Nanotechnology Project

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Environment, Health and Safety Research

Alabama Research Infrastructure Improvement

Project Information

Principal InvestigatorDaryush Ila
InstitutionUniversity of Alabama Tuscaloosa
Project URLView
Relevance to ImplicationsMarginal
Class of NanomaterialGeneric
Impact SectorCross-cutting
Broad Research Categories Characterization
NNI identifierc7-5

Funding Information

Anticipated Total Funding$6,200,000.00
Annual Funding$2,066,666.67
Funding SourceNSF
Funding Mechanism
Funding SectorGovernment
Start Year2005
Anticipated End Year2008


The proposal submitted the University of Alabama Tuscaloosa in response to Program Solicitation NSF04-564, EPSCoR Research Infrastructure Improvement (RII) Grant Program, is a coordinated, collaborative statewide effort aimed at improving the State’s science and technology competitiveness through effective partnerships among the seven doctoral-granting higher education institutions. These institutions are: Alabama A&M (AAMU), Auburn University (AU), the University of Alabama Tuscaloosa (UA), the University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB), the University of Alabama at Huntsville (UAH), Tuskegee University (TU), and the University of South Alabama (USA). This proposed RII program will establish four centers of excellence, each representing a consortium of universities and focusing on a critical research theme. The proposed centers of excellence are: (1) Extended Alabama Structural Biology (EASBC), (2) Center for Environmental Cellular Signal Transduction (CECST), (3) Center for Optical Sensors and Spectroscopies (COSS), and (4) Alabama Center for Nanostructured Materials (ACNM). The intellectual merit of the proposal is drawn from each of the four centers and is enhanced by the increased collaborations and synergies that will exist among them. The EASBC will determine the three-dimensional structure of biomolecules that are key for understanding function and aid in structure-based drug design. Product applications will include new compounds for treatment of diseases. The CECST will employ tools of operomics, bioinformatics, and statistical genetics to define the molecular of stress signaling and how these signaling cascade in microbial, plant, and animal systems to affect resilience in the face of environmental extremes. Discoveries will aid industry in the development of strategies to harden economically important biosystems against environmental disturbance. The COSS will explore new optical sensors for the detection of environmental contaminants and toxic materials using recently developed laser and spectroscopic technologies. Applications include counter-terrorism-related detection of chemical/biological warfare agents and their precursors. The ACNM will harness the benefits of nanoparticle infusion for the manufacture of bulk nanostructures materials with superior mechanical, chemical, optical, electrical, and thermal properties. EPSCoR funding will enable the centers to establish shared facilities and, consequently, achieve a broad impact for the State by providing critical mass and infrastructure for research, increasing diversity among participants, promoting K-12 interest in science, and developing new economic opportunities. The proposal brings biologists, optical scientists, environmental scientists, material scientists, chemists, and biochemists in an environment of interdisciplinary research and education for new discoveries in biotechnology, nanotechnology, and sensing. Furthermore, the proposal infuses new and unique equipment, as well as highly capable faculty and graduate fellows into the centers, promoting research, education, and collaborations. Two of the state’s HBCUs are leading one of the centers (ACNM), which foster significant participation of underrepresented groups. The proposed K-12 outreach will establish early interest in the scientific areas critical to the State’s overall development.