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Edgar’s cellulose research crosses traditional discipline boundaries

As a Technology Fellow at Eastman, Kevin Edgar focused on cellulose ester chemistry, drug delivery, and the creation of technology portfolios and organizations to support new business initiatives. He has continued his work on drug delivery as professor of biomaterials and bioprocessing at Virginia Tech with the goal of making medicines easier to absorb by combining them with polysaccharide derivatives that the body will accept.

Edgar’s work touches many disciplines. In a guest editorial for a special issue of the journal Cellulose on polysaccharides in drug delivery, he wrote, “It is typical of modern scientific inquiry that it is at this multidisciplinary interface, at the intersection of organic chemistry, material science, polysaccharide chemistry, pharmacology, and pharmaceutical science, that rich opportunities for discovery exist.”

In this spirit, he is an active member in and associate director for research initiatives of the Macromolecules and Interfaces Institute, which draws researchers from four colleges. Edgar is also a member of the university-wide Institute for Critical Technology and Applied Science, where he is on the faculty advisory board. He continues his work on biomaterials and products as a member of both the Wood-Based Composites Center and the Sustainable Engineered Materials Institute in the College of Natural Resources. His research and teaching also includes energy and conversion of biomass to new materials and biofuels.

Edgar has a background in organic chemistry, polymer chemistry, and the chemistry of cellulose and other polysaccharides. He received his B.S. in chemistry from Bucknell University and his Ph.D. in organic chemistry from Duke University.


“I like to backpack, and it would be really great to have a once-a-day version of ibuprofen to treat those hiking aches and pains.” -- Kevin Edgar

Photo by John McCormick.