Valparaiso University secured a $223,753 grant from the National Science Foundation under its Major Research Instrumentation and Chemistry Research Instrumentation and Facilities Program.

With this award, Valparaiso University will acquire an ultrahigh performance liquid chromatography system with four detectors, used for analyzing samples by separating the components using chromatography techniques.

“This grant will further advance the robust science-related fields at Valparaiso University,” said Mark L. Biermann, Ph.D., provost and executive vice president for academic affairs. “Students and professors will have exciting new opportunities to collaborate across disciplines including chemistry, biochemistry, and civil engineering.”

Julie Peller, Ph.D., associate professor of chemistry, is the principal investigator for the grant. While writing the proposal, she consulted faculty members from across campus as well as research partners at California State University, Long Beach, who will be able to analyze water samples in a different way in their research to examine water re-use to address California’s water shortage crisis. The University will also involve students and faculty from local institutions including Ivy Tech and Indiana University Northwest.

In her own research, Professor Peller works closely with undergraduate students, and she sees this as a vital opportunity for their education.

“Working with these types of instruments will make our undergraduate students even more marketable as they enter the workforce,” Professor Peller said.

Proposed research projects are to assess water quality of Lake Michigan watershed surface waters, study oxidative remediation of organic contaminants in wastewater and transformations of organic compounds in surface water, assess storm-water treatment technologies for pollution reduction, and conduct biochemistry experiments such as protein purification and unnatural amino analysis.


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