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Excellent student research rewarded with travel support


BLACKSBURG, Va., May 26, 2009 – Fifteen graduate students affiliated with Virginia Tech's Macromolecules and Interfaces Institute have received travel awards to present their research at conferences across the nation.

The Macromolecules and Interfaces Institute is an interdisciplinary group committed to advancing macromolecular science and engineering at Virginia Tech. It also administers the macromolecular science and engineering graduate degree program, a university-based program spanning multiple departments and colleges.

William C. Miles of Gainesville, Fla., a doctoral student in chemical engineering in the College of Engineering, received the 2009 Eastman Chemical Travel Award to present his research on "Controlled Clustering of Magnetite-Polyether Complexes through the Application of a Density Distribution Model and DLVO Theory" at the 13th International Association of Colloid and Interface Scientists' Conference, at Columbia University in New York. His adviser is Richey Davis, associate professor of chemical engineering.

Fourteen students received 2009 Chevron-Phillips Professional Excellence Travel Awards:

Jianbo Hou of Harbin in the Heilongjiang province of the People's Republic of China, a graduate student in chemistry in the College of Science, presented his research on "Diffusion and Anisotropy in Ionic Polymer Membranes Using Nuclear Magnetic Resonance" at the Experimental Nuclear Magnetic Resonance Conference in Pacific Grove, Calif. His advisor is Louis Madsen, assistant professor of chemistry.

Dakai Ren of Sichuan Province, China, a doctoral student in macromolecular science and engineering graduate degree program, will present "Curing and Morphological Studies of Moisture-cure Polyurethane Wood Adhesives within the Bondline," at the 238th American Chemical Society (ACS) national meeting in Washington D.C. His advisor is Charles Frazier; the Thomas M. Brooks Professor of Wood Science in the College of Natural Resources.

LaShonda Cureton of Lancaster, S.C., a graduate student in macromolecular science and engineering, will present on "Tough, Transparent, and Impact Resistant Segmented Block Copolymers" also at the 238th ACS meeting. Her advisor is Richard Turner, professor of chemistry and Macromolecules and Interfaces Institute director.

Jenni Popp of Millinocket, Maine, a doctoral student in biomedical engineering, presented on the “Comparison of Soluble and Insoluble Calcium Phosphate Scaffolds for Bone Tissue Engineering Applications" at the 55th Annual Meeting of the Orthopaedic Research Society in Nevada. Her advisor is Aaron Goldstein, associate professor of chemical engineering.

Gregorio M. Velez-Garcia of Vieques, Puerto Rico, a doctoral student in macromolecular science and engineering, presented on “Frontal Flow Effects in 2-D Simulations of Orientation in High Aspect Ratio Particles Composites Made by Injection Modeling” at the American Institute of Chemical Engineers National Meeting in Philadelphia. His advisors are Peter Wapperom, assistant professor of mathematics in the College of Science, and Don Baird, the Harry C. Wyatt Professor of chemical engineering.

Carter Fox of Hendersonville, Tenn., a doctoral student in macromolecular science and engineering, presented on "Regioselective Carbonylation of Cellulose at the 6-carbon" at the 237th ACS meeting in Salt Lake City. His advisor is Kevin Edgar, professor of wood science

Joshua M. Bryson of Cincinnati, Ohio, a doctoral student in chemistry, presented on "Tracking Nucleic Acid Delivery with the Help of Lanthanide Containing Polymers" also at the 237th ACS Meeting. His advisor is Theresa Reineke, associate professor of chemistry.

Jong K. Park of Jangseong in Jeonnam Province, South Korea, a macromolecular science and engineering graduate student, presented on "The Crystalline Component in Fuel Cell Membranes" at the ACS Division of Polymer Chemistry meeting on Advances in Polymer Electrolyte Membrane Fuel Cell Systems in Pacific Grove, Calif. His advisor is Robert Moore, professor of chemistry.

Rachael VanHouten of Waupun, Wisc., a macromolecular science and engineering graduate student, presented on "Synthesis and Characterization of Hydrophilic: Hydrophobic Block Copolymers for Proton Exchange Membranes in Fuel Cells," also at the Advances in Polymer Electrolyte Fuel Cells meeting. Her advisor is University Distinguished Professor of Chemistry James McGrath.

Phil Huffstetler of Gaffney, S.C., a doctoral student in macromolecular science and engineering, will present on "Influence of Molecular Structure and Chemical Composition of Amphiphilic Polyethers on Transverse NMR Relaxivities" at the Polymers in Medicine and Biology conference in Santa Rosa, Calif. His advisor is Judy Riffle, professor of chemistry.

Find more information about the Macromolecules and Interfaces Institute online, contact Tammy Jo Hiner at (540) 231-6824.