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Muskingum College receives National Science Foundation grant

NATIONAL SCIENCE FOUNDATIONMuskingum College has received a grant from the National Science Foundation to fund a research project titled, Curricular Enhancement of the Sciences through the Vertical Integration and Interdisciplinary Applications of GC-MS (gas chromatography-mass spectrometry).

The grant will assist with the purchase of GC-MS equipment and the training of Muskingum College faculty and students to use that equipment.

Gas chromatography-mass spectrometry is a method to identify different substances within a test sample. Applications of GC-MS include drug detection, fire investigation, environmental analysis, explosives investigation and identification of unknown samples. It can also be used in airport security to detect substances in luggage or on human beings. Additionally, it can identify trace elements in materials that were previously thought to have disintegrated beyond identification.

At Muskingum, the technology will be used in a wide range of academic disciplines, including chemistry, biochemistry, environmental science, biology, molecular biology and neuroscience.

The effort to secure the funding was spearheaded by Associate Professor of Chemistry Dr. Lois Zook-Gerdau, who served as principal investigator for the application process. Working as co-principal investigators were Associate Professor of Chemistry Dr. Deepamali Perera, Assistant Professor of Chemistry Dr. Eric Schurter and Associate Professor of Chemistry Dr. Paul Szalay.

Dr. Zook-Gerdau credits the support of the college’s administration, including President Dr. Anne C. Steele and Vice President for Academic Affairs Dr. Paul Reichardt, for providing additional funding support; and Professor of Chemistry Dr. Raymond Rataiczak, who is working toward the future purchase of additional GC-MS devices.

Assistant Professor of Education Dr. David Watkins will provide evaluation and assessment of how the machine is applied to a variety of uses in different academic disciplines.

The new equipment should be in place and in use at Muskingum at the start of the 2008-2009 academic year.