Catchmark receives College of Agricultural Sciences Research Innovators Award

April 05, 2018

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — Jeffrey Catchmark, professor of agricultural and biological engineering, is a recipient of the Research Innovators Award, given by Penn State's College of Agricultural Sciences to recognize faculty and staff who have commercialized technologies generated through Penn State research.

Catchmark will be presented with the honor, which includes a $3,000 stipend, during the college's Entrepreneurship and Innovation Advisory Board meeting this month.

"Dr. Catchmark has made significant impacts through innovative research and commercialization and is worthy of this award," wrote Heather Gall, assistant professor, when nominating Catchmark. "His current commercialization activities are extensive and may lead to several transformative technologies developed in his laboratory entering into the market."

Since arriving at Penn State in July 2000, Catchmark has focused his research on sustainable, biologically derived materials created using polysaccharides. He also studies the biosynthesis and assembly of cellulose. Applications of his research include sustainable packaging, construction materials, food products, and biomaterials for health care.

Among his discoveries are a replacement for plastic film — an innovation that potentially can eliminate millions of tons of plastic used in laminates for packaging — and barrier coatings designed to improve food performance by extending the freshness of bread and the crispness of fried foods.

Catchmark has created a sustainable biofoam product, which can replace plastic in shoe soles, clothing and handbags, and a similar product that has the potential to replace all major wound-care products on the market, offering improved performance at lower cost.

In addition, he is developing nonfluorinated coatings for textiles and clothing, which could have a significant impact on the environment, because the use of fluorinated chemicals in these products represents one of the largest sources of pollution in the world.

"Each case would result in the cost-effective replacement of an existing product with a product that is completely sustainable, compostable and manufactured with ecologically friendly chemistries," Gall said. "For the plastic and Styrofoam replacement products, the impact on our environment could be enormous."

To advance his research, Catchmark is involved with intellectual property generation, patent preparation and licensing activities. He has been awarded eight patents, with two pending, in the United States and Europe.

Catchmark teaches courses in biological engineering design, structural systems in agriculture, and human behavior in management and technology, which focuses on improved processes for ethical leadership and decision-making.

  • Jeffrey M. Catchmark

    Jeffrey Catchmark, professor of agricultural and biological engineering, is a recipient of the Research Innovators Award.

    IMAGE: Penn State

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Last Updated April 05, 2018