With this award from the Major Research Instrumentation program (MRI) and the Chemistry Research Instrumentation and Facilities program (CRIF), Virginia Wesleyan College will acquire a gas-chromatagraph and mass spectrometer analyzer (GC/MS). Gas chromatagraphy is a powerful technique employed to separate complex mixtures into individual components for further identification. This analysis will be performed in the mass spectometer where the separated components are injected for determination of their masses to aid characterization. The spectometer ionizes the components into a parent ion and smaller fragment ions and measures each of their masses. This highly sensitive technique allows detection and determination of the structure of the molecules in a complex mixture. The instrument will be used by undergraduate research students to advance their research projects and by students in laboratory courses using modern instrumentation. It will prepare them for technical careers and advanced educational opportunities.
The proposal is aimed at enhancing research and education especially in areas such as (a) investigating the potential of natural products (specifically sea sponge toxins) for possible use in pharmaceuticals; (b) evaluating green chemistry practices for the development of pharmaceutical feedstocks; (c) evaluating and characterizing metal ion coordination materials for use as sensors; (d) evaluating the effectiveness of environmental pollution reduction measures; and (e) investigating plant evolution through the examination of the plant sterol pathway.