November 27, 2014  

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Southern Miss Professor Buchanan Named Chemist of the Year

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Dr. J. Paige Buchanan.

Dr. J. Paige Buchanan, associate professor in the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry at The University of Southern Mississippi, has been named Chemist of the Year by the Mississippi Section of the American Chemical Society. Buchanan received the award at the organization’s awards banquet at Jackson State University.

Buchanan has been at Southern Miss since 2006 where she teaches and maintains an active research group. She earned her Ph.D. in physical organic chemistry from Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University (Virginia Tech) in 1998, where she developed expertise in probing reaction mechanisms using a variety of techniques. She continued at Virginia Tech in a post-doctoral position in polymer science and joined a high-tech, small business entity specializing in advanced materials development for military applications.

Buchanan has eight issued patents, authored 38 refereed publications and is author or coauthor of over 100 presentations at local, national, and international forums. 

Chair of the department of Chemistry and Biochemistry at Southern Miss, Dr. Sabine Heinhorst, is proud of Buchanan’s recognition. “We are so pleased to see Paige recognized for her contributions to chemical research and education in Mississippi. This award is well-deserved,” she said. 

Buchanan’s research focuses on physical organic/polymer chemistry, specializing in the synthesis, derivatization, and incorporation of functional nanoparticles into polymer composites and specialty coatings. Her research platform “nano in macro” has led to successful projects using nanomaterials as (1) additives in stimuli-responsive, multi-functional coatings and adhesives, (2) nano-dopants for conducting and magnetically responsive polymers, and (3) architectural subunits of biologically inspired materials. 

This research has resulted in over $2.6 M in funding to USM from the National Science Foundation (NSF) CAREER program, the National Institutes of Health (NIH), Office of Naval Research (ONR), and Department of Homeland Security (DHS). 

Dr. Patricia Biesiot, interim dean of the College of Science and Technology, said Buchanan’s recognition further proves the high quality of research and teaching taking place at Southern Miss. “We are delighted that Dr. Buchanan is being recognized for her important work, which includes research opportunities for Southern Miss students,” said Biesiot.

Buchanan says it is a “great honor” to receive the Chemist of the Year Award. “It has been both personally and professionally rewarding to belong to this excellent community of practicing chemists and educators. I am appreciative of Southern Miss’s support of this recognition, and of the ongoing effort from my department, college and university to help nurture, support, and sustain the research efforts of multidisciplinary faculty like me,” she said. 

In addition to her duties at USM, Buchanan is also an entrepreneur. In June 2008 she co-founded SciGenesis, LLC, a university start-up MURA company, with $2 million in funding to develop novel cosmetics and textiles for military applications.  

Buchanan is the third USM professor to be named Chemist of the Year by the Mississippi Section of ACS. Former faculty of the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry, Dr. John Pojman was named Chemist of the Year in 2006 and Dr. Robert Bateman in 2010. 

With more than 163,000 members, the American Chemical Society (ACS) is the world’s largest scientific society and one of the world’s leading sources of authoritative scientific information. A nonprofit organization chartered by the U.S. Congress, ACS is at the forefront of the evolving worldwide chemical enterprise and the premier professional home for chemists, chemical engineers and related professions around the globe.

To learn more about Buchanan’s work visit http://www.usm.edu/chemistry-biochemistry/faculty/j-paige-buchanan. For more information  about the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry, visit http://www.usm.edu/chemistry-biochemistry