Auburn forestry professor, doctoral students tapped to organize international nanocellulose conference in Japan

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Maria Soledad Peresin, assistant professor of forest biomaterials in the Auburn University School of Forestry and Wildlife Sciences, is serving as co-chair of the scientific committee for the International Conference on Nanotechnology for Renewable Materials this week in Chiba, Japan.

The annual event draws professionals and students from around the world who are members of the Nanotechnology Division of the Technical Association of the Pulp and Paper Industry, or TAPPI Nano.

“This event is a great opportunity to get maximum exposure to innovations related to the utilization of bio-based materials, combined with nanotechnology to advance science on sustainable renewable materials,” Peresin said. “These areas are very relevant to Auburn’s undergraduate degree program, Sustainable Biomaterials and Packaging.”

In addition, two of Peresin’s doctoral students, Diego Gomez Maldonado and Maria Celeste Iglesias, are serving as co-vice chairs of the student committee of the TAPPI Nano Division.

Peresin said the student committee is vital to the organization.

“The mission of the committee is to provide a forum for students to develop a global network, connecting students and young professionals to academia and industry,” she said. “The forum facilitates knowledge exchange and provides useful tools, advice and encouragement so that students pursue careers that advance the use of renewable and sustainable nanomaterials.”

Iglesias was not involved in the 2018 event but is enthusiastic about the opportunity to connect with her international cohorts.

“When I received an email invitation to participate on this year’s conference organization with the student committee, I immediately said yes,” Iglesias said, adding that student committee members in the U.S. meet regularly to organize their portion of the conference.

“For me, it’s really nice because you start getting in touch with these people. You know them and you can work with them. Students do not only go to listen. They are very involved.”

Renewable nanomaterials have increasingly earned significant attention as they are recyclable, appear to have few safety, health or environmental issues and can be produced in large quantities at a relatively low cost. Research shows they have unique properties that enhance the performance of consumer products and applications when used with other materials, TAPPI Nano reports.

“The involvement of Dr. Peresin and her students with TAPPI Nano increases the visibility of their work with sustainable, added-value products while enhancing Auburn University’s international network, extended opportunities for collaboration and access to a variety of key stakeholders to advance the program,” said Janaki Alavalapati, dean of the School of Forestry and Wildlife Sciences.

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