By Megan Lutz, College of Agriculture and Life Sciences Communications Service
Hui Wang received the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences Professional and Scientific Research Award for his work as the pilot plant manager at the Iowa State University Center for Crops Utilization Research.
"I grew up in the countryside, so I realize the importance of crop and food production," Wang said. "Without the food and the land, we would not have civilization."
The center is responsible for finding new applications and technologies for corn and soybean use. To accomplish that the center's research is focused on ways to convert crops into food and feed ingredients, biofuels, industrial chemicals and biomaterials.
Wang works towards that goal by helping clients from the university and industry test ideas on a smaller scale at the pilot plant.
"It can be intense because everyone wants to get the project done soon in a short amount of time," Wang said. "I may not know what kind of technical challenge I will face in the next project, but I know it will be exciting and rewarding."
To get the job done and to do it right, Wang stresses the importance of a can-do attitude and teamwork.
"It is a team effort. Without the support from my supervisor, coworkers and collaborators I couldn't achieve what I have done today," Wang said. "I feel extremely fortunate to work with them."
Wang stresses the balance between the big picture and the details in each treatment. He believes the work is valuable because research and innovation can improve the world.
"Most projects are like small startups of a new process. They are designed to make new samples, test technical feasibility or scale-up investigation with the potential of commercialization and job creation," Wang said. "It can be challenging, but you are never bored."
Wang's work is focused on developing practical and novel technologies to extract high value ingredients from agricultural commodities.
"I'm always excited about new value-added processing of major crops such as corn and soybeans," Wang said. "This can be done through improving efficiency, reducing waste or developing new ingredients or applications."
Wang, who is originally from China, came to Iowa State because of his interest in soybean and grain processing and to receive a doctorate degree. He received his Ph.D. in food science and technology from Iowa State in 2007. Before that he earned his bachelor's degree from Ocean University of Qingdao, China in 1993 and his masters in food science and technology from Tianjin Institute of Light Industry, China in 1996.
Iowa State University College of Agriculture and Life Sciences will present awards to faculty and staff on March 8 at its Spring-Semester Convocation and Awards Program in the Memorial Union.
March 1, 2018