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Villanova University Awarded $377,595 NSF Grant for Mass Spectrometer to Enhance Chemistry Research and Education

Villanova, PA – The National Science Foundation has awarded $377,595 to Villanova University for the acquisition of a liquid chromatography tandem mass spectrometer to enhance undergraduate research and teaching in Chemistry in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences. 

Mass spectrometry is one of the key analytical methods used to identify and characterize small quantities of chemical species in complex samples. An instrument with a liquid chromatograph can separate mixtures of compounds before they reach the mass spectrometer. The NSF award supports the acquisition of a quadrupole time-of-flight mass spectrometer equipped with a liquid chromatograph to support the research and education of Chemistry faculty and students, as well as those in Chemical and Biological Engineering.

The new instrument will be housed in Mendel Science Center and will have an immediate impact on the work of grant principal investigator Anthony Lagalante, PhD, professor of Chemistry, and co-principal investigators Aimee Eggler, PhD, associate professor of Chemistry, Biochemistry; Jacob Elmer, PhD, associate professor and Dicianni Endowed Professor of Chemical and Biological Engineering; Daniel Kraut, PhD, associate professor of Chemistry; and Kevin Minbiole, PhD, professor and chair of Chemistry, as well as other faculty members.  

“It’s the last ‘piece of the puzzle’ for our instrumentation suite, which now benefits from three NSF grants,” said Dr. Minbiole. “Altogether, it’s a state-of-the-art suite for molecular characterization, supporting a vibrant department with 10 active NSF grants, plus other groups on- and off-campus.”

The mass spectrometer especially impacts developing methods of paint pigment analysis for art conservation, the testing of the effectiveness of the insecticide imidacloprid and its metabolites on the hemlock woolly adelgid, and the impact of these compounds on native pollinators. The instrument will also be used for understanding the process of protein degradation, as well as for elucidating host cell response to gene therapy.

Villanova University offers undergraduate degrees in both Chemistry and Biochemistry, as well as a combined five-year BS/MS in Chemistry, and a MS in Chemistry.

About Villanova University’s College of Liberal Arts and Sciences: Since its founding in 1842, Villanova University’s College of Liberal Arts and Sciences has cultivated knowledge, understanding and intellectual courage for a purposeful life in a challenging and changing world. With more than 40 majors across the humanities, social sciences and natural sciences, it is the oldest and largest of Villanova’s colleges, serving more than 4,500 undergraduate and graduate students each year. The College is committed to a teacher-scholar model, offering outstanding undergraduate and graduate research opportunities and a rigorous core curriculum that prepares students to become critical thinkers, strong communicators and ethical leaders with a truly global perspective.