College of Science; Research

Chemistry’s Dan Whitehead receives prestigious innovation award


Dan White is shown working in his lab.
Dan Whitehead is an associate professor in the department of chemistry.

CLEMSON – Dan Whitehead of the department of chemistry has received the 2019 Dr. Fred Bisplinghoff FPRF Innovation Award from the Fats and Proteins Research Foundation and the National Renderers Association for his work on odor mitigation and environmental remediation.

The Bisplinghoff FPRF Innovation Award was founded in 2015 and is awarded annually to a Fats and Proteins Research Foundation grant recipient who has done considerable research in the rendering industry. The award presentation will be part of the fall convention held Oct. 28-Nov. 1 in Carlsbad, California.

Whitehead, an associate professor in the College of Science, began this research in Spring 2012. His team has partnered with professor Frank Alexis’ group at Yachay Tech in Ecuador. Together, they have been studying the development of functionalized nanomaterials that can be used to capture volatile organic compounds (VOCs) that are associated with rendering odors.

“I am delighted to receive this award as recognition for our team’s prolonged and fruitful relationship with the rendering industry,” Whitehead said. “I am particularly proud to share this honor with my very dedicated and hard-working team of faculty collaborators, graduate students, postdocs and undergraduate co-workers. It is really their hard work and enthusiasm for this project that has led to this recognition.”

Whitehead described his laboratory researchers and students as “incredible.” A large team of former and current students contributed to this work, including McKenzie Campbell, Fernanda Guerra, Mohamed Attia, Maria Swasy, Beau Brummel, Anthony Santilli, Chandima Narangoda and Joshua Hawk.

Whitehead joined Clemson University in 2011. His group studies three focus areas of organic chemistry: the development of new reaction methodology, bio-organic chemistry, and functional materials. The materials work that is the subject of this award is primarily funded by the FPRF, the Clemson University Research Foundation, the South Carolina Department of Agriculture and the South Carolina Research Authority. The other areas of his lab are supported by the National Science Foundation and Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation.

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