Professors earn Welch grants for chemistry research

earn Welch grants for chemistry research


Rice News Staff

With the support of the Welch Foundation, several Rice professors
will advance their research in the areas of nanotechnology
and biochemistry.

Rice is receiving
11 new grants totaling $1,680,000 from the Welch Foundation,
one of the nation’s oldest and largest sources of private
funding for basic chemistry research.

The three-year
grants each provide a minimum of $150,000 in funding, a
$15,000 increase over last year’s minimum funding level.
The Welch Foundation is awarding nearly $22.5 million in
grants to 135 scientists at 27 Texas institutions.

Rice researchers
receiving grants are Rick Barrera, associate professor of
mechanical engineering and materials science, “Highly
Integrated Nanotube Molecular Composites”; Philip Brooks,
professor of chemistry, “Studies of Electron Transfer
Processes”; Naomi Halas, professor in electrical and
computer engineering and chemistry, “Chemistry and
Photophysics at Layered Nanoparticle Surfaces”; Junichiro
Kono, assistant professor in electrical and computer engineering,
“Infrared Dynamics of Carbon Nanotubes”; Kevin
MacKenzie, assistant professor of biochemistry and cell
biology, “Physical Chemistry of Protein-Protein Interactions
in Membrane Environments”; James McNew, assistant professor
of biochemistry and cell biology, “Isolation and Identification
of Proteins Involved in Cell-to-Cell Membrane Fusion”;
Douglas Natelson, assistant professor of physics and astronomy,
“Transport Spectroscopy of Molecular Electronic Systems”;
Peter Nordlander, professor of physics and astronomy, “Theoretical
Investigation of Chemical Properties of Nanosystems”;
Qimiao Si, associate professor of physics and astronomy,
“Theoretical Studies of Electronic Transport in the
Carbon Nanotubes”; Richard Smalley, the Gene and Norman
Hackerman Professor of Chemistry and professor of physics,
“Fullerene Nanostructures”; and Ken Whitmire,
department chair and professor of chemistry, “Chemistry
of the Main Group Elements.”

The Welch Foundation
was established in 1954 by the estate of Robert A. Welch,
an oil and minerals entrepreneur. In addition to awarding
individual research grants, the organization hosts an annual
chemical research conference, provides grants to chemistry
departments at small and medium-sized educational institutions
in Texas, underwrites 39 academic chairs in chemistry, organizes
a visiting lecture series of prominent scientists and supports
programs for high school students and teachers.

The foundation
also presents the annual Welch Award in Chemistry, a $300,000
prize given for lifetime achievement in chemistry, and the
Norman Hackerman Award in Chemical Research, a $100,000
prize named for Rice’s former president that recognizes
the work of young researchers in Texas.

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