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New Rochelle, NY (July 31, 2012) -- Professor Sunghee Lee, chair of the Iona College chemistry department, was awarded a grant of $250,000 over four years from the National Science Foundation (NSF). This grant will provide funds for a team of Iona College undergraduate students to continue important research on the investigation of the chemistry of crystallization in living systems.
“Grant awards such as this are critical to providing our research students with the opportunity to learn and engage in the process. This would not be possible without the generosity of benefactors such as the Patrick Martin Foundation and the NSF,” said Dr. Lee.
The initial allocation of the grant will be $76,000 for the academic year 2012-2013. Subsequent distribution of the full $250,000 will be awarded over a four-year period and is contingent on the availability of funds and the scientific progress of the project, according to NSF.
This summer, 13 Iona College undergraduate students and two high school students are continuing research funded by the NSF. Their research is vital to understanding how crystals in living organisms form, from bones and teeth to coral and seashells. By mimicking crystal growth in biological systems, they can control the formation of pharmaceutical crystals or design foods with new properties.
The student researchers are a diverse group of freshmen, sophomores, juniors and seniors. Several of these students are approaching their fourth year as members of the research team. Dr. Lee stated, “It is gratifying to see the evolution of a student researcher. They are not only experiencing being a part of important research, but they are also empowered by learning transferrable skills that are utilized in all subject areas.”
In addition to the summer research initiative, Dr. Lee and 12 research group members will attend the 244th American Chemical Society (ACS) national meeting, from August 19-23, 2012, in Philadelphia. For this conference, five research projects have been accepted for poster presentations. The presentations include: Monitoring Denaturation of Soluble Proteins by Near Infrared Spectroscopy (Erin Morgan, Alexander Soderberg), The Role of Calcium in Anionic Mixed Bilayer (Zuzanna Michalak, Nousin Haque, Darius Fartash), Interactions of Osmolytes with Neutral Lipid Membrane (Nousin Haque, Darius Fartash, Zuzanna Michalak), Assessing Role of Specific Anions in Templated Crystal Nucleation at the Liquid-Liquid Interface (Kiersten Giusto, Catherine Morris, Nick Florio, Paul Sanstead, Courtney Veilleux), Generation and Analyis of Glycine Polymorphs: Micro and Macro Approaches (Allyson Moffat; Jaclyn Robustelli; Courtney Veilleux, Peter Vitale)
“This conference hosts an impressive array of scientists from across the globe. To participate and have our undergraduate students present during poster sessions is reflective of the highly skilled research student that Iona educates,” said Dr. Lee.
The Iona College current student summer researchers are: Zuzanna Michalak ’13(Chemistry), Darius Fartash ’13 (Chemistry), Nousin Haque ’13 (Biochemistry, Allyson Moffat ’13 (Chemistry), Erin Morgan ’13 (Chemistry), Courtney Veilleux ’14 (Biochemistry), Peter Vitale ’14 (Biochemistry), Jaclyn Robustelli ’14 (Chemistry), Michelle Muzzio ’15 (Biochemistry), Omoakhe Tisor ’15 (Biochemistry), Kevin Towler ’15 (Chemistry), Rosario Giacomini ’15 (Chemistry), Peter Milianta ’16 (Chemistry), and New Rochelle High School students Akshay Koottala, junior and David Lopez, freshman.
The National Science Foundation (NSF) is an independent federal agency that supports fundamental research and education across all fields of science and engineering.
Founded in 1940, Iona College is a four-year private, coeducational institution of learning in the tradition of the Edmund Rice Christian Brothers and American Catholic higher education. It is a diverse community of learners and scholars dedicated to academic excellence and the values of justice, peace and service. Iona offers undergraduate degrees in liberal arts, science, and business administration, as well as Master of Arts, Master of Science and Master of Business Administration degrees and numerous advanced certificate programs.
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