouldin, and Johnny Vest.

Sustainable Nature-Based Enterprises course matches student groups with local business

by John Bouldin

Sustainable Nature-Based Enterprises (SBIO 3004) is a service learning course that draws students from disciplines across campus into the study of business sustainability. The course matches student groups with local business or non-profit clients to explore how to apply sustainability concepts into daily organizational operations. 

SBIO/MACR Students Win Awards at Eastman Symposium

by Kevin Edgar

Jan. 22, 2015 – On November 6, 2014, Eastman Chemical Company sponsored the 6th annual Eastman Graduate Symposium at Virginia Tech, showcasing the work of VT graduate students working in fields related to polysaccharide chemistry.

Precipitating a Solution: The Fukushima Nuclear Reactor Disaster Clean-up

by Barry Goodell

Two visiting researchers from Japan, on sabbatical in Professor Barry Goodell’s laboratory in ICTAS II on the Virginia Tech campus, recently made a finding that may help to clean up radioactive pollution from the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Disaster in Japan.

Packaging Systems & Design Students Earn Scholarships

by Bob Bush

Four Packaging Systems & Design students recently were awarded scholarships by the Paperboard Packaging Alliance.  All of the students are seniors and will be among the first graduating class under the new Packaging Systems & Design degree program. 

Advances in Microscopy of Adhesive Bondline Analyses

by Audrey Zink-Sharp

WBC Graduate Fellow Kyle Mirable and Professor Audrey Zink-Sharp have explored and established a video microscopy technique in Zink-Sharp’s lab that digitally acquires and stitches up to 50 microscopic images into a single large-scale image of a wood and adhesive bondline.

Hammett visits Katmandu, Nepal

After a two year absence, Tom Hammett returned to Nepal in January. he held meetings with the us agency for international Development (USAID) and was busy making lots of good connections for Virginia Tech. 

News From Goodell's lab

by Barry Goodell

Four Japanese researchers from Tokyo University of Agriculture and Technology visited Virginia Tech, and professor Barry Goodell’s lab to discuss research and give a presentation entitled: “Eco-Materials Research in Japan - applications for Nanocellulose, New Fungal Enzymes, and Physiological Control.”

Extension highlights

The wood products industry in Virginia is a critical contributor to the economy of the state, an industry represented by more than 1,000 primary and secondary industries and over $25 billion in economic impact.
The Department of Sustainable Biomaterials (SBIO) at Virginia Tech is one of the leading U.S. academic programs in the field of renewable materials with a focus on cellulosic materials such as wood products. Besides research and teaching efforts, SBIO has an important role in dissemination of new knowledge in the area of renewable materials through SBIO’s three extension specialists in Wood Processing (Brian Bond), Secondary Industry Manufacturing (Urs Buehlmann) and, Continuous Improvement (Henry Quesada).

Fifth Student Innovation Competition and Workshop delivered

On December 5, 2014 Dr. Henry Quesada, associate professor at the Department of Sustainable Biomaterials and Dr. Jaime Camelio, associate professor at the Department of Industrial Systems Engineering both at Virginia Tech organized and delivered the fifth Student Innovation Student Competition and Workshop at Virginia Tech.

Energy Savings Through Lean Thinking Workshop delivered in Marion, VA.

Speakers from various organizations including Virginia Tech, the Manufacturing Technology Center (MTC) of Southwest Virginia, and Enernoc traveled to Marion, VA on November 20, 2014 to present and introduce knowledge on lean thinking and energy saving opportunities.

Vacuum Drying Workshop Held in Princeton, WV

A workshop discussing the advantages of vacuum drying technology for lumber was held at the Wood Education and Resource Center, Princeton, WV on November 4, 2014. Over 30 people participated at the WERC center or on the live webinar. The purpose of the workshop was to provide current information about the vacuum drying technology available for lumber drying and its potential advantages over traditional methods. Speakers included: Brian Bond, Associate Professor of Sustainable Bio- materials and Extension Specialist, Virginia Tech; Oxana Brenes, graduate student, Virginia Tech, Dennis Socling, President, Process Control Specialist, Inc., PCs VacDry; Jim Parker, Director of Application Development, Vacutherm, Inc; Larry Lashway, Owner and Vice-president of Lashway Lumber, and Ingo Wallocha, Sales Director for Brunner-Hildebrand Lumber Dry Kiln Co.

Sustainable Biomaterials researchers travel to India

Drs. Robert Smith and Henry Quesada professors at the Department of Sustainable Biomaterials at Virginia Tech traveled to Hyderabad, India during November 6-17, 2014 to participate in the second conference and research meeting of the Indo-US Joint Clean Energy Research and Development (JCERD) project.

SBIO Extension Professors awarded USDA grant to support the export of wooden modular homes to developing countries

Last October 2014, the Federal State Marketing Improvement Program (FSMIP) at the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) awarded a competitive grant to Dr. Henry Quesada-Pineda and Dr. Robert Smith to explore market opportunities for U.S. modular home manufacturers in selected countries.



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