Biobased Emergent Materials Seminars

Biobased Emergent Materials Seminars

The Ohio Agricultural Research and Development Center (OARDC) is hosting two seminars this month focused on biobased emergent materials. Both seminars will be held in Wooster, with a live video feed to the Columbus campus.

Katrina Cornish, Ph.D., FAAAS
Senior Vice President, Research & Development, Yulex Corporation

Tuesday, December 15, 2009 – 9:00 – 10:00 am
Columbus Location:  Room 244 Kottman Hall, 2021 Coffey Road



Dr. Cornish, an internationally famed scientist, serves as the chief scientific professional for Yulex, a company founded to commercialize her technology, which she developed while serving for 15 years as the sole federal scientist (USDA) charged with domestic rubber crop development.  Dr. Cornish is highly innovative and solution-driven, with a uniquely broad multidisciplinary research, development and implementation background.  She has 145 papers and patents, and has been PIU or co-PI on numerous grants. She provides leadership, direction and oversite to an extremely diverse spectrum of areas, including new crop varieties, primary, co- and by-product development (encompassing latex, rubber, resin and bagasse streams and products from novel hypoallergenic medical devices to termite resistant building materials and biofuels), processing innovations, industrial and regulatory regulations and standards, as well as clinical trials. She developed the company’s IP property portfolio, including inventorship and non-inventorship patents and confidential information, which accounted for adding $90 million to the value of Yulex from under $10 million in 2004 to $100 million+ in 2007.  She develops and oversees many extramural research agreements with academia and the federal government, in the US and overseas (the EU, Australia, and SE Asia. Among many awards,  Dr. Cornish won Outstanding Researcher of the Year, Association for the Advancement of Industrial Crops, 2008; the Connect 2005 Most Innovative New Product Award, to Yulex for Yulex™ in the Category Life Sciences – Medical Devices & Diagnostics; Good Housekeeping Award for Women in Government, 2004; American Chemical Society Presidential Award “For the outstanding work to Promote the Public Image of Chemistry,” December 11, 2002; and ARS Outstanding Senior Research Scientist of the Year, for exceptional creative performance in research and outreach activities, especially in natural rubber biochemistry and the discovery and development of hypoallergenic guayule latex, 1998.


Foster A. Agblevor, Ph.D. 
Associate Professor, Biological Systems Engineering, Virginia Tech

Tuesday, December 8, 2009, 9:00 – 10:00 am
Columbus Viewing Location:  Room 111 Agricultural Administration Building, 2120 Fyffe Road



The traditional method of producing biomaterials, fuels, and chemicals is based on the processing of natural biomass.  The current technologies appear to be inefficient and economically non-competitive relative to equivalent petroleum products.  There is a need for a paradigm shift for the production of high-valued products from biomass feedstocks.  A systems approach is proposed that will encompass genetic transformation, plant breeding, feedstock harvesting and logistics, feedstock characterization, feedstock conversion, product characterization, and life cycle analysis.  This approach will result in the development of environmentally friendly technologies that will be cost competitive.  In the proposed approach biomass feedstocks with predefined characteristics will be engineered and bred that will make the conversion processes easier and more cost effective. A multi-product processing facility (designer biorefinery) will be used to produce the fuels, chemicals and biomaterials from these specialized biomass feedstocks.


Dr. Foster Agblevor is an Associate Professor in the Department of Biological Systems Engineering at Virginia Tech in Blacksburg.  He is also an Adjunct Professor in the Department of Chemical Engineering at the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology in Ghana and the Coordinator of the Bioprocess Engineering program.  He received a B.S. in Chemical Engineering from the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology on Kumasi, Ghana; an M.S. in Chemical Engineering and Applied Chemistry from the University of Toronto; and a Ph.D. in Chemical Engineering and Applied Chemistry from the University of Toronto.  He did postdoctoral work at the Hawaii Natural Energy Institute of the University of Hawaii.

Prior to his employment at Virginia Tech in 1996, Dr. Agblevor was on the staff of the National Renewable Energy Laboratory in Golden, Colorado.  His awards and recognitions include the Virginia Tech College of Agriculture and Life Sciences Excellence in Basic Research Award (2008); the Dean’s Award for Excellence in Research (2008); Best Presenter of the Year Award from the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (1991); two Best Paper Awards at Gordon Conferences (1991, 1993); and a U.S. Department of Energy Special Achievement Award (1991).  His research involves the thermochemical and biochemical conversion of biomass to fuels and chemicals.  He is currently working on the fractional catalytic pyrolysis of energy crops and agricultural residues such as poultry litter in order to produce biooils.  Dr. Agblevor has numerous publications and holds eight patents on biomass conversion.

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