WBU school receives final patent approval

January 12, 2011

PLAINVIEW – After originally submitting research for patent consideration in 2008, the Wayland Baptist University School of Math and Sciences received final patent approval on Dec. 28, 2010, for research conducted in photo-catalytic water purification. It is the first patent for Wayland.

              The patented process was a result of student summer research projects in the WBU chemistry department under the direction of Dr. Joel Boyd. Research on the project began with students Philip Carlson and Lori Pretzer. Carlson is currently in a Ph.D. program at Iowa State University, and Pretzer is working on her Ph.D. at Rice. Last summer, Boyd accepted a teaching position at Gordon College in Massachusetts. While many of the principals in the project have moved on, the research and future applications remain with Wayland.

              Carlson and Pretzer started the research several years ago and students continued to build on their findings until a simple method for adhering titanium dioxide to acrylic material for the purpose of removing pollutants from water was developed. The adhesive process is covered by the patent.

              “We are very proud of the patent,” said Dr. Herbert Grover, Dean of the School of Math and Sciences. “This patent establishes credibility for our research programs in chemistry.”

              The research project began prior to Grover’s arrival at Wayland in 2008. He has seen the research develop, however, and is pleased with the continued progress of the school’s research projects.

              “This is just part of the ongoing research at Wayland,” Grover said. “We are continuing to look at and develop other technologies that can be used in the mission field.”

              Dr. Bobby Hall, Executive Vice President and Provost for the university, said it is the ongoing hope of the faculty and administration that the research can be developed into a product that will be used to bring clean drinking water to many populated areas where clean water is currently unavailable. Hall said the school is looking at various avenues whether it is by selling the patent or teaming with other organizations to develop simple methods of water purification. For the school itself, however, Hall echoed Grover’s sentiments that the patent validates Wayland’s commitment to higher education.

              “Wayland seeks to distinguish itself by presenting excellent opportunities for its students,” Hall said. “This type of research, a truly collaborative effort between faculty and students where the students actually do the research themselves and have active involvement in pursuing the patent and seeing it come to fruition … I think this is a shining example of the difference Wayland offers its students.”

              The School of Math and Sciences is also currently involved in other research projects including the effects of plant extracts on cancer cells, wind energy and computative clusters.

              For more information on Wayland’s research projects, contact Dr. Grover at 806-291-1118.