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Award Abstract #1429113

MRI: Acquisition of an Intuitive Multi-Touch Scanning Electron Microscope to Enhance Research as well as Undergraduate Student Research and Natural Science Courses

Div Of Biological Infrastructure
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Initial Amendment Date: August 5, 2014
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Latest Amendment Date: August 5, 2014
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Award Number: 1429113
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Award Instrument: Standard Grant
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Program Manager: Robert Fleischmann
DBI Div Of Biological Infrastructure
BIO Direct For Biological Sciences
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Start Date: September 1, 2014
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End Date: August 31, 2017 (Estimated)
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Awarded Amount to Date: $161,039.00
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Investigator(s): Matthew Lehnert mlehner1@kent.edu (Principal Investigator)
Eric Taylor (Co-Principal Investigator)
Jeremy Green (Co-Principal Investigator)
Carrie Schweitzer (Co-Principal Investigator)
Kim Finer (Co-Principal Investigator)
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Sponsor: Kent State University
KENT, OH 44242-0001 (330)672-2070
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Program Reference Code(s):
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Program Element Code(s): 1189


This Major Research Instrumentation (MRI) award will fund the acquisition of a multi-functional scanning electron microscope (SEM) to support research and teaching initiatives at Kent State University at Stark. The JEOL SEM will accommodate innovative faculty research projects that span multiple disciplines, and deliver novel, hands-on research opportunities for the undergraduate students in our expanding science program. Researchers, educators, and students, including those at neighboring K-12 school systems with underrepresented groups, will have the opportunity to explore insect structures, bacteria, fossils, and minerals at the micro-scale with high-resolution, 3D images produced by the SEM. In addition, the remote control capabilities of the SEM will enhance science courses by allowing students to watch SEM usage in real time during lectures, via computers installed in the classroom.

The user-friendly SEM and additional hardware and software accessories include Energy Dispersive X-ray Microanalysis system (EDS) for quantifying elemental properties of structures and minerals and 3-D image software for topographical analysis. It will accommodate faculty research and provide research opportunities for undergraduate students. In particular, current and future interdisciplinary research projects include the examination of 1) convergent evolution in insect mouthparts, particularly butterflies and flies, to study structure and function relationships associated with fluid uptake mechanisms, 2) changes in cuticle (shell) structure and composition of fossilized decapods (i.e., lobsters, shrimp) over evolutionary time, 3) dental microwear patterns (i.e., scars on teeth) of extinct vertebrates to better understand their ecology and feeding habits, 4) surface microtopography and chemical reactivity of minerals associated with human health, and 5) the physical relationship between the filamentous form of Agrobacterium and plant transformation. The acquired images will be uploaded to pre-existing NSF-funded databases for public access. The SEM, with its real time remote control functionality, will integrate into existing undergraduate courses, including Evolution and General Microbiology, and new courses, such as Virology and Principles of Microscopy. The SEM also will supplement K-12 science courses through workshops for teachers to acquire their own images and learn the remote control usage. This instrument aquisition will be a highly valued addition to the new science building at Kent State University at Stark and will enrich and provide unique opportunities of inquiry to our vibrant, growing research programs.


Please report errors in award information by writing to: awardsearch@nsf.gov.



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