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Marine Sciences and Chemistry Win NSF Grants

Professor Gordon Taylor in his lab

The School of Marine and Atmospheric Sciences (SoMAS) has been awarded $434,000 by the National Science Foundation (NSF) has to advance research that will help scientists understand the global carbon cycle in the ocean.

Professor Gordon Taylor in his lab
Professor Gordon Taylor in his lab.

NSF has also awarded the Department of Chemistry in the College of Arts and Sciences a CAREER award totaling $675,000 over five years to develop new catalysts to construct chiral functional models. Both NSF grants, effective April 1 and May 1, 2019, respectively, provide students with unique opportunities to participate in the research and gain additional educational and work experience.

The NSF grant to SoMAS is for a project titled “Collaborative Research: Transforming Carbon in the Deep Sea.” Under the direction of Gordon Taylor, researchers will explore microbial communities and remineralization processes that transform carbon in the deep sea. Using newly-designed deep-sea incubators deployed off the east coast of the United States, they will be able to identify the organisms involved in the decay processes and rates at which changes occur at the single-cell level. Results will shed light on these understudied biological phenomena and contribute to an improved understanding of the global carbon cycle.

The award also supports graduate and undergraduate student education through partnerships with Old Dominion University, the Virginia Aquarium and National Ocean Sciences Bowl to increase ocean science literacy.

Ming-Yu Ngai
Ming-Yu Ngai

Under the direction of Ming-Yu Ngai, the NSF grant to the Department of Chemistry funds a project titled “CAREER: Chiral Catalysts for Enantioselective Photoredox-Catalyzed Carbon-Carbon Bond-Forming Reactions.” Researchers will work to create new catalysts for the preparation of chiral organic molecules with potential applications in pharmaceutical, agrochemical, and material science.

An integral part of this program involves recruiting and preparing a diverse Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) workforce to advance this frontier of science and provide students with opportunities for industrial training through collaboration with a pharmaceutical company.

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