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Velander receives professorship

By Lynn Nystrom

Spectrum Volume 20 Issue 15 - December 11, 1997

William Velander, professor of chemical engineering, has received Virginia Tech's W. Martin Johnson Professorship, established in 1983 through the generous gift of the late W. Martin Johnson of Lynchburg. Much of Velander's work has been licensed for commercialization, with support from the American Red Cross.
Velander is the coordinating scientist for the transgenic livestock research group at Virginia Tech. His laboratory specializes in the biosynthesis of proteinacious pharmaceuticals. Velander is also a recognized leader in research concerning affinity technology used in purification of pharmaceuticals.
A biochemical engineer with industrial experience at Merck, Sharpe and Dohme, Velander has served as the principal investigator for more than $2 million in research in the development of recombinant human proteins produced in the milk of transgenic livestock. He has collaborated with scientists at the American Red Cross and Virginia Tech's animal and poultry sciences department, and dairy science department. The resulting research has produced human anti-hemophiliac Factors Type A and Type B, and fibrinogen used for surgical glue and site-specific drug delivery. The commercial development of these important therapeutics is expected to begin in 1998 with clinical trials in the next five years. These technologies were licensed to the American Red Cross.
He is the co-author of two U.S. patents: one concerning gene transfer and the second on a purification matrix developed specifically for the production of protein therapeutics. Seven additional technologies for the production of pharmaceutical proteins from mixtures such as plasma or transgenic animals have been derived from Velander's work. They have all been licensed for commercialization and are in the patent-application stage.
CNN's Future Watch, the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, the London Daily Telegraph, and a host of other publications have featured Velander's work on transgenic animals. He was also a featured speaker at the national Council for the Advancement of Science Writing meeting where reporters learn about the latest developments in science and technology.
Engineering Dean F. William Stephenson, concurring with the recommendations of the Department of Chemical Engineering Honorifics Committee and the College of Engineering Honorifics Committee, nominated Velander for the W. Martin Johnson Professor of Engineering. The professorship recognizes an outstanding faculty member in the College of Engineering with no restrictions as to department affiliation.