NSF awards CAREER and MRI grants to Rowan chemist

The National Science Foundation (NSF) has awarded two grants to Associate Professor Gustavo Moura-Letts from the chemistry and biochemistry department. Professor Moura-Letts was bestowed with the NSF CAREER award ($525K) for his efforts in developing new families of chemical reagents for the synthesis of nitrogen-containing small-molecules. Additionally, Professor Moura-Letts along with colleagues Subash Jonnalagadda, Joseph Stanzione and Lark Perez were awarded a Major Research Instrumentation ($300K) grant for the acquisition of state-of-the-art Bruker Avance Neo 400 MHz NMR spectrometer equipped with a cryoprobe.

“Both awards highlight the College of Science and Mathematics’ commitment to continue to produce state-of-the-art research with undergraduate and graduate students,” commented Moura-Letts. “The faculty is committed to elevate the large undergraduate research working force to compete at the highest level in the scientific community.”

The research associated with the NSF CAREER award involves nitrogen-containing small-molecules which are significant for the construction of medicines and can be found among several commercial drugs. Because of their therapeutic value, there is a significant need for the continued development of short and selective chemical reactions for the production of these nitrogen-containing drug molecules. The goal of his research is to take advantage of the unique chemical properties of developed reagents that allow for the groundbreaking construction of a wide variety of nitrogen-containing small-molecules. This project will also develop mechanisms to advance undergraduate students and returning veterans efforts in chemical research.

This NMR spectrometer is the first of its generation among academic institutions in the region and will allow the advancement of research in the College of Science and Mathematics for a variety of scientific fields. Nuclear Magnetic Resonance (NMR) spectroscopy is one of the most powerful tools available to scientists for the structural elucidation of molecules. Access to such NMR spectrometers is essential for scientists who are carrying out cutting-edge research. The acquisition will also positively impact several institutions in the greater South Jersey area and will allow the participation of many STEM students.