Barnes, Chambers win MSU's coveted Powe research award


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Posted: 4/1/2005


Two internationally recognized Mississippi State scholars--one in forest products and the other in environmental health sciences--are co-winners of the university's 2005 Ralph E. Powe Research Excellence Award.

Forestry products professor H. Michael Barnes and environmental health sciences professor Janice E. Chambers share this year's honor, which recognizes faculty researchers making significant contributions to the economic welfare or cultural growth of the university, state and nation.

"We had such outstanding nominations for the award this year, it was almost impossible to pick one as the best," MSU President Charles Lee said in announcing the selections at the annual research awards banquet earlier this week. "Two stood out from the rest, so this year we have two Powe award winners."

Given each spring semester, the Powe award is a memorial to Mississippi State's research vice president who died in 1996.

Current research vice president Colin Scanes and Vance Watson, vice president for agriculture, forestry and veterinary medicine, presided over the presentation of more than 30 other awards to faculty, staff and students during the Hunter Henry Center event.

A member of the MSU faculty since 1971, Barnes is a professor in the Forest Products Laboratory, Forest and Wildlife Research Center, and College of Forest Resources' forestry department. He holds bachelor's and master's degrees from Louisiana State University, and a doctorate from the State University of New York College of Environmental Science and Forestry.

"Mike has consistently demonstrated involvement in teaching, research and service," said nominator Liam E. Leightley. "These activities have been recognized within the state, and at the national and international levels."

Leightley, who is both department head and Institute of Furniture Manufacturing and Management director, said Barnes has provided leadership in embracing new classroom technology and is widely published in his field. He noted that the Long Beach, Calif., native has completed investigative research on the use of vapor treatments of wood to provide dimensional stabilization and prevent decay and insect attack, particularly engineered wood products.

An MSU faculty member since 1980, Chambers is the William L. Giles Distinguished Professor and director of the Center for Environmental Health Sciences in the College of Veterinary Medicine's basic sciences department. The Oakland, Calif., native holds a bachelor's degree in biology from the University of San Francisco and a doctorate in animal physiology from Mississippi State.

Nominator A. Jerald Ainsworth, associate dean for research and graduate studies, said Chambers has "contributed immensely to the university and developed an international reputation" during her MSU tenure. She also "has been able to collaborate with scientists in disciplines very different from hers and build multi-disciplinary teams that tackle complex and sophisticated problems," he added.

A recipient of numerous local, regional and national awards, Chambers later this year will be the first woman ever awarded the American Chemical Society International Award for Research in Agrochemicals, Ainsworth said.

Other 2005 faculty, staff and student research awards included:


Professor R. Daniel Seale, forest products; research associate Michael G. Sanders; graduate student Jennifer Kross of Starkville; and senior Jared B. Eldridge of McComb.

Forest Products