University of Oklahoma research groups will be able to expand the capabilities of research and training in science and engineering on the Norman campus with the assistance of almost $2 million in grants from the National Science Foundation. The three NSF grants achieved by OU as part of the NSF's Major Research Instrumentation Program total $1,873,595 and are designated for the acquisition or development of shared instrumentation.
"These grants are critical to the OU research enterprise because they fund the acquisition and development of expensive instrumentation in the key areas of meteorology, high energy physics and bioengineering," says Kelvin Droegemeier, OU Vice President for Research, who noted that it is quite an accomplishment for any university to receive more than one of these grants in a single competition. "With this equipment, OU faculty and students will be able to perform cutting-edge research that leads to practical outcomes of improved weather forecasting, new electronic devices, and improved medical diagnoses."
Michael Santos, professor in the Homer L. Dodge Department of Physics and Astronomy at OU, was the recipient of an $812,984 MRI grant for the acquisition of a state-of-the-art molecular beam epitaxy chamber that will be used for the training of students in contemporary growth techniques and will create new research opportunities for students studying physics and engineering.
David Parsons, director of OU's School of Meteorology, received a $663,268 MRI grant with support from NOAA and the National Severe Storms Laboratory to develop a remote sensing facility that will produce continuous measurements of the vertical profile of wind, temperature and humidity within the lower atmosphere, which can be combined with measurement from radar, conventional meteorological sensors and even unmanned aerial systems to provide a more complete picture of atmospheric processes.
David Schmidtke, associate professor in the Department of Chemical, Biomedical and Materials Engineering, received a $394,343 MRI grant for the acquisition of a state-of-the-art cell sorting shared use facility. Cell sorting is recognized as important and indispensable tools in fields ranging from basic biology in the life sciences to translational biomedical engineering research.
MRI grants have significance for education and the expansion of research opportunities that might not have existed without NSF assistance. Equally important is the acquisition or development of equipment that can then be leveraged within the organization through shared resources and outside the organization with private sector partners. The broader impacts of MRI grants help OU research programs extend beyond the university to society where they have major impact in weather, biomedical and nanotechnology.