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Chemistry Professor Awarded National Grant
February 14, 2005

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MACON—Dr. Caryn Seney, associate professor of chemistry in Mercer University's College of Liberal Arts, and Dr. Robin Bright, Fort Valley State University, were recently awarded a three-year grant totaling $244, 752 from the National Science Foundation Research for Undergraduate Institutions program.  Mercer will receive $178,552 of the total grant, providing Mercer students with increased learning opportunities through the addition of new laboratory equipment.  Fort Valley will receive $66,200 of the total grant.

To apply for the funding, Seney and Bright collaborated on a project entitled "Studies of Antigen/Antibody Interactions with Nanoparticles." The two submitted a proposal to the National Science Foundation that was reviewed and judged on scientific merit and impact on science and education.  Funding was awarded based on these reviews and availability of funds.

The grant has allowed Mercer to purchase multiple types of lasers and detectors, which have been used to build sensitive Raman spectrophotometers—cutting-edge instruments used in measuring light and molecular interactions. 

"Students will be immersed in a research environment similar to what they would experience in industry or graduate school," Seney said.  The grant will also provide opportunities for faculty to engage in scholarly pursuits, eventually bringing this research to Mercer students in classrooms and laboratories.

Mercer senior Josh Yelverton of Blakely is currently using the new equipment for his senior research project in which he is studying the interaction of antibodies and antigens.

"I am very excited to have been awarded this grant," Seney said. "It's a great opportunity to further research projects with Mercer undergraduates."