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NSF grant supports workshop on Nuclear Magnetic Resonance

Nuclear Magnetic Resonance (NMR) is one of the most powerful technologies that provide useful structural information about chemical compounds. To foster knowledge of and facilitate access to this technology, WKU’s Department of Chemistry hosted a thematic NMR workshop on June 18-21.

The workshop was supported by a National Science Foundation grant from the Course, Curriculum, and Laboratory Improvement (CCLI) program, whose primary goal is to establish an equal and sustainable partnership between WKU and Elizabethtown Community and Technical College (ECTC) by integrating two Anasazi Fourier Transform NMR spectrometers simultaneously across the chemistry curriculum at both institutions. This collaborative project is led by Dr. Rui Zhang, Dr. Darwin Dahl, Dr. Lester Pesterfield and Dr. Cathleen Webb in the WKU’s Chemistry Department and Dr. Shawn Kellie and Professor Sue Ballard, who are chemistry faculty members at ECTC.

The four one-day workshops brought together a broad community of participants including teachers and students from local high schools, students from another WKU NSF program (Research Experiences for Undergraduates Land Use/Land Cover in the Upper Green River Watershed led by Dr. Cathleen Webb and Dr. Rezaul Mahmood), faculty and students from the partner institution (ECTC), and WKU research and graduate students.

The workshop was conducted on a lecture-experiment format to encourage active participation by all registrants. Aspects of the chemistry and organic synthesis of the wonder drug, Aspirin, and its analysis and structural elucidation by NMR analysis were covered in a one-day program. The workshop provided a working knowledge as well as hands-on experience with NMR and chemical synthesis and imparted an understanding of the capabilities and usefulness of modern instrumental analysis in selected chemical applications.

The participating faculty members from WKU and ECTC also shared insights and experiences related to NMR training procedure, teaching pedagogy, laboratory exercise, and plans for the possible Phase II funding.

Contact: Dr. Rui Zhang, (270) 745-3786.

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