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Dr. Dane Scott, assistant professor of chemistry at East Central University, has been awarded a $10,000 OK EPSCoR Research Opportunity Award (ROA) to perform bioenergy research this summer at Oklahoma State University.

He will conduct research on catalysts for biofuel production from cellulosic materials. His lab sponsor is Nicholas Materer of Oklahoma State University.

“The goal is to convert biomass such as grasses and wood chips to ethanol which is an important product and fuel. The first step in the process is conversion to simple sugars that can be fermented, and the goal is to reduce the amount of time this process takes, Scott said.

“A molybdenum hydrogen bronze nanoparticulate solution has been identified as a potential reagent that accomplishes this task by increasing the rate of conversion to simple sugars. Our work this summer will be to optimize this process and apply it to real biomass samples,” he explained.

The EPSCoR (Experimental Program to Stimulate Competitive Research) ROA program offers faculty members from primarily undergraduate institutions the opportunity to perform summer research in laboratories at comprehensive research campuses in Oklahoma.

The ROAs enhance regional faculty members’ personal research experiences, while also supporting the development of ongoing collaborations with faculty at the comprehensive research campuses. The collaborations expand and enhance Oklahoma’s bioenergy research efforts across the state.

Scott came to ECU last August from Coastal Carolina University in Conway, S.C., where he had taught since 2008. He was a teaching assistant at Oklahoma State University while completing a doctorate in chemistry.

Two faculty members from Northeastern State University also have been awarded $10,000 OK EPSCoR Research Opportunity Awards to perform bioenergy research. Ratnakar Deole and James Hicks will work in a laboratory at the University of Oklahoma.

Deole’s research is titled “The Genome Sequence of Oscillatoria limnetica: Clues to Diverse Third Generation Bioenergy Production.” Hicks will conduct spectroscopic analysis of liquid mixtures for biofuels applications.

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