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Professor Dr Nami Kartal


Roots

I was born on April 18, 1969 in Düzce, Turkey. So, I am the same age as IRG-WP, proudly. My hometown is a rather small city located exactly between Istanbul, the largest city and Ankara, the capital city. My early childhood there was a typical middle class environment circa the 1970's. My dad worked as a merchant and my mom was a stay at home mother. I had a happy, normal childhood with my two brothers. Starting from elementary school to senior high school, I always graduated with honors; however, I received my first major award when I graduated from university with the highest GPA in whole university (Istanbul University) in the year 1990. The same year, President of The Grand National Assembly of Turkey (TBMM) and President of Turkey invited me to a very formal gathering at the assembly and had a unique chance to meet them and to shake their hands over my successful graduation from the university. Then my entire world began to unravel.

I think, I have known in my heart since I was a little boy what I wanted to do and to be when I grew up. It was not a stereotypical child’s dream such as a doctor or a policeman; my vision was instead different. Due to some Japanese TV series and movies I watched in my childhood, I wanted to visit Japan, and learn the unique culture and history of Japan desperately. Many years later, I found a chance to be in this country eventually as a scientist.

Career

My career plans were then to become a scientist/researcher to complete a master in wood science and technology and continue on toward a Ph.D. After graduating from Forest Industrial Engineering at Istanbul University with honors in 1990, I earned my Ph.D. degree in 1999 at the same university on the area of wood protection. In the middle of my Ph.D. adventure, I went to Bournemouth, the UK to attend a language school and to obtain TOEFL degree there. I met a wonderful family in Bournemouth and made a number of foreign friends from all over the world. That’s a perfect experience to me since my stay in the UK broadened my vision.

To pursue my dreams, I decided to continue my career outside Turkey and I realized that the best way for this was to study at universities or research institutions as a post-doc.  Finally I found a great chance in the US and met gorgeous people at USDA Forest Products Lab (FPL), Madison, WI, USA where I worked between 1999 and 2001. Spending wonderful and very fruitful years there, my long-time dream came true finally and I visited Japan in 2001 for the first time when IRG-WP meeting was held in Nara. A year later, I got a scholarship from Japanese Government and I studied at Kyoto University, Japan between 2002 and 2004 as a post-doc. Since then I have made Japan my second home country by making countless visits to this great country. It is my great honor and privilege to meet and study with distinguished scientists during my years in the US and Japan over the years. I am indebted to all for their endless and kind support in my post-doc years since most of my happiest memories come from my time in the post-doc years in the US and Japan.
Since then, I have also found many unique chances to study at various research laboratories and universities worldwide as a visiting scientist such as two times Thünen Institute (previously BFH) Hamburg, Germany; Beijing Forestry University, China; Aalto University, Dept of Forest Products Technology, Finland; Virginia Polytechnic and State University (Virginia Tech), Department of Sustainable Biomaterials, Blacksburg, VA, USA and several times at RISH, Kyoto University, Kyoto, Japan and USDA Forest Products Laboratory (FPL), Madison, WI, USA. Once again, I have met very well known scientists at those research institutions and universities and had unique chances to work and publish papers with them.


I have also earned various awards, honors and scholarships during my education and academic career such as Faculty and University Honors - 1990, Istanbul University; Post-Doctoral Fellowship, USDA Forest Products Laboratory Madison, WI, USA; Ron Cockroft Award (RCA) IRG-WP; Post-Doctoral Fellowship – JSPS (Japan Society for the Promotion of Science), Kyoto University, Japan; IRG-WP Travel Award for Short-term Scientific Missions, IRG-WP; The Turkish Academy of Sciences Award, Turkey; Popular Science Award, Turkey; 3 Fellowships from Kyoto University under Visiting Scientist Program and TÜBİTAK-Post Doc Fellowship, Turkey; and Elected Fellow, The International Academy of Wood Science (IAWS). Most recently, I have got a fellowship from JSPS again under Invitation Program to study at Kyoto University in Sept 2017 for 2 months. It has been a great honor to receive such recognition in the field of wood science and technology. I could not have reached such heights of achievement without the gracious recognition of so many wonderful associations.

I was previously in a position of Vice Chair to the Division of Forest Industrial Engineering, Forestry Faculty, Istanbul University for two years and then I also chaired the division for the following three years. Currently I am Head of Department of Forest Biology & Wood Protection Technology, Forestry Faculty, Istanbul University. I am also currently responsible person at the division as an ERASMUS Coordinator. Inside IRG-WP, I previously served as a Chairman of Section 4 (Processes and Properties) and Scientific Program Committee Member.

My research areas diverse and include protection and preservation of solid wood and wood-based materials against degradation, environmental impact of treated wood usage, modification of wood by chemical and thermal treatments and application of nano-technologies in wood protection. My studies at Kyoto University were mostly based on consultative projects from various Japanese companies from the industry developing new wood-protecting chemicals and their biological lab and field tests. Most of my research studies are currently based on collaborative projects with a number of university/institute and industrial corporations. I have long worked on boron based wood preservatives to limit boron leachability from wood to use such compounds in outdoor applications. Considering fixation of boron, my colleagues and I have attempted various fixation trials and developed some methods. Most recently, we have been working on to enhance several boron minerals in wood plastic composites to increase biological and fire performance. Besides all these, in a collaboration study, we have been developing new strategies to test wood plastic composites in terms of fungal resistance giving a special interest in moisture content of such materials. Additionally, my team has been studying to develop new boron rods from various different materials for remedial treatments. Remediation of treated wood by biological and chemical methods is one of my principal achievements and recently we have been dealing with remediation of nano-copper treated wood in comparison with water-soluble metals.

I have been teaching at both graduate and undergraduate levels at Istanbul University giving various courses such as Wood Protection Technology, Wood Destroying Pests, Remedial Treatments in Wood Structures, Standards and Standard Test Methods in Wood Preservation, Specialty Treatments in Wood Preservation, Environmental Pollution and Recycling Issues in Wood Preservation, Fundamentals of Scientific Research and Nano-technological Applications for Lignocellulosic Materials and Wood-based Composites.
I have been enjoying scientific collaboration and unique friendships with distinguished IRG-WP members. I have been attending IRG-WP meetings since 2000 held in Hawaii, USA. I was also organizing committee member for the IRG39 Meeting held in Istanbul in 2008.

Personally, I enjoy traveling the cities and countries I have not been to yet. I like making friends all over the world, testing local foods, and learning different cultures and their history. Thus, IRG-WP annual conferences have been always a great opportunity to me to see many countries and meet people. So far, I have been to Japan (18 times), S. Korea (twice), Australia, Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore, China, Germany (twice), Austria, Slovenia, Italy, Portugal (twice), France, The UK (twice), Finland, Sweden, Norway, Dubai, USA (7 times), The Netherlands, and Belgium.

Extracurricular

I like photography very much and I got a second place prize from The Japan Times in a photograph competition on nature in 2005 in Japan with this photo.
Besides traveling and photography, I have a large collection of ceramic mugs and key holders from many countries, and ornaments and various items reflecting unique Japanese culture and history.

I will close out this bio by expressing my sincere gratitude to wonderful people I have met during my career at various universities, research institutions and meetings. I am very happy for being a part of IRG-WP and I look forward to attending the future IRG-WP conferences.

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