PENRA Receives the CFAES Distinguished Interdisciplinary Team Research Award

April 3, 2023
The PENRA Team wins CFAES Award!

Congratulations to the Program of Excellence in Natural Rubber Alternatives (PENRA) on receiving the 2022-2023 CFAES Distinguished Interdisciplinary Team Research Award!

PENRA was formed to "integrate and accelerate the incubation, demonstration, market entry, and growth of a domestic natural rubber industry. Natural rubber is an agricultural material critical to all sectors of our economy and defense, but we import all that we need - produced from clonal rubber trees grown mostly in Southeast Asia. The COVID-19 pandemic highlighted the fragility of this extended natural rubber supply chain. PENRA focuses on the creation of the science, technology, and private partnerships needed to support the introduction and scale-up of natural rubber alternatives." - Excerpt from PENRA's Bio 

The team has representation from a wide variety of departments within The Ohio State University (from Horticulture & Crop Science to Food, Agricultural, and Biological Engineering) as well as consortium members. PENRA's core team is Katrina CornishJohnathan Fresnedo RamirezJudit PuskasFrederick Michel Jr., Ajay ShahJoshua BlakesleeAlfred Soboyejo and Osler Ortez

Dr. Katrina Cornish shared some insight into the PENRA Team & their efforts: 

What motivates you to be part of PENRA?

Dr. Cornish: Natural rubber is a critical raw material for all sectors of our economy and defense and we need to secure supplies with US production. The tropical rubber tree industry could collapse at any time, and we must have biological and geographical diversity in rubber supplies before that happens.  

What were your feelings on PENRA receiving this award? 

Dr. Cornish: I was truly delighted and very happy for the PENRA team to be recognized for all their hard work. 

What is the current focus of PENRA's research trials?

Dr. Cornish: Improving the sustainability and commercial viability of domestic rubber initially at a small scale: development of crops, production systems, development of premium high margin small volume products.

Learn more about all the 2023 CFAES Award Winners!