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Thursday, September 28, 2017

Two Kansas Assistant Professors receive NSF EPSCoR Track-4 Awards

NSF EPSCoR Track-4 Award recipients,
Dr. Katie Mitchell-Koch and Dr. Joycelyn McDonald
   Congratulations to Dr. Katie Mitchell-Koch, Assistant Professor of Chemistry at Wichita State University (WSU) and Kansas NSF EPSCoR first award recipient, and Dr. Joycelyn McDonald  Assistant Professor of Biology at Kansas State University (KSU) who have both received NSF EPSCoR Track 4 Awards.
    The NSF EPSCoR Track- 4  provides up to $200,000 of funding for non-tenured investigators to visit and utilize the nation’s premier private, governmental, or academic research centers.  These research experiences are designed to enhance their individual research potential.  Through these visits, the EPSCoR Track-4 Research Fellows gain access to and learn new research techniques using unique equipment and facilities. Furthermore, the research experience and networking connections gained through this program lead to future research collaborations and are expected to build research capacity in their institutions and jurisdictions.
      Dr. Mitchell-Koch has titled her research project Electronic Structure Calculations to Characterize Mechanisms of Regioselective Additions to Olefins and to Advance P-31 NMR as a Reporter of Catalytic Intermediate.  The project’s intent is to create a better understanding of chemical reactions between metals and organic compounds and study the mechanisms and potential molecular structures involved in these reactions. She hopes to optimize reaction processes and predict molecular structures similar to those used for the synthesis of drug candidates and pharmaceuticals.  Dr. Mitchell-Koch and her students will travel to the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign (UIUC) to use the resources available at the National Center for Super-computing Applications.  
    Dr. McDonald will focus her research on creating a better understanding of the development of collectives, a group of cells, as they move together to help form tissues and organs within fruit fly embryos. Her project is titled Dynamic Live Imaging and Manipulation of Migrating Collectives Inside Tissues.  Dr. McDonald and a postdoctoral fellow will travel to the University of California, Santa Barbara to learn new advanced microscopic methods that can reveal how collectives move in tissues as well as how to use light to control cell movements. She and her postdoctoral fellow will then bring these advanced techniques back to KSU.