The National Science Foundation (NSF) has established a new research institute at Stanford University dedicated to tackling environmental pollution problems at the molecular level. A major focus of the Stanford Environmental Molecular Science Institute will be on how heavy metal contamination in water, soils and sediments interacts with the surfaces of environmental solids and bacteria.
''We live in a world of interfaces among solids, liquids, gases, microbial organisms and plants, which are the locations of most chemical and biological interactions in the environment,'' said Gordon E. Brown Jr., the Dorrell William Kirby Professor of Geology and professor and chair of the Stanford Synchrotron Radiation Laboratory (SSRL) faculty. ''Such interactions have a major impact on the fate of environmental contaminants.''
Brown is principal investigator of the institute, which will receive $7.5 million over the next five years-$6.7 million from NSF and $800,000 from the Department of Energy. The co-principal investigators from Stanford are Alfred M. Spormann, an associate professor of civil and environmental engineering; Anders R. Nilsson, an associate professor at SSRL; Scott Fendorf, an associate professor of geological and environmental sciences; and Kelly Gaffney, an assistant professor at SSRL.
The Stanford team will collaborate with scientists and engineers at seven other institutions-Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, the National Institute of Standards and Technology, the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, Princeton University, the University of Alaska-Fairbanks, the U.S. Geological Survey and the University of Paris VI and VII. Four corporations also are involved in the partnership: Corning, DuPont, Skeletal Kinetics and Zyomyx.
Institute members will use a variety of molecular-level tools-including synchrotron radiation-based spectroscopy and imaging methods at SSRL and Lawrence Berkeley Laboratory, as well as quantum chem
Contact: Mark Shwartz