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Winter 2013 Newsletter


Hello from the Department of Sustainable Biomaterials:

It is hard to believe that we are in the middle of the semester and students will soon be packing for their spring break activities. With the winter we have had, I imagine many of them will be headed to warmer climates. This semester saw our undergraduate enrollment grow to 80 students and we continue to receive numerous applications for our graduate program.

Sustainable Idea was Awarded to Develop Value Added-Bioproducts from Biomass

A collaborative research project, “Strengthening Feedstocks, Production and Products in Western North Carolina,” prepared by Drs. Young T. Kim and Scott Renneckar (faculty of Sustainable Biomaterials) was recently awarded the full funding level ($145K) they proposed from the Biofuels Center of North Carolina through collaboration with Bent Creek Institute, Inc. housed in the North Carolina Arboretum. They are planning to isolate and add extra values on the fraction using modern extrusion and chemical modification technologies for production of "value-added bioproducts.” Their research goal is “to generate Zero waste from production. March 2013 and could be extended into a multiple year project. A variety of impacts on local business and society for the long term will be anticipated from their research.

Eastman Symposium on Sustainable Biomaterials Chemistry 

On November 29, 2012, Eastman Chemical Company representatives Rachel Potter, Wes McConnell, and Elizabeth Guzman-Morales visited campus for the 4th annual Eastman Symposium on Sustainable Biomaterials Chemistry.

Haoyu Liu is 2012 Graduate Student Award Recipient

Haoyu Liu, a 4th year Ph.D. student in Macromolecular Sceince and Engineering (MACR) degree program under the supervision of Prof. Kevin Edgar, has been selected to receive the American Chemical Society Cellulose and Renewable Materials Division (CELL) Graduate Student Award for 2012.

White Teaches Packaging Science Course at Inner Mongolia Agriculture University

Dr. Marshall White, Professor Emeritus of the department of Sustainable Biomaterials, spent most of October 2012 in Hohhot, China teaching a course, Packaging and Global Supply Chain Operations. Hohhot is a city of 2 million people and student enrollment at Inner Mongolia Agriculture University (IMAU) is 30,000, about the size of Virginia Tech.

Change of Leadership at CELLULOSE

CELLULOSE is an internacional periodical dealing with the science of industrial polysaccharides by springer, is currently experiencing a change in leadership. Wolfgang G. Glasser, Professor emeritus of Wood Science at Virginia Tech, is stepping down from his position as Editor-in-Chief after leading the journal for the past 12 years.

Visiting Scientists in the Department

Dr. Gry Alfredsen from the Norwegian Forest and Landscape Institute is As, Norway is visiting Professor Barry Goodell in the department of Sustainable Biomaterials for a threemonth stay. Gry is conducting research in the wood protection area and is focused on service life issues. Her work on the molecular biology of fungi that decay wood is well known and she gave a talk on this topic for the Virginia Tech campus in February in addition to acquainting the audience with a short history of Norway.

Dr. Fangli Sun is a Professor of Wood Science and Technology at Zhejiang Agriculture & Forestry University in China, and she is on sabbatical for one year, at Virginia Tech working with Dr. Chip Frazier on a wide variety of topics ranging from wood cell microfibril angle to bamboo chemistry sabbatical for one year. Fangli has also taken on a side-project with Barry on the protection of bamboo with an iodine complex that chemically fixes to the wood. She has already seen much of Virginia and has also visited Eastman Chemical Company to give a lecture there.

We are pleased and honored to have Gry and Fangli join us in the department.

Keynote Presentations by Barry Goodell in Georgia, Japan, and Korea

Professor Barry Goodell gave a keynote talk at the 2nd Biennial International Conference on Processing Technologies for the Biobased Products Industries at St. Simons, Georgia in early November 2012.