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Grant Money Enhances Science Department

(Note: This article contains updated information and replaces an earlier announcement that appeared on Daily Digest and Gallaudet’s online news page.)

Gallaudet’s science program will be greatly enhanced from a grant proposal approved by the National Science Foundation (NSF) in the amount of $290,000 for a Varian 400 modern research-caliber nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) spectrometer, an instrument used in organic chemistry and biology teaching and research. The grant was awarded to the University of the District of Columbia (UDC), in partnership with Gallaudet and The Catholic University of America (CUA).

The NMR spectrometer will be housed at UDC, and access to the instrument will be shared with faculty and students at Gallaudet and CUA. Because UDC’s proposal also requested funding for the interface modules and software that allow remote access, along with consoles to be located on the partner campuses, Gallaudet will be able to access the NMR data and process it virtually from Kendall Green.

“The acquisition of this instrument is beneficial to Gallaudet University’s chemistry and biology departments,” said Dr. Paul Sabila, an assistant professor in the Department of Chemistry and Physics, and co-principal investigator for the project. “The NMR Spectrometer will be useful in teaching organic chemistry classes and for providing Gallaudet chemistry students with critical instrumental and research skills required for internship, work, and graduate school.”

NMR instruments, just like MRI (magnetic resonance imaging), use radio frequency radiations and are used by scientists to identify or determine the bond connections and three-dimensional structures of simple organic molecules like glucose, as well as complex ones like DNA and proteins, Sabila explained.

The collaboration on the grant opens new avenues for the partnering universities to write proposals for other important instruments in the future and for faculty and students to interact and share ideas. “As a way of making our students more competitive in the job market, the Chemistry and Physics Department has been aggressively reaching out to other institutions for more collaborative ventures and new opportunities to provide internship and training experience before graduation,” said Sabila. “The broad impacts include making the chemistry major more attractive, and thereby ensuring that Gallaudet University is the university of first choice among deaf and hard of hearing individuals.”

“We are excited about the possibilities of our students having access to the equipment and being lead by Dr. Sabila on a project-specific to the use of that equipment,” said Dr. Christine Katsapis, director of Gallaudet’s Office of Sponsored Programs. “He should be congratulated heartily for developing an advantageous partnership with other institutions that increase Gallaudet’s capacity for scientific activities and research.”

An announcement about the NSF grant award also appeared in UDC’s Firebird.
(This material is based upon work supported by the National Science Foundation under CHE-1040094. Any opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Science Foundation.)

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