USM professor named Chemist of the Year

J. Paige Buchanan
J. Paige Buchanan

The Mississippi chapter of the American Chemical Society named J. Paige Buchanan Chemist of the Year.

Buchanan arrived at The University of Southern Mississippi in 2006 and has filed several patents and received a contract with the U.S. Department of Homeland Security. Her research involves working with unique particles with useful traits that don’t usually work well when put into different materials.

“The center of our work is the nano to macro theme,” Buchanan said. “It’s designing these really neat particles and then get them into a structure to do something fantastic.”

An example of her research is taking a particle that prevents biological material from gathering on a surface and making it work within a ship coating. The goal is to increase the function.

Buchanan said the military has taken interest in this particular research because they want all their tools and materials to be multi-functional.

Her other research includes thermal resistant face paint, materials that can maintain a solar charge and having a material that can check for more diseases when testing blood.

“Our demands are such that we don’t want a table to be a table, we want a table that folds down and fits in our pocket,” Buchanan said.

She has issued eight patents and has brought $2.6 million to USM through research grants, Tara Burchman said in her Southern Miss Now article.

“She has been very active in the organization, and very visible,” said Robert Bateman, professor of biochemistry at William Carey University. “In addition to having a very strong research program and being a really good mentor to students. Especially undergraduate students.”

Bateman explained the award typically celebrates involvement in the field, the community and in the classroom as much as it does research. The winner is nominated by committee and gets a small monetary award.
“It’s a broad-base type thing, it’s not just a research award,” Bateman said. Bateman won Chemist of the Year while he was at Southern Miss in 2010. He worked on chemicals that could easily detect spoilage in products like tuna during shipping.

“I’m very flattered and honored to win the award,” Buchanan said. “It’s been a particularly good couple of years, and I think that drew attention.”

For more information about Buchanan’s research, visit To find out more about the American Chemical Society in Mississippi visit