IUPUI awarded NSF grant to enhance interdisciplinary research profile and strengthen STEM education

  • Aug. 15, 2014

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

INDIANAPOLIS -- The National Science Foundation has awarded Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis a $374,989 grant to purchase an advanced X-ray diffraction system, through the Major Research Instrumentation Program.

The XRD system, which will be housed in and maintained by the Integrated Nanosystems Development Institute in collaboration with the Department of Earth Science, enhances IUPUI’s shared instrumentation profile and supports faculty and students across many schools and departments by providing capabilities for a range of interdisciplinary scientific discovery and workforce training.

“The XRD system will support the research of several interdisciplinary faculty researchers, including junior faculty members whose career development will be greatly advanced by the granted XRD system,” said Mangilal Agarwal, INDI’s director and co-principle investigator. “We’re extremely grateful to the National Science Foundation for their investment and excited about the many benefits it will not only bring to IUPUI, but to the community at large.”

This powerful instrumentation will increase the ability of investigators at IUPUI to characterize the properties of solid materials, especially of nanoscale-size, for fundamental research projects that provide the basis for applications in earth sciences (ore and energy deposits, water quality and minerals impacts on human health), nanotechnology (new materials development for energy, industry and biomedical applications) and biophysical research (biological membrane function in biomaterials including amino acids, detergents and pharmaceuticals).

“This grant reflects the strong collaborative environment for interdisciplinary research at IUPUI," said Simon Rhodes, dean of the School of Science. "The schools of science, engineering and dentistry frequently collaborate in research with significant impact on all aspects of our mission (including teaching) and on the local economy.”

According to Gregory Druschel, principle investigator and professor of geology, characterization of solid state material structure and size is a critical research need for an array of IUPUI researchers.

“Acquisition of this system will support research advances in many fields and stimulate new interdisciplinary links across them," Druschel said. "The advanced capabilities of the XRD system will significantly enhance IUPUI’s interdisciplinary research profile.”

In addition, the XRD system will strengthen STEM education on campus and across Indiana.  Courses in science, engineering and dentistry will provide students with both theoretical and practical understanding of XRD and its applications.

Moreover, this instrument will be used in community outreach, including at nanotechnology summer discovery camps K-12 students and by teachers from across the state. Such outreach activities, coupled with IUPUI’s urban placement, affect traditionally underrepresented students in STEM fields. In addition to regional efforts, the proposed XRD system will be integrated into undergraduate mentoring and actively work with underrepresented summer scholars through Indiana University’s STEM initiative, which provides research opportunities to students from historically black colleges and universities with limited research offerings.

About the Integrated Nanosystems Development Institute at IUPUI:

INDI is an interdisciplinary institute supported through the IUPUI Signature Centers Initiative in partnership with the School of Engineering and Technology, the School of Science and the School of Medicine. Over 30 faculty members from these schools are associated with INDI. These researchers have expertise in a wide range of fields, including chemistry, physics, biology, electrical and computer engineering, mechanical engineering, orthopedics, pathology and laboratory medicine.

About the School of Science at IUPUI:

The School of Science at IUPUI is committed to excellence in teaching, research and service in the biological, physical, behavioral and mathematical sciences. The school is dedicated to being a leading resource for interdisciplinary research and science education in support of Indiana's effort to expand and diversify its economy.

 

About the National Science Foundation:

The National Science Foundation is an independent federal agency that supports fundamental research and education across all fields of science and engineering. With an annual budget of $7.2 billion (FY 2014), NSF is the funding source for approximately 24 percent of all federally supported basic research conducted by America’s colleges and universities. In many fields such as mathematics, computer science and the social sciences, NSF is the major source of federal backing.

Mangilal Agarwal

Mangilal Agarwal

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Gregory Druschel

Gregory Druschel

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Richard Schneider
Etta  Ward