The Historically Black Colleges and Universities Research Infrastructure for Science and Engineering (HBCU-RISE) activity within the Centers of Research Excellence in Science and Technology (CREST) program supports the development of research capability at HBCUs that offer doctoral degrees in science and engineering disciplines. HBCU-RISE projects have a direct connection to the long-term plans of the host department(s) and the institutional mission, and plans for expanding institutional research capacity as well as increasing the production of doctoral students in science and engineering. With support from the National Science Foundation, Jackson State University (JSU) aims to develop a research and educational program that will prepare chemistry undergraduate (RISE Scholars) and graduate students (RISE Fellows) to be globally competitive by: recruiting highly talented doctoral students with an interest in nanochemistry; providing faculty-led mentoring of interdisciplinary research activities for doctoral students; supporting leadership development activities for doctoral students; developing new courses toward a unique updated curriculum for the JSU chemistry doctoral program; upgrading the lab equipment to support the expansion of nanochemistry research; and generating collaborative-interdisciplinary research among faculty members and doctoral students who will give presentations and publish. The purposes of this proposal are to (a) improve and expand the institution's research and educational capability in order to prepare African Americans and women to become effective future generation of scientists for our nation and (b) to increase the number and quality of minority students through the effective preparation of the next generation of US scientists.
The JSU-RISE interdisciplinary faculty mentors will collaborate on a research project pertaining to the chemical design and development of novel multifunctional carbon quantum dots (CQDs) based fluorescence imaging materials and demonstrate their possible application for biological and chemical imaging. The goal is to establish synthetic procedures to develop different types CQDs as imaging materials for targeted sensing of several pathogenic bacteria and viruses simultaneously. The proposed research applies an integrated approach combining nanoscience, organic chemistry, and theory to construct interfaces that give quantitative information about chemical activities at the nano interface. The research activities will include: a) developing synthetic procedures for bright and photo stable CQDs such as graphene oxide quantum dots, carbon dots and metal doped graphene dots; b) measuring the two photon absorption cross section by measuring two-photon luminescence intensity; c) finding the photo-stability and biocompatibility of the developed CQDs; d) demonstrating CQDs based near IR imaging of bio-molecules for the selective and simultaneous sensing of several waterborne pathogens; and e) using quantum chemical calculations to understand the interaction between CQDs and biological molecules. The goals of this proposal are well-aligned with the ongoing developmental plan of JSU to become one of the region's foremost centers for nanotechnology with the aim of making devices that can be used for daily life applications.