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Associate Dean Kevin Edgar

Kevin Edgar
Dr. Kevin Edgar

Dr. Kevin Edgar joined the Graduate School as Associate Dean in August 2018.

He is a professor in the Department of Sustainable Biomaterials at Virginia Tech, and is adjunct in the Department of Chemistry. He is an active member of the Macromolecules Innovation Institute, with its internationally renowned Macromolecular Science and Engineering interdisciplinary graduate program, and has also been highly active in the Institute for Critical Technology and Applied Science, where he led the Biobased Materials Center, the Renewable Materials initiative, and now is a leader of the VT Center for Engineered Health. Edgar has also been active in the Fralin Life Science Institute, where he serves on the executive committee of the VT Center for Drug Discovery and Delivery. 

Edgar has been heavily involved in activities that serve the profession of chemistry, and especially polysaccharide science. He is an editor of the journal Carbohydrate Polymers, and an associate editor of the journal Cellulose. He is a long-time member of the American Chemical Society (ACS), having served as Chair of a local section (Northeast Tennessee), a division (Cellulose and Renewable Materials, CELL), and two committees (Divisional Activities, and Meetings and Expositions), and currently serves in ACS governance as a Councilor. Edgar was named one of the inaugural class of Fellows of the ACS, and was also named a fellow of the ACS CELL Division. He received the Anselme Payen award, its highest technical award, from CELL in 2016. His graduate students have received the Graduate Student first place award from CELL four times; this award is international in scope and only one first place award is given each year. 

Edgar was a founding organizer of the Gordon Conference on Polysaccharide Chemistry, which created an innovative approach of rotating the conference among sites in North America, Europe, and Asia every two years.

Edgar’s research interests include the synthesis of novel derivatives of natural, renewable, benign, diverse, abundant, and sustainable polysaccharide derivatives, based on the belief that their potential to replace unsustainable fossil-based materials is vast and largely untapped, as is their potential to create high performance materials that will serve society. He works to unravel their structure-property-performance relationships, and take advantage of their useful properties, for example in the creation of effective drug delivery systems to meet critical patient needs.  He also has interest in the synthesis, analysis, and utilization of polysaccharides and derivatives with controlled nanostructure.

Edgar is an Appalachian Trail 2000-miler, who these days mostly has time for walking the family hound Laika on short hikes in the beautiful surroundings of the New River Valley. He is the proud dad of Emma, who has just earned her nurse practitioner’s degree from the U. of Texas, and will be practicing in Austin. He and Marilyn live in Blacksburg, where they enjoy time with friends, the company of our students, and traveling around the area.

Edgar grew up in northern New Jersey, about 10 miles west of the George Washington Bridge, and later migrated a bit further west, and then south. Edgar spent the first 27 years of his scientific career at Eastman Chemical Company, focusing on polysaccharide synthesis and properties, and drug delivery, and is in his twelfth year at VT. Edgar received his bachelor's degree in Chemistry from Bucknell University, and his Ph.D. in Organic Chemistry from Duke University. He has published more than 100 papers in peer-reviewed journals, and has been awarded more than 20 US patents.

He can be reached via email at