The Institute for Advanced Learning and Research has hired materials scientist Maria Baboi, Ph.D. as Director of the Dan River Polymers and Composites Center on the Institute's campus in Danville.
Baboi will lead research in plastics, especially biodegradable and biorenewable plastics.
Unlike most plastics that involve carbon obtained from fossil fuels, these sustainable materials are formed from feedstock such as plants and trees that can be harvested in the Southern Virginia region.
This research and development will create a basis for collaboration with private manufacturers engaged in the manufacture of renewable plastics.
Baboi is a native of Romania and earned her Bachelor of Science in Materials Science and Engineering from Polytehnica Institute of Bucharest.
She came to the United States in 2001 and earned her Master's in Materials Science and Engineering with an emphasis in biodegradable plastics from Iowa State University, where she earned her doctorate in Ultrasonic Welding of Aluminum Alloys.
Baboi's doctoral work was in cooperation with the Branson Corporation
of Danbury, CT as part of a National Institute of Standards
and Technology project sponsored by Ford
Baboi has also conducted post-doctoral research and taught at Iowa State, and consulted for Soy Works, a maker of biodegradable plastics based in Illinois.