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UT Economist Wins Arrow Award for Research on Tuskegee Syphilis Study

Marianne Wanamaker, an associate professor of economics in the Haslam College of Business, has been named a co-recipient of the International Health Economics Association’s Arrow Award for research showing the Tuskegee syphilis study decreased the overall life expectancy of black men.

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Jamie Coble has been named the Tickle College of Engineering’s first Southern Company Faculty Fellow in recognition of her work as an assistant professor of nuclear engineering.

“I’m honored and grateful to have been selected for this recognition and to be associated with Southern Company, given it operates and is expanding its nuclear power operations,” Coble said. “This will enable me to focus even more on the issues surrounding the safety, sustainability, and economic competitiveness of nuclear power as a key carbon-free energy source.”

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Tony Bova and business partner Jeff Beegle pose for photos in Oak Ridge Friday, July 15, 2016. Bova and Beegle founded Grow Bioplastics, a company specializing in biodegradable plastic sheets used in landscaping and agriculture. (Adam Brimer / University of Tennessee)

Tony Bova and business partner Jeff Beegle pose for photos in Oak Ridge Friday, July 15, 2016. Bova and Beegle founded Grow Bioplastics, a company specializing in biodegradable plastic sheets used in landscaping and agriculture. (Adam Brimer / University of Tennessee)

Grow Bioplastics, a student startup, has received a $225,000 National Science Foundation (NSF) Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) grant. The award will fund research and development work on lignin-biomass-based biodegradable plastics for agricultural applications, specifically plastic mulches.

Grow Bioplastics’ team, led by co-founders Tony Bova and Jeff Beegle, will use the SBIR funding to create new biodegradable plastics from lignin, a waste product of the paper and biofuel industries. Bova is an energy science and engineering PhD candidate in UT’s Bredesen Center for Interdisciplinary Research and Graduate Education. Beegle, a recent graduate with a master’s degree in microbiology, also completed his studies in the Bredesen Center.

The company’s biodegradable product offers an alternative to plastic mulch films used by farmers nationwide. Current nondegradable plastics must be removed at the end of each growing season and cannot be recycled. Grow Bioplastics’ biodegradable film can be plowed into the soil after each use, offering a solution to the additional labor costs and environmental impact of current films.

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erin.chapin@utk.edu).

  • Two members of the AgResearch leadership team were recently honored at the annual Research Center Administrators Society (RCAS) meeting in Mobile, Alabama. Barry Sims, associate director of UT AgResearch, was recognized for completing his term as president of RCAS. Walt Hitch, center director for the Plateau AgResearch and Education Center, received the Distinguished Service Aweard, given annually to one member who has made outstanding contributions to the society over an extended period of time.

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