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Iona's Chemistry Department Awarded $20,000

Student Peter J. Milianta ’16, Biochemistry major, demonstrates the use of a major scientific instrument called an "Inverted Digital Video Microscope (Nikon) with Micropipet Manipulation System" which is supported on a vibration isolated workstation to minimize vibration from external sources. With this set-up, researchers are able to create, observe, and manipulate a single isolated micron-size droplet in a well-defined and -controlled liquid environment, while real-time visualizations of the unfolding chemical/physical phenomena is visualized and recorded.
New Rochelle, NY (May 21, 2015) The Iona College chemistry department has been awarded $20,000 from the National Science Foundation. The award is for supplemental support for a research project entitled "RUI: Microdroplet Interface Chemistry-Fundamental Studies of Self-Assembled Structures at the Liquid/Liquid Interface." The project is under the direction of Sunghee Lee, Ph.D., professor of Analytical Chemistry and department chair.      
This NSF grant supports an international collaboration in conjunction with the University of Tokyo, in the field of Biomimetic Soft Materials Chemistry. The collaboration supports the travel and research of Iona Undergraduate Students from Dr. Lee's research laboratory, to participate in research at Tokyo with Prof. Shoji Takeuchi. Iona's Peter J. Milianta ’16, Biochemistry major, has been chosen to be the first visiting student researcher during the summer 2015.   The goal of the work includes exploration of models for cellular membrane function from a chemical perspective.

Dr. Lee noted, "I am proud that Peter will be the first of my students to be spending a month in the labs of this globally prestigious scientific team in Tokyo, and know that it will be just the beginning of a long and fruitful research collaboration that will benefit not only Peter but the greater Iona community and the world's scientific enterprise".

About the project:
The Macromolecular, Supramolecular and Nanochemistry (MSN) Program of the Division of Chemistry (CHE) at the National Science Foundation supports the work of Professor Sunghee Lee at Iona College, concerning how supramolecular aggregates direct the crystallization of substances at a liquid-liquid interface. The research includes: (1) investigating the effect of surfactant monolayer structure upon crystallization by employing polymorphic organic crystal systems as reporters for subtle changes in monolayer structure; (2) studying the mechanism by which lipid bilayers in mesophases promote the crystallization of important protein targets through establishment of the droplet interface bilayer as a model; and (3) determining the nature and extent of interaction of ions with bilayers using the droplet interface bilayer model.

The research will enhance the body of empirical and systematic knowledge regarding arrangement of molecules which preferentially reside at the liquid-liquid interface. The understanding of molecular assemblies at the liquid-liquid interface will be an important contribution to fields which rely on these structures, such as biomimetic materials synthesis, electronics, diagnostics, drug delivery, and the plastic and pharmaceutical industries. Undergraduate students will perform research, co-author the relevant publications, and present their findings at national meetings. Thus, the research will impact the future career pathways in science available to numerous undergraduates, through enhanced availability and depth of research training at Iona College, a predominantly undergraduate institution.

About Iona College:
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. Iona College is the second largest private sector employer in New Rochelle.

Iona College Chemistry Department Awarded $20,000