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St. Kate’s chemistry professors awarded NSF grant

Associate Professor Daron Janzen assists students during a chemistry class.
Associate Professor Daron Janzen assists students during a chemistry class.
Photo by Rebecca Zenefski '10.

St. Catherine University Chemistry Associate Professor Daron Janzen, Ph.D. and Assistant Professor James Wollack, Ph.D. are among a consortium of chemistry researchers awarded a $201,787 Major Research Instrumentation (MRI) grant from the National Science Foundation. 

Janzen was the lead writer and organizer of the grant proposal, “MRI Consortium: Acquisition of a Single Crystal X-ray Diffractometer for a Regional PUI Molecular Structure Facility,” that won NSF funding. It will establish a shared instrumentation consortium of chemistry researchers at primarily undergraduate institutions (PUIs) in Minnesota. 

Co-principal chemistry investigators with Janzen and Wollack include Professor Steven Drew Ph.D., (Carleton College), Associate Professor Ted Pappenfus, Ph.D. (University of Minnesota, Morris), and Assistant Professor Alicia Peterson, Ph.D., (College of Saint Benedict and Saint John's University). 

St. Catherine University will house the consortium’s single-crystal X-ray diffractometer and accompanying resources.

An X-ray diffractometer allows accurate and precise measurements of the full three dimensional structure of a molecule. The instrument will help PUI researchers for whom molecular structural data is critical to their project goals and success, but who currently have very limited access to this type of equipment. 

Current research projects of the consortium members range from organic and inorganic chemistry to materials chemistry and chemical biology. 

NSF grant will advance collaborative reseach

The NSF grant will also support undergraduate research training in chemistry and in teaching crystallography.

The increasing importance and routine use of molecular structure techniques in chemical research means greater post-graduate opportunities and career opportunities for undergraduate students who have participated in collaborative research with this instrument.

 A growing field, crystallography is utilized in many disciplines, including chemistry, geology, biology, materials science and physics. 

Sep. 27, 2011 by Julie Michener

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