Out of This World
NASA supports Associate Professor Karen Castle's study of the Martian atmosphere (learn more)
Project Title: Reducing Uncertainty in Martian Upper Atmospheric Non-LTE Models: Laboratory Measurement of Carbon Dioxide Vibrational Relaxation
Funding Agency: NASA
Award Amount: $178,854
Award Period: 2013-2016
Unravelling a Debate
Tim Strein and David Rovnyak, NSF-RUI "RUI: Molecular Characterization of Aggregation and Guest-Host Solvation by Bile Acids" $159,185, 2012-2015 (learn more)
Strein and Rovnyak received an award to investigate the precise functionality of bile micelles - electrically charged aggregates of naturally occurring molecules. "For 50 years, scientists have struggled to understand this important class of micelles," says Rovnyak. "We think we have begun to unravel the debate." The team hopes its findings might lead to improved applications such as chemical separations and drug delivery, and improve the understanding of bile in physiology.
Technology for the 21st Century
Charlie Clapp, NSF-RUI "RUI: Substrate Binding and Regiochemical Control by Soybean Lipoxygenase-1" $50,000, 2012-2015. (more)
Clapp and a group of undergraduate researchers are trying to determine how enzymes work so well at catalyzing reactions. The team is "tinkering with" a particular class of enzymes called lipoxygenases, which are found in soybeans. The researchers are altering the enzymes' DNA and changing the substrate - the molecule on which the enzyme acts - to identify the exact position on the molecule where the catalytic reaction takes place. "Catalysis is one of the most important technologies of the 21st century," Clapp says. "It can help us develop chemical products more efficiently and with fewer by-products."
Cloud Formation and Climate Change
George Shields, NSF-MRI "MRI: Acquisition of High Performance Computers for the Molecular Education and Research Consortium in Undergraduate computational chemistry (MERCURY)" $200,000, 2012-2015. (learn more)
Shields, along with postdoctoral fellow Berhane Temelso and a group of undergraduate researchers are using high-speed computing to predict how and where water and other molecules will cluster to form clouds.
The results may help scientists understand how clouds will affect the pace of climate change.
Other Recent Awards
Rob Stockland, ACS-Petroleum Research Fund "P-H Activation Using Alkynylmetal Complexes: New Methodology for the Preparation of Metallopolymers" $65,000, 2012-2015.
George Shields, NSF, "RUI: Thermodynamics of Secondary Aerosol Formation: The Role of Binary and Ternary Nucleation" $315,000, 2012-2015 (learn more)
George Shields, NSF "Using Early Introduction to Undergraduate Research to Recruit, Retain, and Graduate More (science, technology, engineering, and math) STEM Majors". Principal Investigator: George Shields; Co-PIs: M. Lynn Breyfogle (mathematics), Dee Ann Casteel. $450,000, 2013-2018 (learn more)