Discipline: Chemistry & Chemical Sciences
Subcategory: STEM Research
Jerzy Leszczynski - Jackson State University
Environmental effects of chemical compounds are among leading challenges of the 21st Century. Notably, applications and production of nano-scale materials has exploded in the past 50 years. Currently there are at least 1400 commercial products based on nanomaterials. Understanding of structures, characteristics and biological activities of man-made nanomaterials is critical to prediction of their impacts on the environment and human health. Nanoparticle exposure is common, but short- and long-term exposure effects are currently not fully understood, especially since the primary and agglomerate sizes, surface area, and the characteristics of the surface play such important roles. Conversely, nanotechnology can also be used to create new nanomedicines, sensors, pollutant filters and nanocatalysts with important societal benefits. There is a compelling need of studying potential toxicity of nanomaterials and advancing of efficient, fast and inexpensive computational approaches able to predict toxicity of new species before their industrial applications. The collaborative activities of the Center’s faculty, staff and students focus on investigation of structures and properties of various nanomaterials, study of their potential applications and evaluation of their toxicity. This is accomplished by development of prominent interactions among experimental and computational groups and execution of joined research that would not be possible without the Center’s organization. The Center’s activities are essential to support safety advance of nanotechnology by providing tools for evaluation of toxicity of new nanomaterials before their commercial applications. The students supported by the Center are involved in training which combines the state-of-the-art experimental and computational techniques applied to nanomaterials. The educational and research activities are strengthen by interaction with the Jackson K-12 school system, the NSF Center for Chemical Evolution at Georgia Tech and various international groups. The Center is a leader in the area of prediction of toxicity of nanomaterials and one of the largest producer of African American chemistry Ph.D. graduates in the nation. The Center combines research and educational activities with well-designed outreach initiatives. There are two annual conference series that have been initiated and executed. For the last twenty four years we have been organizing and securing funding for a series of Conferences on Current Trends in Computational Chemistry (CCTCC). This is supplemented by the 16th Southern School on Computational Chemistry and Materials Sciences (SSCCMS) Conference.
Funder Acknowledgement(s): The Major funder of this project is the NSF Centers of Research Excellence in Science and Technology. This project is also carried out in collaboration with other agencies and funders: a) Office of Naval Research; b) Army Research Office
Faculty Advisor: None Listed,