Office of Research & Economic Development
Supporting research, scholarship and creative activity


Georgia Southern Professor featured on C-SPAN3


Eric Hall, Ph.D., of Georgia Southern University’s College of Liberal Arts and Social Sciences (CLASS) was featured nationally in C-SPAN3’s American History TV series. Hall’s lecture titled “A Native Son Comes Home: the Life and Legacy of Arthur Ashe” was aired on tape delay on C-SPAN3 on Sunday, Aug. 23, at 7 p.m.

The lecture, presented at the Virginia Historical Society in Richmond, Virginia, is part of the society’s Banner Lecture Series, which hosts authors and scholars to discuss their most recent work and research. Hall is an assistant professor in the Departments of History and Africana Studies and the author of the book Arthur Ashe: Tennis and Justice in the Civil Rights Era.

A World No. 1 professional tennis player, Arthur Ashe won three grand slam titles while becoming the first African-American tennis player to win singles titles at Wimbledon, the US Open, and the Australian Open, and was the first African-American player selected to the U.S, Davis Cup team. The lecture will explore Ashe’s early life in Virginia as well as his legacy as a public intellectual who was deeply committed to human and civil rights and fought against racism and injustice.

The College of Liberal Arts and Social Sciences, Georgia Southern’s College of the Creative Mind, offers nearly 20 undergraduate degrees, nine master’s degrees, two graduate certificates and one doctoral degree within its nearly 15 departments and five academic centers. CLASS prepares its students to achieve academic excellence, develop their analytical skills, enhance their creativity and embrace their responsibilities as citizens of their communities, nations and world.

Georgia Southern University, a public Carnegie Doctoral/Research University founded in 1906, offers more than 125 degree programs serving more than 20,500 students. Through eight colleges, the University offers bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degree programs built on more than a century of academic achievement. Georgia Southern is recognized for its student-centered and hands-on approach to education.

Herty Advanced Materials Center Launches Advanced Chemical Processing Unit


The Herty Advanced Materials Development Center (Herty), an applied research center of Georgia Southern University, today launched a new Advanced Chemical Processing (ACP) pilot facility.  This new pilot facility allows Herty to expand its research programs and client services to those companies seeking to develop and test new advanced materials required in today’s international and increasingly competitive markets.  Applications range from the development of active fibers for water filtration, nutraceuticals and the production of biomaterials for automotive and aerospace parts.

“We listened to our industrial partners and engineered this new pilot facility to meet their future needs for material and chemical processing,” said Dr. Alexander A. Koukoulas, President & CEO. “The scale and flexibility of this system is second to none and it integrates well with our extensive in-house capabilities. It provides our partners and clients with a unique platform for accelerating the pace of new product development in a number of growing industrial sectors, including biomaterials and discrete manufacturing.”

The new ACP at Herty allows the development, testing and production of a wide range of advanced specialty and high performance materials, like nanocrystalline cellulose – an exceptionally strong, low-cost, renewable composite material that has multiple applications in the automotive and aerospace industries. It also enables Herty to process a wide variety of materials from minerals to polymers for industrial, nutraceutical and pharmaceutical applications, as well as for pulp bleaching.

“Nanocellulose has the strength properties similar to those of Kevlar® and is considered to be one of the most promising renewable biomaterial for the type of advanced composites used in the automotive and aerospace industries,” said Dr. Omar F. Ali, Director BioProducts. “With our newly-designed facility and our expertise in processing this renewable material for multiple purposes, we are poised to help industry partners produce these advanced materials for a variety of current and next generation industrial needs.”

The versatility of the ACP pilot area will also go beyond nanocellulose, allowing Herty to process anything from minerals to polymers, and to modify those materials – turning the pedestrian into exciting. One such amazing transformation will be the production of bio-based polymers, such as lignin, which can be used to produce low-cost carbon fiber. Additionally, the ACP pilot area will allow Herty to provide more traditional chemical processes, such as pulp bleaching, as an integral part of its traditional pulp and paper services.

“We now have the ability to process raw biomass feedstocks, such as wood chips and agricultural residues, and process this material to isolate the fiber. We can then bleach the fiber and produce roll goods,” said Dr. Ali. “This means we can provide product developers with a unique one-stop-shop for processing natural fibers, making the process more efficient, cost-effective and streamlined for our partners,” said Dr. Ali.

Finally, the ACP area will be used to prepare advanced polymer systems that can be used in 3-D printing applications. 3-D printing is revolutionizing manufacturing because it enables on-demand production everything from electronic components and auto parts to living tissue. The ACP pilot facility, we will be able technology developers to produce master batch quantities of materials used in a range of 3-D printing platforms.

At the center of Herty’s ACP pilot facility is a versatile 500 L reactor, which can be used for continuous mixing, multi-component reactions, and continuous drying. All wetted parts are Hastelloy®, which allows the processing of corrosive materials, such as strong acids. The reactor system is fully instrumented, with data logging capabilities to monitor reaction conditions. Direct reactant injection and sampling is also available.

“More and more American industry is competing on razor thin differences – a lighter case or more break-resistant glass for a mobile phone, a lighter car body with an improved mpg, or lower-cost materials for manufacturing medicines,” said Dr. Walter Chappas, Director of Herty’s Advanced Materials Group.  “This new reactor system offers a powerful platform for giving US industry new and innovative materials, from plastics to specialized coatings.”

About Herty Advanced Materials Development Center

The Herty Advanced Materials Development Center, an applied research center of Georgia Southern University, is a world-class research, development, and demonstration facility. Herty is a new product and process accelerator providing technical, market, and development expertise in short-fiber composites, biomaterials, and biomass processing. Herty’s expertise and extensive pilot-scale capabilities for prototyping new products help companies de-risk the commercialization process. Visit:

About Georgia Southern University

Georgia Southern University, a public Carnegie Doctoral/Research University founded in 1906, offers more than 125-degree programs serving more than 20,500 students. Through eight colleges, the University offers bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degree programs built on more than a century of academic achievement. Georgia Southern is recognized for its student-centered and hands-on approach to education. Visit

Interested in working at Georgia Southern University?

Director, Research Svcs./Sponsored Programs

Position Summary: Research Services and Sponsored Programs. This position is responsible for the leadership of the Office of Research Services and Sponsored Programs. Reporting to the Vice President for Research and Economic Development, the Director leads the University’s sponsored programs administration and management, with the goal of actively and positively supporting the current and future research programs, scholarly activities, and creative endeavors of the faculty, staff, and others while at the same time assuring compliance with all relevant federal, state, University and sponsor policies and regulations. The Director also works in partnership with other University offices in support of the University’s mission to establish, maintain, and grow research partnerships with funding agencies/organizations (public and private), and businesses/corporations within the state and around the nation and world. Georgia Southern is a Tobacco Free Campus.


Minimum Requirements: Bachelor’s Degree; five or more years related work experience; effective communication (verbal and written), organization and human relations skills; ability to work well in a diverse environment; proficiency with computer and Microsoft Office Applications software including word processing, spreadsheets, and databases; successful completion of background investigation prior to employment.


Preferred Qualifications: Master’s Degree; seven or more years of experience in upper management/leadership of a sponsored grants and contracts office at a major university (specifically in pre-and post-award sponsored programs administration). Active affiliation with sponsored research professional organizations.

For more information on this position click here.

Georgia Southern graduate selected as Woodrow Wilson Teaching Fellow

MartinDaRon Martin (‘13), a Georgia Southern biology graduate from McDonough, Georgia, is among the first 36 recipients of the Woodrow Wilson Teaching Fellowship in Georgia.

The Fellowship is a highly competitive program which recruits both recent graduates and career-changers with strong backgrounds in science, technology, engineering and math — the STEM fields — and prepares them to teach in high-need secondary schools. As part of the program, Martin will receive $30,000 to complete a specially-designed master’s degree program based on a year-long classroom experience and in return, he will commit to teach for three years in the urban and rural schools in Georgia most in need of STEM teachers.

While Martin says that he is excited about his selection for this Fellowship, he admits that teaching wasn’t part of his original plan for his life. After working with a range of children in need, however, he said the opportunity seemed like a natural fit.

“I have done a lot of volunteer work in underserved, and high-need communities,” he said. “I’ve noticed that apart from systemic issues, many times the kids lack someone to motivate and encourage them. It’s amazing the difference that it makes in a kid’s life, when they know that there is someone in their corner pulling for them and telling them that they can be whatever they want to be.

“I had teachers and instructors to do that for me, and I in turn would like to do that for them.”

On Tuesday, June 23, Martin and the other fellows joined Georgia Gov. Nathan Deal and Fellowship officials in a special ceremony at the State Capitol in Atlanta. There, Deal underscored the importance of the program and the students it will send into the classroom.

“Our schools are our most strategic investment in the future,” said Deal. “I’m confident these educators share my belief that every child can learn and should have access to an education that prepares them for college, the workforce and beyond. The inaugural class of Georgia Teaching Fellows will gain the training necessary to serve as a lifeline for students to a high-quality education, and I’m grateful to the Woodrow Wilson National Fellowship Foundation for its investment in our state’s students.”

For Martin, too, it’s about investment, and he hopes his background will help him bring a variety of experiences into the classroom. In the meantime, he says he’s excited to learn to be a teacher. As for the future, Martin says he hopes to continue teaching beyond the classroom, not only trying to address students intellectual needs, but also to help them in their physical needs as well.

“Of course [I want] to become a successful teacher, but I am also interested preventative health care,” he said. “Things like exercise, nutrition, screenings etc. I would like to do some community work that sheds light and urges these things in urban communities.”

Georgia Southern professor brings national attention to dangerous new drug trend

A Georgia Southern professor is bringing national media attention to a dangerous new drug trend called “dabbing.”

Bryan Miller, Ph.D., associate professor of criminal justice and criminology, is the co-author of the recent article, “Assessing the Dangers of ‘Dabbing’: Mere Marijuana or Harmful New Trend?” which was recently featured in the magazine Pediatrics. He says the article is not only a way to educate the public about this disturbing trend, but also calls for extensive research since so little is known about its short-term and long-term effects.

“We’ve seen a lot of headlines calling it the ‘crack’ of marijuana,” he said. “I don’t know if that’s necessarily a fair characteristic. I think there are inherent dangers associated with it that need to be assessed more so than flower cannabis, but we need to better understand who’s using it, how they’re using it and how to reduce those kinds of harms with both manufacturing and consuming this new form of marijuana.”

According to the article, dabbing is essentially the inhalation of a concentrated form of tetrahydrocannabinol, more commonly known as THC, the psychoactive ingredient in marijuana. This concentrated substance is called butane hash oil (BHO), a gooey, amber-colored, highly potent substance that can reach THC concentrations of almost 80 percent.

In order to inhale one of these “dabs” of BHO, users procure a special kind of “male” water bong called an “oil rig” with a titanium rod called a “nail.” Using a blowtorch, they heat the nail to temperatures greater than 700 degrees, drop the dab on the nail and then inhale the dab as it instantly vaporizes. Miller says users have compared dabbing to smoking several marijuana cigarettes in one breath, and it’s almost impossible to say how much THC a user will inhale with each dab, depending on size, purity and concentration.

“Although there haven’t been cases of overdosing, people can faint, people can fall — all kinds of negative consequences associated with consuming that much THC that rapidly,” Miller said. “Plus, we don’t know about the short-term/long-term effects.”

In addition to the high THC levels consumed in dabbing, Miller says an even greater cause for concern is the home manufacturing of BHO, known as “blasting.” The process involves taking dried marijuana plants and placing them in a tube with butane to extract the THC.

Because butane is such a volatile substance, however, several states have reported blasting-related fires and explosions comparable to those of a meth lab. Initially, the states reporting these kinds of accidents were confined to medical and retail marijuana states like Washington, Colorado and California, where BHO fires killed more than 30 people in 2014. Now, however, similar fires are being reported in prohibition states such as North Carolina and most recently in Florida.

Miller also says he has anecdotal evidence to suggest that the trend has already made its way into Statesboro as well.

Since the article ran in the July issue, local media outlets throughout the nation as well as national media outlets such as NBC News have brought attention to dabbing and its dangers. And while the Georgia Southern professor feels some of the media attention has been sensational, he hopes it will garner the attention of the research community.

“There’s a lot of research to do on this,” he said. “We’ve started collecting some of the data available, but there’s a lot of research that needs to be done.”

Office of Vice President for Research and Economic Development • P.O. Box 8140, Statesboro, GA 30458 • (912) 478-8641 •