Cinlar Receives GWC Student Award in Biorenewables Basak Cinlar, who received her doctoral degree in chemical engineering with a minor in biorenewable resources and technology this month, has been awarded the 2010 George Washington Carver Prize for Outstanding Student Achievement in Biorenewables.Currently in its third year, this award is funded by the Bioeconomy Institute (BEI), the NSF ERC Center for Biorenewable Chemicals (CBiRC), and the Biotechnology Industry Organization (BIO) to recognize the research contributions of a student in the Iowa State University Biorenewable Resources and Technology (BRT) graduate program.The award was established as a memorial to the original vision of George Washington Carver who pioneered the creation and commercialization of sustainable biobased products from renewable agricultural feedstocks.
Brent Shanks, professor of chemical and biological engineering and director of CBIRC, nominated Cinlar for the award. “In her doctoral work, Basak developed a comprehensive research strategy for examining carbohydrate dehydration, which successfully reconciled apparently conflicting reports from the literature. This work allowed her to develop a high yield process for converting glucose to hydroxymethylfurfural in an aqueous system,” states Shanks.
With her involvement in CBiRC, Cinlar quickly realized how much more work is still needed, especially in chemical synthesis. “I am honored to receive this award and glad to see that the efforts in the biorenewables area are recognized,” says Cinlar. Cinlar plans to continue in the field of biorenewables, applying to both industrial and academic positions. She will be recognized for this award at the BIO World Congress in Washington, D.C. on June 27-30, where the $2000 prize will be presented.
Due to the high caliber of students nominated for the 2010 award, the Bioeconomy Institute has selected three students as George Washington Carver Scholars in recognition of their research efforts in biorenewables. They are Debjani Mitra, Food Science and Technology major with a minor in BRT; Raj Padwardhan, Chemical Engineering major with a minor in BRT; and Micky Vincent, Biorenewable Resources and Technology major. They were each awarded a $500 prize.