Forest Products Development Center School of Forestry & Wildlife Sciences

Dr. Brian Via is Regions Bank Professor and Director of the Forest Products Development Center (FPDC) since 2012. This Center is the hub for economic development and research in the area of biomaterials and forest products. Dr. Via earned his B.S. in Forest Products and his M.S. in Wood Mechanics at Virginia Tech.  He obtained his Ph.D. in Forest Biomaterial Chemometrics at Louisiana State University within the Agricultural and Mechanical College.  Dr. Via has 22 years of industry engagement and experience, including 14 years working for 3 Corporations across an entire supply chain; including, Louisiana Pacific (R&D), International Paper (R&D), and K-Mart.

Economic Development & Outreach: Currently, the FPDC serves the 2nd largest industry in the state in various critical areas of business engagement such as philanthropy, intellectual property, corporate partnerships & research, specialized equipment and talent.  The Center and Director fields most products questions from across the state.  The Center has created an advisory board of industry and government stakeholders.  The Center is able to utilize this Advisory Board to obtain input about research directions and also to deliver key findings that are industrially relevant.  The advisory board also provides input about career talent needs from both the undergraduate and graduate level in the areas of research, internships, and talent transition.

Education: Dr. Via has worked closely with the Deans, faculty, and industrial stakeholders to create a first of a kind undergraduate curriculum called Sustainable Biomaterials and Packaging.  This curriculum is unique in that it has collaborators from the College of Engineering, College of Architecture, College of Business, College of Agriculture, and will be housed in the School of Forestry & Wildlife Sciences. Dr. Via has also worked closely with development and industry to create unique research and educational products.

Research: Dr. Via’s research area is two-fold: a) chemometric modeling of biomaterials, forest or plant tissue for chemistry and quality b) development of sustainable adhesives, fillers, substitutes for wood composites.  To achieve these two goals, Dr. Via & the FPDC plug into a pipeline across campus.  For example, the School of Forestry and Wildlife provides forests that are managed to impact product quality.  Biosystems Engineering  further process this wood or other plant tissue into chemical feedstocks for adhesives.  Chemical Engineering then takes these chemical feedstocks to develop sustainable adhesives and polymers.  Finally our Center develops and incorporates nanocellulose and these sustainable adhesives into the wood composite.

Last modified: November 17, 2020