J. Vincent Edwards is recognised with the AATCC Olney Medal Award for his substantial work in the design and implementation of cotton for acute and chronic wound care.
Edwards graduated Summa cum Laude with a BA in chemistry from the University of Louisville in 1976 and a PhD in Bio-Organic Chemistry in 1984. After graduating, he went to work with the Southern Regional Research Center (SRRC), United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) as a research chemist, researching the structure and synthesis of proteins and peptides. In 1987, he joined Merrell Dow Pharmaceuticals as a senior associate scientist. In 1994, he joined GeneMedicine Inc. as a senior scientist and in 1997, Edwards went back to the SRRC-USDA as a Research Chemist, Lead Scientist.
For almost 25 years, Edwards’ research in the areas of cotton, hygiene, and wound healing has led to significant understanding and treatment of infection and pain caused by chronic wounds. Research that he began in 1997 led to the development of a protease-inhibitor, cotton-based wound dressing that served as a model in wound dressing development. At the centre of the pathology is human neutrophil elastase (HNE), which is perhaps the most destructive protease in the body.
Edwards was able to develop controlled release protease inhibitors useful as a treatment modality for chronic wounds. He was the first to demonstrate the kinetic profile, dose response, and fiber release properties of an HNE fiber-inhibitor dressing formulation applied to human chronic wound fluid. He led a team of wound healing scientists and physicians to evaluate elastase inhibition of the modified wound dressings. His findings would assist the more than 5 million people who suffer from chronic wounds. The first paper he wrote on this research was the main subject of discussion at a Gordon Conference on Tissue Repair & Regeneration in June 1999 and played a role in wound care companies developing protease sequestrant dressings.
Edwards has published 78 peer-reviewed papers, and over 30 additional papers, proceedings, and presentations. He has edited two books and five book chapters. Edwards and his co-workers have been issued nine US patents.
Professional Organisation Affiliations
Edwards has been a very active member of the American Chemical Society, Cellulose and Renewable Materials Division, where he served as chair from 2007 through 2008. He served as program chair from 2005 through 2006, awards chair from 1999 through 2004, and nominations chair in 2013. He also served on the poster committee of the Wound Healing Society in 2003 and 2013.
Honours & Recognition
Edwards was recognized by the SRRC with the Early Career Scientist Award in 1986 and the Outstanding Contributor to EEO in 1987. Also, in 1987, he was awarded a fellowship by the Office of Economic and Cooperative Development, Department of Organic Chemistry, Stockholm University, Stockholm, Sweden to perform glycopeptide research. In 1990, he was recognized with the Marion Merrill Dow Inc. Bicentennial Inventor Award.
Edwards received the Employee of the Year Award for Technology Transfer Adoption, from the SRRC in 2001, 2005, and 2014 and the Excellent Paper Award for “Performance of Bioactive Molecules on Cotton and Other Textiles” in 2006.
He was recognised as Outstanding Scientist at the SRRC in 2008 and Division Fellow of Cellulose and Renewable Materials Division from the American Chemical Society (ACS) in 2013. He received the SRRC Mid-South Technology Transfer Award for “The Development of Greige Cotton Nonwoven Fabrics for Disposable Diapers” in 2014, and the Federal Laboratory Consortium Southeast Region, Excellence in Technology Transfer Award for “Greige Cotton Nonwoven Fabrics for Disposable Diapers” also in 2014.
Edwards received the SRRC award for National Technology Transfer for “Cotton Battlefield Dressing Technology” in 2019. Edwards was recognised with the 2020 Secretary Honour Award given by Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue. Along with this award, he also earned a place in the President’s Gears of Government Hall of Winners, USDA, for developing “a nonwoven cotton gauze that is 33% lighter and 63% more absorbent than standard gauzes made of bleached processed cotton. Edward’s product also triggers blood clotting more quickly, sheds fewer fibers, and releases small amounts of hydrogen peroxide to help mobilize wound-healing cells at the injury site.”
The Olney Medal
Established in 1944 in honour of Louis Atwell Olney, the founder and first president of AATCC, the Olney Medal recognizes outstanding achievement in textile or polymer chemistry or other fields of chemistry of major importance to textile science. The award consists of a gold medal, a scroll, and an honorarium.
Presentation of the medal each year is a highlight of AATCC’s annual conference. This year, the conference, the AATCC Textile Discovery Summit, will be held at the Sheraton Imperial Hotel Raleigh-Durham Airport at Research Triangle Park, NC, USA, from November 16-18, 2021. The Association will present the Olney Medal at the Awards Luncheon on November 18, 2021.
Edwards will deliver the traditional Olney Medal Address on November 18 at 8:15 a.m.
The title of his talk is “Bioactive Design in a Sensor Driven World: A Case for Cotton.”