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05/23/2011

Chemistry Professor Nick Grossoehme Receives Grant for Emerging Scientists

Quick Facts

 Selection for the awards was highly competitive with only a fourth of the candidates receiving funding from a $1.8 million grant total.
 Grossoehme, an assistant professor of chemistry, received the award to conduct research on the “Biophysical Characterization of Metal Homeostasis in Multiple Antibiotic Producing Streptomyces coelicolor.”

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Nick Grossoehme
TUCSON, Ariz. – Research Corporation for Science Advancement will award Winthrop chemistry faculty member Nicholas Grossoehme a $35,000 grant as part of its spring 2011 Cottrell College Science Awards to support 48 early career scientists at undergraduate institutions.

Grossoehme, an assistant professor of chemistry, received the award to conduct research on the “Biophysical Characterization of Metal Homeostasis in Multiple Antibiotic Producing Streptomyces coelicolor.”

In describing his work, Grossoehme said that all organisms rely on metal ions to facilitate essential cellular processes. However if the concentration of these same metals is not strictly controlled, they can become toxic to the organism and result in cell death.

The financial support provided by the grant will allow Grossoehme and undergraduate research students to investigate how one organism of medicinal interest, Streptomyces coelicolor, maintains the optimal concentration of these metals. In addition to potential scientific advances, Grossoehme said the grant will give several Winthrop undergraduates invaluable experience working in a research laboratory and carrying out their own research project, which will better prepare them for graduate school or a career in a related field.

Selection for the awards was highly competitive with only a fourth of the candidates receiving funding from a $1.8 million grant total. A Winthrop faculty member last received a Research Corporation grant in 1999.

The goal of the awards is to support research at primarily undergraduate institutions, which play an outsized role in graduating students who go on to earn PhDs in the sciences. They also support early career scientists, providing them with crucial recognition and funding as they establish their own labs. A third factor is that the awards require student involvement in the research, and hands-on research has been proven to be an effective way to captivate students interested in the sciences.

The awards are given for research in the physical sciences (astronomy, chemistry, and physics) or for research in closely related fields that significantly overlaps the physical sciences. Eligible faculty must be within the first three years of a first tenure-track appointment and within 12 years of receiving a doctoral degree. Undergraduate students must be involved in the research in meaningful ways.

Research Corporation for Science Advancement, formerly known as Research Corporation, is the second-oldest U.S. foundation and the oldest foundation for science advancement. It is a leading advocate for the sciences and a major funder of scientific innovation and of research in America’s colleges and universities.

“Encouraging, and supporting, early career scientists and their students is of crucial national importance, as the United States seeks to maintain its preeminence in scientific innovation,” said Dr. James M. Gentile, president and CEO of Research Corporation for Science Advancement. “These awards provide ‘seed’ funding for significant research at primarily undergraduate institutions, help early-career faculty establish research programs, and encourage undergraduate students to pursue research interests – all of which are essential to our future as scientific innovators.”

Grossoehme joined Winthrop’s faculty in 2010. He earned a B.S. in chemistry/biology from Midland University in Fremont, Neb., and a Ph.D. in chemistry from Dartmouth College in Hanover, N.H.

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