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Renowned chemist receives TWU’s 2017 Chancellor’s Alumni Excellence Award

Texas Woman’s University alumna and internationally recognized starch chemistry expert Jay-lin Jane, Ph.D., is the 2017 recipient of the TWU Chancellor’s Alumni Excellence Award. Jane is being honored for her distinguished career in starch research and its food and industrial applications.

Jane developed a digestion-resistant starch that may aid in colon cancer and diabetes research, a TWU press release stated. She led efforts to significantly improve the efficiency and yield of ethanol production from raw starch, and also pioneered methods to make molded bio-renewable plastics from proteins in soybeans, corn and chicken feathers.

Established in 2011, the Chancellor’s Alumni Excellence Award recognizes TWU graduates for exceptional accomplishment in a career field and/or public service. In addition, recipients have had national and/or international involvement and recognition.

Selection for the annual award is determined by a representative committee of university faculty, administrators, alumni and students.

Recipients are honored permanently on a recognition wall in the foyer of Hubbard Hall on the TWU Denton campus. Honorees for this award are invited to the TWU campus location where their degree was awarded to share their expertise and experiences with faculty and students. Jane will give her presentation at TWU on Friday.

Throughout her career, Jane has mentored students seeking careers in research. Outside the academic arena, she served on the board of the Chinese Culture Center of America, an organization that strives to improve cultural relationships between the United States and Pacific-Rim Asia.

“Dr. Jane stands as a shining example the high caliber of our alumnae, and it is my honor to recognize her accomplishments in chemistry and food science,” stated Carine Feyten, Ph.D., TWU chancellor and president, in the release.“A large part of TWU’s mission is to cultivate leaders, and we believe the inclusion of diverse thinkers in grappling with challenging questions is key to discovering innovative solutions. Dr. Jane’s career suggests ‘mission accomplished’ and supports our embrace of diversity.”

Jane received her master’s degree in organic chemistry from TWU in 1978, her bachelor’s degree in food science and technology from the National Chung-Hsing University in Taichung, Taiwan, and her doctorate in biochemistry from Iowa State University in 1984.

In 1987, Jane joined the Iowa State University faculty and served as the Charles F. Curtis Distinguished Professor in Agriculture and Life Science from 2011 until her retirement in 2016. She also was a visiting professor at the College of Light Industry and Food Science at the South China University of Technology in Guangzhou, China, from 2012 to 2015.

“As a student at TWU, I was given an opportunity to conduct research on using chemical modifications of starch,” Jane stated in the press release. “My professors guided me and encouraged me to explore this interest further. I’ve always been proud of my degree from TWU.  I received an excellent education in organic chemistry from this university, which set a solid foundation for me to continue my career in the field of starch research.”

During her professional career, Jane served on the executive committee of the American Chemical Society’s Carbohydrate Division and as secretary and treasurer of the Biodegradable Polymer Society of America. She received the Alsberg-French-Schoch Award from the American Association of Cereal Chemist, which is considered the top award in starch chemistry.

Funding for the Chancellor’s Alumni Excellence Award is provided by Ann Stuart, Ph.D., TWU chancellor and president emerita. Stuart came to TWU in 1999 as the 10th president for the University. She retired in 2014 as chancellor and president, having brought significant changes to the University. In retirement, she supports a number of interests, including TWU scholarships, other TWU interests, the arts, nature, wildlife, food and shelter for the less fortunate and animal rescue and care.

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