Patent no longer pending

Robert Ashurst and Virginia Davis

Robert Ashurst, the Uthlaut Family Associate Professor of chemical engineering, and Virginia Davis, Alumni Professor of chemical engineering, were awarded a patent for their research on “Microdevices and methods of manufacture.”

Clemson University associate professor Chris Kitchens, a 2004 chemical engineering graduate from Auburn, is a co-inventor.

Their work focuses on making microelectromechanical systems from cellulose nanocrystals extracted from waste forest products and agricultural biomass. This sensing technology is promising for a wide range of applications, including disease detection, food safety, water monitoring and homeland security.

The patent is the fifth for both Ashurst and Davis. Initially funded by the National Science Foundation, the project received additional funding for commercialization efforts from Auburn University’s LAUNCH Fund for Research and Innovation. LAUNCH is an endowed fund conceived by the Auburn University Research Advisory Board as a mechanism to bridge the gap between innovative research and the marketplace.

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