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Team of chemists receives $5 million grant to develop enzyme mimics
Date:1/14/2008

EVANSTON, Ill. --- Mother Nature regulates critical cellular activities in plants and animals by using enzymes, catalysts that bring about specific biochemical reactions. Looking to learn from nature, a team of Northwestern University chemists has received a $5 million grant from the Air Force Office of Scientific Research to study and develop bioinspired supramolecular enzyme mimics for military and civilian applications.

The grant is part of the U.S. Department of Defense's Multidisciplinary University Research Initiative (MURI), a program that supports basic science and/or engineering research and is designed to address large topic areas of critical importance to national defense.

The team, led by principal investigator Chad Mirkin, George B. Rathmann Professor of Chemistry in the Weinberg College of Arts and Sciences, will focus on mimicking nature's finely controlled chemical processes to develop materials and devices, such as chemical and biological detection systems with high sensitivity and selectivity, catalytic systems for environmental remediation and materials for power generation, conversion and storage.

Other members of the team are Joseph Hupp, Charles E. and Emma H. Morrison Professor of Chemistry; SonBinh Nguyen, associate professor of chemistry; Mark Ratner, Lawrence B. Dumas Distinguished University Professor; Karl Scheidt, assistant professor of chemistry; and Fraser Stoddart, Board of Trustees Professor of Chemistry.

The team's collective expertise includes supramolecular chemistry, organic and inorganic synthesis, materials, analytical chemistry and modeling capabilities -- all important to developing new supramolecular structures exhibiting desired properties and complex functions. In earlier efforts, the researchers have developed diverse strategies for creating bioinspired supramolecular structures. They now will use this "molecular tool kit" to prepare modular chemical components that can be assem
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Contact: Megan Fellman
fellman@northwestern.edu
847-491-3115
Northwestern University
Source:Eurekalert

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