Science & Tech

Plant detective: Missouri S&T professor studies plants as “bio-sentinels” of indoor pollution

Posted by on November 8, 2018

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Behold the common house plant, the front-yard shrub, the rhododendron around back that’s seen better days since the next-door neighbors put their home on the market. They brighten our lawns, increase our property values, even boost our mental and physical health by reducing carbon dioxide levels.
For Dr. Joel Burken, such plants are far more valuable than as mere window dressing. The Curators’ Distinguished Professor and chair of civil, architectural and environmental engineering at Missouri University of Science and Technology is an expert in phytoforensics, the process of using plants to study human exposure to pollutants.

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FYRE program advances freshman’s STEM passion

Posted by on October 23, 2018

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Kaysi Lee came to Missouri S&T last fall with a passion for science that had been nurtured through the years by her female high school science teachers and by her parents. But when she arrived at S&T, she was surprised at how difficult she initially found her STEM coursework.

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Chemistry undergraduate completes summer fellowship with gratitude and a published, peer-reviewed paper

Posted by on August 29, 2018

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Rachel Nixon, a junior in chemistry at Missouri S&T and recipient of the new Carey and Christine Bottom Endowed Scholarship in Undergraduate Chemistry Research, is thankful for the 10-week program she completed this summer. Working in Dr. Risheng Wang’s bionanotechnology lab eight hours a day, Nixon finished her peer-reviewed, published paper for a DNA-origami project already underway, then began a new project.

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Missouri S&T chemist rolls the dice to better identify chiral molecules in drugs

Posted by on August 16, 2018

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“High risk, high reward” is the kind of discovery Dr. Garry Grubbs seeks with a new experiment designed to rapidly identify the atomic structure of chiral molecules widely used in pharmaceutical drugs. The finding could significantly reduce the time and costs involved in pharmaceutical development and manufacturing.

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Ozark Biomedical Initiative Research Symposium to be held Aug. 18

Posted by on August 7, 2018

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Researchers from Missouri S&T and Phelps County Regional Medical Center (PCRMC) will present their research at an annual symposium hosted by the Ozark Biomedical Initiative (OBI) on Saturday, Aug. 18.

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Missouri S&T to receive $1.7M in federal support for nuclear engineering research, student scholarships and campus reactor upgrades

Posted by on July 26, 2018

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The nuclear engineering program at Missouri S&T has recently been awarded a total of $1.7 million in federal support for research, student scholarships and safety upgrades to the university’s nuclear research reactor. The federal investment marks a strong commitment to one of the top nuclear engineering programs in the nation, says Dr. Richard Wlezien, vice provost and dean of engineering and computing at Missouri S&T.

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Missouri S&T biochemical engineer patents low-cost method of removing bacterial toxins from fluids

Posted by on July 12, 2018

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By some estimates, 18 million people die each year from sepsis triggered by endotoxins – fragments of the outer membranes of bacteria. A biochemical engineer at Missouri S&T has patented a method of removing these harmful elements from water and also from pharmaceutical formulations. Her goal: improve drug safety and increase access to clean drinking water in the developing world.
The technique, as outlined in a July 2016 article in the journal Nanotechnology, involves a one-step phase separation method, using a syringe pump, to synthesize the nanoparticles. Those polymer nanoparticles have a high endotoxin removal efficiency of nearly 1 million endotoxin units per milliliter of water, using only a few micrograms of the material.

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Researchers mimic Legos for molecular building blocks, earn $411,000 NSF grant

Posted by on June 28, 2018

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Scientists at Missouri S&T are drawing inspiration from toy building blocks to create fixed molecular units used to accelerate the material discovery process known as rational design. They’ll use these “molecular blocks” to discover highly ionic conductive materials that could be used to make today’s much sought after all-solid-state lithium batteries.

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Not always bad—MXenes’ spontaneous oxidation harnessed to create 2-D nanocomposites

Posted by on June 19, 2018

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Researchers at Missouri S&T have discovered a new way to harness the potential of a type of spontaneously oxidized MXene thin films, to create nanocomposites that could sense both light and the environment. Previously, such spontaneous oxidation was considered detrimental because it degrades the MXene structure. The research is published in the June 2018 issue of ACS Nano, one of Google Scholar’s top-rated, peer-reviewed scientific journals.

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Rock-and-roll grandpa earns doctoral degree for research on using desert shrub as asphalt recycling agent

Posted by on May 23, 2018

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He’s driven the backroads with some of the biggest names in rock and roll, from Def Leppard and KISS to John Denver and the Eurythmics, hauling both gear and performers as a truck- and bus-driving roadie. Yet despite his many brushes with fame, what gets Mike Lusher most excited these days is his research into an unassuming desert shrub that some predict will revolutionize the rubber industry. A fascination with the guayule (why-YOO-lee) plant that began a dozen years ago while watching an episode of The History Channel show “Modern Marvels” has culminated in a Ph.D. in civil engineering for the 64-year-old grandfather, who received his diploma at May 12 commencement.

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