Dr. John Ford and Dr. Nathan McElroy, of the Department of Chemistry, were both recipients of IUP’s Academic Excellence and Innovation Award.
Ford was awarded for his proposal “Building Tools for the Production of Inexpensive, Efficient Cellulases from the Filamentous Fungus Trichoderma reesei,” which seeks to create fungus strains that are better able to convert cellulose to sugar. Cellulose-derived sugars can be used as renewable energy source for biofuels and also in plastics.
McElroy was awarded for his proposal “Determining the Effects of Acid Mine Drainage and Marcellus Shale Wells on Nonpolar Organic Contaminant Uptake in Semipermeable Membrane Devices.” Semipermeable membrane devices (SPMDs) can be used to absorb nonploar chemicals from water, somewhat like a fish that absorbs pesticides and other contaminants. Understanding how these devices work in streams with other contaminants such as acid mine drainage will allow for better interpretation of field study results in local waterways.
Both awards provide up to $10,000 to use toward these projects during the 2009-10 academic year.