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Clemson puts Husson in Sturgis professorship

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The first Clemson University instructor to be named a distinguished professor in chemical and biomolecular engineering under a professorship named for Bill and Martha Beth Sturgis said he will use the funds that come with the honor to train chemical engineering students and encourage entrepreneurship.

Scott Husson was named the first William B. “Bill” Sturgis, ‘57 & Martha Elizabeth “Martha Beth” Blackmon Sturgis Distinguished Professor in Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering, named for the couple who earlier this year made the largest donation ever to the university’s chemical and biomolecular engineering department, according to a news release.

The Sturgises donated $600,000 for the professorship last spring and said they plan to double their contribution in their will, the release said.

David Bruce, chairman of the department, said in the news release that Husson is a “prolific author of journal articles and is translating his research to real-world use through his startup, Purilogics.”

Husson said funds that come with the professorship will open new avenues for exploratory research and for students to travel to conferences. He plans to direct some of the funds to help students learn about entrepreneurship.

“It’s certainly a great honor to be selected as the recipient of this professorship — to be recognized by my peers as being worthy of the recognition,” Husson said in the release. “Of course, I’m really excited that it’s going to play a role in training students, particularly chemical engineering students at Clemson.”

Husson’s research group develops membranes that can be used for purification of biologic drugs, an area that he continues to advance. He and assistant professor Joe Scott, also of Clemson, are working to develop a new way of continuously manufacturing biologic drugs, instead of doing it one batch at a time, the release said.

Husson is developing new membrane materials, while Scott creates new computational algorithms that would make the new manufacturing process possible. Their research aims to increase productivity, while lowering capital and operating costs and making it possible to adjust production volume on demand, Husson said in the release.

The professorship contribution includes a $500,000 endowment that is expected to generate investment returns that can be spent in accordance with the professorship. The remaining $100,000 provides five years of funding while the returns are accumulating, according to the release.

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