Centre College’s Daniel Scott, assistant professor of chemistry, has been awarded three grants for a total of $70,000 to help support his collaborative undergraduate research on improving therapeutic and diagnosis options for human health.
The first grant Scott received was for $10,000 from the Undergraduate Analytical Research Program award. This will help support student stipends and materials for undergraduate research.
Scott was also awarded $50,000 from the National Science Foundation-funded Kentucky EPSCoR, an individual research start-up award. The grant will help fund undergraduate research student stipends, provide materials and supplies, support student travel to present their research at a national conference and supply new instrumentation for the College and students.
Lastly, Scott received an award of $10,000 from the Pittsburgh Conference Memorial National College Grants Program to help fund the purchase of a new mass spectrometer, a device that will enhance teaching and research capabilities in the chemistry department.
“The benefits of collaborative research for students are well documented,” said Scott, it is one of the guarantees in the Centre Commitment, along with study abroad, internship opportunities and graduation in four years.
“These funds help increase the number of students I am able to support,” he continued. “In combination with the support from the College, these funds allow us to make meaningful progress on our projects.”
For his research focusing on the improvement of therapeutic and diagnostic options, Scott said he accomplishes this through different avenues.
“First, we are looking to create new drug molecules that are not only more effective at killing cancer cells but also more selective for the cancer cells,” he explained. “Concurrently, we are working to develop a drug delivery vehicle, based on nanotechnology, that will be capable of carrying the drugs we make, as well as other drugs and delivering them selectively to tumors.
“Separately, we are also using nanotechnology to design detection systems, capable of diagnosing and monitoring cancer and other diseases,” Scott continued. “With this project, we are particularly interested in designing systems capable of point-of-care analysis, for situations where quick analysis, without a full-lab setup, would be possible, such as in third-world countries.”
Scott said that themajor goal of his research is to help students gain experience and confidence in the lab, build problem-solving skills and excitement about science.
“I like the students to be invested in and take ownership of the projects, to develop to the point where our projects are ‘their’ projects, and the students are hopefully the experts in the room on the subject by the time they finish,” he added. “What really drew me to chemistry initially was not necessarily the material I was learning in the class but how I could apply that material to solve complex and new problems outside of the class. I like the students to see how even the material they learn in the first semester of general chemistry can be applied to create new cancer drugs or diagnostic systems.”
by Kerry Steinhofer
March 11, 2019