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Stimulus-funded university research addressing issues from climate change to cancer, creating jobs and training a new generation of scientists
Date:9/29/2009

student researchers have been developing new methods to synthesize complex carbohydrates for nearly 13 years. This type of synthesis is vital in the creation of new pharmaceuticals because altering the configuration of molecules as Dr. O'Doherty and his team do, often produces different biological activity.

"If you're lucky, you make a cancer drug," he said. "But what we are really trying to do in my lab is develop methods for making carbohydrate-containing drugs, which will enable any medicinal chemist to create new pharmaceuticals."

Now, with the help of ARRA funding from the National Institutes of Health, he and his team intend to demonstrate that a well-known heart drug called digitoxin could be transformed into a cancer-fighting drug by modifying its sugars. The grant will keep research funding in place for two years and largely

cover the hiring or retention of O'Doherty's research group eight graduate students, four postdoctoral students, three undergraduates and one visiting scientist. Learn more

Designing Smart Concrete

Since "dumb as a box of rocks" is a none-too-kind description, the idea of a material like concrete being "smart" may seem counter-intuitive. With a stimulus-funded grant from the National Science Foundation, a University of Minnesota, Duluth, engineering professor is exploring a new approach to monitoring the health of structures like bridges, roads, and buildings.

Dr. Xun Yu is using carbon nanotubes embedded in concrete to detect cracking or mechanical stressin effect using the concrete itself as a monitor. These carbon nanotubes may also improve the strength and toughness of concrete pavement, especially in cold weather conditions. The grant also will be used to enhance the curriculum for undergraduate engineering students at UMD, and to introduce nanotechnology, sensors, and transportation to high school students to spark their interest in science and engineering. Learn m
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Contact: Ashley Prime
aprime@qga.com
202-429-4002
The Science Coalition
Source:Eurekalert

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