Doctoral student Daiqiang Xu of Beijing, China, received the 2012 Eastman Graduate Student Award from the Cellulose and Renewable Materials Division (CELL) of the American Chemical Society. Xu, a chemistry major who is co-advised by Professor Kevin Edgar of the college’s Department of Sustainable Biomaterials and Professor Richard Turner of the College of Science’s Department of Chemistry, was chosen from an international group of nominees based on his outstanding graduate work.

Xu studies the complex chemical structures of new materials made from renewable cellulose, a major component of plants and trees. Such materials have great promise for fields as diverse as flat screen televisions and drug delivery formulations, as well as generating fundamental knowledge that will enable the design of superior cellulosic materials for a broad variety of applications.

“Daiqiang has made very significant advances in the design of materials based on renewable polysaccharides, thanks not only to his outstanding work ethic but also to his keen powers of observation — not dismissing the unexpected result but instead learning from it, and taking advantage of it to create important new science,” Edgar remarked.

The highly competitive Eastman award, which is given to one graduate student each year, provides a cash award and travel support to attend and speak at the society’s national meeting. Xu made an oral presentation to a large group of leaders in polysaccharide chemistry at the highly attended awards session of the society’s CELL program at this year’s meeting in San Diego in March. “It is a great honor for me to win this award,” said Xu.