October 29, 2007
Chemistry and physics professors receive grants
Augusta, Ga. – Two professors in Augusta State University’s Department of Chemistry and Physics recently learned that they will be receiving some much-needed assistance in furthering their research.
Christian Poppeliers received $51,000 from the National Science Foundation’s Earth Science Division for Major Research Instrumentation to purchase an eight node cluster computer that will be used to perform geophysics computations. According to Dr. Poppeliers, only nine percent of applicants for this particular grant received funding.
He plans to use the equipment for undergraduate research projects such as the analysis of a compound, rotary pendulum system, simulation of the Earth’s electrical resistivity structure, and a three-dimensional elastic wave propagation simulator.
“The great thing about these projects is that they are interdisciplinary in nature, and are attracting students from math, computer science, as well as my home department, physics,” Dr. Popelliers says. “This computer will provide a platform for raw numerical calculations, as well as being an ideal training ground to teach ASU undergraduates parallel computing.”
By using this cluster for his own research, Dr. Poppeliers will be able to analyze earthquake data to form three-dimensional images of the boundary between the Earth’s crust and mantle. That will help in understanding the evolution of continental collision zones, continental rifts, and the origin and stability of mountain ranges.
Also, Chad Stephens received $29,000 from the University of North Carolina to assist in the development of new drugs to treat tropical diseases like Malaria, African Sleeping Sickness, Chagas’ Disease and Leishmaniasis. The project includes researching how the newly developed drugs are metabolized in the body before they can be approved for use.
“My lab here at ASU is supporting this effort by synthesizing authentic samples of compounds thought to be metabolites,” says Dr. Stephens. “(The UNC lab) then compares these authentic samples to the metabolites in animal studies to determine if they are a match. In this way, we can confirm the identity of the metabolites.”