This summer, faculty in Barnard’s Chemistry Department were awarded major federal grants that will support them, individually and collaboratively, as they research a variety of topics. As a result, every tenure-track professor in the department is also a principal investigator (PI) on a federal grant.
Michael Campbell, assistant professor of chemistry, was awarded an MRI grant by the NSF for the purchase and installation of a 400 MHz Nuclear Magnetic Resonance (NMR) Spectrometer (an instrument that helps identify the structure of a molecule) at Barnard. The new tool will enhance research capabilities on campus and will allow faculty to introduce NMR spectroscopy to more students in organic chemistry lab courses. Buzzeo; Dina Merrer, assistant department chair and professor of chemistry; and Christian Rojas, professor of chemistry, are all co-PIs on the grant.
In May, Campbell was also awarded an American Chemical Society Petroleum Research Fund grant for his project, "The Importance of Nuclearity in the Redox Chemistry of Silver: New Mechanistic Pathways for Hydrocarbon Oxidation." The award will support the Campbell Group over a two-year period as Campbell conducts research to develop new reactivity for chemical synthesis using silver, which is cheaper and more abundant than commonly used metals such as iridium, palladium, or rhodium, and will provide funding to support student researchers with stipends to conduct summer research.
Christina Vizcarra, assistant professor of chemistry, received an NSF grant for more than $500,000 for the College to purchase a confocal and TIRF fluorescence microscope for increased hands-on training for students. The microscope will help support research projects spanning biochemistry, cell biology, developmental biology, and neuroscience; it will also help Vizcarra’s team observe filament-forming proteins. Among the students who will use the microscope are students enrolled in Barnard’s four-year Science Pathways Scholars Program – (SP)², which provides support for students who come from traditionally underrepresented backgrounds and who are interested in the sciences. Jennifer Mansfield, associate professor of biology, and Rae Silver, psychology’s Helene L. and Mark N. Kaplan professor of natural & physical sciences, are both co-PIs.
Vizcarra was also awarded an NIH R15-AREA grant through the National Institute of Deafness and Other Communications Disorders to study proteins that are associated with hereditary deafness. In addition to research supplies, this award will support student researchers through the Summer Research Institute (SRI).
In July, Marisa Buzzeo ’01, associate professor of chemistry, was awarded a single-investigator grant from the National Science Foundation’s (NSF) Chemical Measurement and Imaging Program (RUI: Selenium-modified Electrodes: From Surface Reactivity to Biosensing Developments). This award will support ongoing electrochemical and spectroscopic studies by Buzzeo and her undergraduate research team to better understand the unique redox chemistry afforded by the essential trace element selenium.
Other Chemistry News:
Mary Sever, assistant professor of chemistry; Rachel Austin, chemistry department chair and Diana T. and P. Roy Vagelos professor; Christina Vizcarra; and Andrew Crowther, assistant professor of chemistry, were all awarded NSF grants in 2017. Merrer is the PI on an NSF grant to support a pilot program on food chemistry for high school teacher professional development, and Christian Rojas is finalizing an NIH grant on the project “Construction and Union of 2-Amino Sugar Building Blocks” and recently published a paper in the Journal of Organic Chemistry with Barnard student researchers.