Joel J. Pawlak

Joel PawlakAssociate Professor
Phone: 919.513.0511
Fax: 919.515.6302
Office: 3207 Biltmore Hall
Web site:


Dr. Pawlak is a graduate of the College of Environmental Science and Forestry at Syracuse University. He joined North Carolina State University in 2001 as an Assistant Professor. In 2007, he was promoted to Associate Professor and currently manages an active research portfolio totaling ~$1 million. Dr. Pawlak has numerous scholarly publication and has received a number of awards for his research. He was named a Syracuse University Scholar in 1997 and awarded the Edwin C. Jahn and Renata Marton Fellowships.

In 2009, Dr. Pawlak took a scholarly leave to UNC Chapel Hill for a sabbatical in the Department of Biology. He has collaborated with numerous departments and universities. These activities have resulted in an interdisciplinary graduate program of study between the Forest Biomaterials and Microbiology departments at NC State University. Dr. Pawlak has served the University on numerous committees including: the Grievance Committee, the Evaluation of Teaching Committee, the Admissions Committee, and the University Budget Advisory Board. Dr. Pawlak is a member of the University Partnership Council and the Research Triangle Environmental Health Collaborative. He is a recognized expert in the field of paper physics and has served as a private consultant for more than 20 companies.

In addition to his active research program and university service, Dr. Pawlak instructs two undergraduate courses, and two graduate courses in the Department of Forest Biomaterials. He is also a recognized educator in the paper industry having instructed more 750 industrial professionals in continuing education workshops. Dr. Pawlak currently resides in Raleigh with his wife Leslie and three children.

Dr. Pawlak's research focuses on the material science and material engineering of multiphase materials. Current research interests include porous fibrous web structures, foams made from natural materials, natural super-absorbents, enzymatic manipulation of material structure, natural nano-scale fiber composites, and novel application of rheological phenomenon.

Recent Publications

  • Peresin, M. S., Vesterinen, A. H., Habibi, Y., Johansson, L. S., Pawlak, J. J., Nevzorov, A. A., & Rojas, O. J. (2014). Crosslinked PVA nanofibers reinforced with cellulose nanocrystals: Water interactions and thermomechanical properties. Journal of Applied Polymer Science, 131(11). [ Article ]
  • Ernest-Saunders, R., Pawlak, J. J., & Lee, J. M. (2014). Properties of surface acetylated microfibrillated cellulose relative to intra- and inter-fibril bonding. Cellulose, 21(3), 1541-1552. [ Article ]
  • Mathews, S. L., Pawlak, J. J., & Grunden, A. M. (2014). Isolation of Paenibacillus glucanolyticus from pulp mill sources with potential to deconstruct pulping waste. Bioresource Technology, 164, 100-105. [ Article ]
  • Ayoub, A., Venditti, R. A., Pawlak, J. J., & Massardier, V. (2013). Combined application of extrusion and irradiation technologies: A strategy oriented for green and cost-effective chemistry. BioResources, 8(1), 3-5. [ Editorial ]
  • Ayoub, A., Venditti, R. A., Pawlak, J. J., Sadeghifar, H., & Salam, A. (2013). Development of an acetylation reaction of switchgrass hemicellulose in ionic liquid without catalyst. Industrial Crops and Products, 44, 306-314. [ Article ]