Published Oct. 31, 2012
Gordon Brown, a Coker College assistant chemistry professor, has been awarded a three-year, $143,000 grant by the National Science Foundation to conduct research on molecular interactions using low-frequency microwave spectroscopy.
The college’s students will help Brown investigate structures that impact the ways organic molecules bind to each other. Students will also be involved in the development of a new low-frequency microwave instrument to facilitate the research, the college said.
Implications of the research could be applied to medical investigations and to finding better ways to capture and store carbon dioxide.
“In order to study larger biologically and environmentally important molecular systems, it is useful to be able to study them at frequencies that are lower than is feasible with currently available instruments,” Brown said. “No one sells microwave spectrometers of the type we need, so we are building our own.”
Undergraduate research is an important aspect of Coker College, according to associate biology professor Joe Flaherty, who was recently appointed as the college’s first director of undergraduate research.
“As a means to learning opportunities beyond the classroom setting, undergraduate research has been demonstrated to help students achieve greater gains in personal initiative, problem solving and communication skills in addition to stronger enrollment in graduate studies and increased employment in major-related fields,” Flaherty said.
Brown’s research is being funded through the National Science Foundation’s Chemical Measurement and Imaging program. It supports research focused on chemically relevant measurement science and imaging, targeting both improved understanding of new and existing methods and development of innovative approaches and instruments.