2020 CAS Research Instrumentation Initiative

This past year, CAS Dean, Dr. Abby Parrill was pleased to continue the CAS Research Instrumentation Initiative grant opportunity. Thanks to matching contributions from Dr. Jasbir Dhaliwal, VP for Research and Innovation, and the Division of Research and Innovation, we were able to offer the largest levels of financial support in the history of the program. Almost $460K in Department, CAS and DRI funds were leveraged to improve research instrumentation in the Natural Sciences. Dean Parrill extends her gratitude for our partners in the Departments and Division of Research and Innovation for helping to make this years CAS-RII a huge success.

Three awards were made this past year. The Department Chair serves as PI of the proposal and is in charge of collating Department needs to CAS. Each Department is required to show significant support for the purchase in terms of matching funds.

2019-2020 recipients of the CAS-RII were:

  1. Center for Earthquake Research and Information (CERI) ($125,900).
  2. Department of Chemistry ($141,082).
  3. Department of Physics & Materials Science ($191,802)

According to Dr. Charles Langston, Director for CERI was able to purchase a field deployable Electrical Resistivity System, upgrade the large format plotter and scanner and purchase a field deployable Lacoste-Romberg Gravimeter. The electrical resistivity system is a joint venture between CERI and CAESER and the Department of Earth Sciences and will be a valuable addition to field research efforts of the faculty in those units. The plotter/scanner is used by all faculty, students, and staff at CERI. The gravity meter is a welcome addition to the CERI field laboratory and is to be used primarily in research with additional educational impact.

Dr. Henry Kurtz, Chair notes that the Department of Chemistry was able to purchase three instruments aimed at increasing research capabilities. The first was Flash Chromatograph system which automatically performs chromatographic separation of complex mixtures of organic and inorganic compounds. It is of particular use in Dr. Tim Brewster’s research laboratory but also impacts the work of faculty and graduate students working in synthetic organic chemistry. The second instrument purchased was a Near Infrared Spectrometer It measures the absorptions at wavelengths in the range of 900 nm-2500 nm, which allow for the observation of intervalence charge transfer processes a variety of organic and organic molecules, and can be used for spectroelectrochemistry. This instrument is particularly useful to the research efforts of Dr. Kensha Clark and Dr. Xuan Zhao. The third instrument funded was a Isothermal Titration Calorimeter that measures thermodynamic parameters of molecular recognition events in aqueous buffers (protein-ligand binding, protein-protein interactions, etc). The instrument is useful to several members of the Department of Chemistry and also the Department of Biological Sciences. Dr. Dan Baker is the point person for this request. Finally, Chemistry requested support for the purchase of an auto-tuner for the Nuclear Magnetic Resonance Spectrometer which impact multiple groups in the Department and across campus. Dr. Ted Burkey, Dr. Charles Garner, Dr. Dan Baker and Dr. Truc Chi Pham brought together the request.

According to Dr. M. Shah Jahan, Interim Chair, the Department of Physics & Materials Science was able to upgrade their existing Electron Paramagnetic Resonance spectrometer and maintain their nationally recognized contributions in multiple areas including food science, biomaterials, free radicals, defects in solids, radiation effects in solids, reactive oxygen species (ROS), nano-materials, to mention a few. In addition to impacting the work of members of their own Department, researchers in Chemistry and Environmental Engineering will also find important uses as well for the refurbished EPR facility. In addition, Dr. Firouzeh Sabri (new Department Chair) and Dr. Jahan also requested funds to complete a digital upgrade for the EPR system. Additional funds requested and matched by Dr. Sanjay Mishra were used to purchase a new X-ray tube for the X-ray diffractometer and for purchase of a new Raman Spectrometer. Both of these instruments are used by Dr. Mishra as well as other researchers in Physics, Earth Sciences, Biomedical and Mechanical Engineering with potential uses in Chemistry.

Congratulations to all our CAS-RII recipients this year!

Additional information can be found on the College of Arts & Sciences Website.