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McCoy Award for research won by Chapple

May 26, 2011


McCoy Award for research won by Chapple


Clint Chapple, department head and Distinguished Professor of Biochemistry, is the 2011 recipient of the Herbert Newby McCoy Award, the most prestigious research honor given by Purdue. Chapple is being recognized for his pioneering efforts in the mapping of plant cell walls to make them better suited for forage, fiber and fuel.

"Professor Chapple is a trailblazer in the mapping of metabolic pathways that drive plant biomass production," says Richard Buckius, vice president for research. "He has helped to transform agriculture and bioenergy production while also making seminal contributions to fundamental scientific knowledge in these fields."
Chapple, who joined the Purdue faculty in 1993, focuses on understanding and manipulating a compound in cell walls called lignin, which, while contributing to a plant's structural strength, also hinders conversion of plants into other materials. Chapple studies ways to preserve the beneficial functions of lignin, while altering properties that impede the commercialization of plant products.

His lignin research has led to improved processing techniques for producing pulp for paper. Chapple currently is studying ways to alter lignin so that cellulose from plants such as poplar trees can be used for ethanol production in the biofuels industry.

The McCoy Award, established in 1964 by Ethel Terry McCoy in memory of her husband, is presented annually to a Purdue student or faculty member for outstanding contributions to science. The winner is nominated by colleagues and selected by faculty representatives and the University president.

Chapple will be formally recognized by the University on Nov. 1 at the McCoy Distinguished Lecture. He will give a presentation on his research accomplishments during the event.



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