This award from the Division of Chemistry (CHE) supports a Research Experience for Undergraduates (REU) site led by Christian Brueckner at the University of Connecticut. The research projects supported in this site are in a wide range of areas of chemistry. Undergraduates will be recruited to this site from regional colleges and universities that lack opportunities for undergraduate research. The site will continue a fruitful collaboration with students and faculty from Central Connecticut State University. The site will support eight undergraduate research students per summer in a ten week program. A sample of the projects that researchers will work on include: (1) the synthesis and study of protein-based (bacteriorhodopsin and variants) photovoltaic devices; (2) the synthesis of interesting pyrrole-modified porphyrins; (3) the synthesis and study of shape-memory polymer materials; (4) the development of biocatalytic nanomaterials for chemical applications; (5) the study of the many roles and mechanisms of carotenoids in photosynthetic processes; and (6) the study of the conversion of biomass into useful fuels and chemicals. In addition to conducting research during the summer, the students participating in this program will participate in a number of professional development activities, including training in scientific ethics and communication.
Young scientists need exposure to modern research methods and tools as part of their training. This REU site aims to provide students without significant research experience a chance to conduct cutting-edge research in the chemical sciences with dedicated faculty mentors at this major university. The diverse student cohort participating in research at this site will be well-prepared for further study in the chemical sciences, and graduate school, with eventual employment as part of the country's technical workforce.