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Released May 29, 2003


HATTIESBURG - A chemistry professor at The University of Southern Mississippi is one of 24 recent national recipients of the Ralph E. Powe Junior Faculty Enhancement Award.

In his first year as a tenure-track assistant professor in the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry, Dr. Andrew Lowe won the $10,000 award intended to provide seed money for research by junior faculty at member institutions of Oak Ridge Associated Universities (ORAU).

"We are excited that Dr. Lowe has received this very competitive award," said Dr. Cecil Burge, Associate Vice President for Research and Technology Transfer at Southern Miss.

"These awards are especially meaningful to Mississippi faculty because of the dedication of the late Ralph E. Powe and the Mississippi Research Consortium to growing the research enterprise at all Mississippi research institutions," Burge continued.

Lowe won the award based on a proposal detailing his research into the application of polymers synthesized by a method called Reversible Addition-Fragmentation Chain Transfer (RAFT). This research has a number of biological applications such as drug encapsulation and antibacterial surfaces. It can also provide a benefit to the environment by enhancing the recovery of oil.

Lowe's already extensive publication list includes a number of groundbreaking papers on water dispersible polymers. He is currently researching the synthesis of water-soluble polymers in a controlled fashion directly in aqueous media.

"This award is very significant to me since it is my first independent award," said Lowe, who was a postdoctoral research fellow at the University of Sussex in the United Kingdom and a senior postdoctoral research fellow at Southern Miss.

Lowe said the award would allow him to buy some needed "extras" for his 1,000- square-foot research laboratory, stocked with glassware, four hoods and other small equipment. "My first graduate student has just started in the lab, and this money will allow me to purchase him a computer, as well as provide travel funds for attending national and international conferences over the next 18 months or so," Lowe said.

The award amount provided by ORAU is $5,000, with Southern Miss required to match the award with at least an additional $5,000. The institution's award can include funds for travel, equipment or other assistance relevant to the faculty's research.

In addition to Lowe's postdoctoral work in Sussex and at Southern Miss, he has "spent time in laboratories around the world (Ontario and Prague) in collaborative research efforts, showing his independence and initiative," said Dr. Robert C. Bateman, professor and chair of the Department of Chemistry.


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April 20, 2004 4:09 PM