PSS’s Abidi garners President’s Excellence in Commercialization Award
By: Norman Martin
Noureddine Abidi, Texas Tech's Leidigh Professor in the Department of Plant and Soil Science and Director of the university's Fiber & Biopolymer Research Institute, has been presented the 2021 President's Excellence in Commercialization Award, officials with the Office of Research & Innovation announced today (May 19).
The annual honor recognizes outstanding contributions to the commercialization of innovative work conducted by Texas Tech faculty, and includes a $5,000 cash gift and a framed certificate. Abidi is an internationally-recognized polymer chemist whose research focuses on the physical and chemical characteristics of biopolymers and their functionalization and transformation, which leads to practical, advanced applications.
"Dr. Abidi is a world leader in biopolymer chemistry, characterization, functionalization, and transformation to bioproducts," said Glen Ritchie, chair of Tech's Department of Plant and Soil Science.
Previous winners of the Texas Tech President's Excellence in Commercialization Award include:
· Siva Vanapalli, Edward E. Whitacre Jr. College of Engineering (Chemical Engineering)
· John McGlone, CASNR (Animal & Food Sciences)
· John Schroeder, College of Arts & Sciences (Geosciences)
· Seshadri Ramkumar, College of Arts & Sciences (Environmental Toxicology)
· Brian Still, College of Arts & Sciences (English)
Last year Abidi was awarded the prestigious ‘Discover Natural Fibres Initiative Innovation Award' for his work and the patent received for his discovery of changing low-grade cotton to a cellulose gel that can be used in a wide variety of ways. Abidi developed a process that breaks down low-grade cotton into pure cellulose, which can then be converted into a gel that can be used in 3D printing, for example, or other processes to create usable, biodegradable products such as bioplastic materials.
Abidi's goal with the research is to be able to take the gel from low-grade cotton and use it to replace as many nonbiodegradable products, like plastic trash bags, as possible. Abidi and fellow researchers already have shown in the FBRI laboratory that the process will work, using it to convert low-grade cotton into products such as protective film, which could potentially be used to make face shields for hospital workers caring for coronavirus patients.
His previous research has focused on the creation of antimicrobial textiles, self-cleaned textiles and the physicochemical characterization of pollen shells. This is done using Fourier-transform infrared microspectroscopy, a technique used to obtain an infrared spectrum of absorption or emission of a solid, liquid or gas, and thermal gravimetric analysis, where the mass of a sample is measured over time as the temperature changes.
Abidi holds a doctorate in theoretical, physical and analytical chemistry from the University of Montpellier II in France. He joined the FBRI in 1999 as a research associate working in chemical finishes and textile chemistry, holding a bachelor's degree in chemistry and a master's degree in polymer chemistry.
CONTACT: Cindy Akers, Associate Dean for Academic and Student Programs, College of Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources, Texas Tech University at (806) 742-2808 or firstname.lastname@example.org
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Editor: Norman Martin
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