Professor Receives Organic Syntheses Grant to Fund Student Research

Published: November 04, 2019 | Author: Kierstin Pitcher-Holloway | Read Time: 1 minutes

Nathan Werner and studentsSouthern Utah University chemistry professor Dr. Nathan Werner recently received a grant from Organic Syntheses allowing him to work with chemistry major Luke Shaner to conduct a ten-week study to develop a chemical method to synthesize potential beta-lactam antibiotics in a single step.

The nationally competitive Organic Syntheses grant program provides summer research grants for faculty at primarily undergraduate institutions. The grants award $8,000 to a faculty member who then selects an undergraduate coworker from among the students in their department. 

"Students typically must volunteer their time to conduct undergraduate research and gain the experience that is required for competitive graduate programs," said Dr. Werner “It’s really challenging for some students because, how do you pay your bills when you’re volunteering 40 hours a week? It is really special to get paid to do undergraduate research."

The grant stipulated that a student help conduct the research, and encouraged grant recipients to choose students that were aspiring professional chemists. Dr. Werner offered the position to Shaner because he was an excellent organic chemistry student and skilled in lab work.

“Sometimes you go into different fields and you learn all this information in school but you have no idea what the actual job will look like,” said Shaner. “Everything I was doing was very useful for jobs in the future and graduate school.”

Dr. Werner applied for the grant knowing that his idea was solid and that it would be found interesting but knew that it was a nationally competitive grant and would only be awarded to a few applicants.

“Excellent chemists at prestigious institutions receive this award,” said Dr. Werner. “I am very humbled.”

The SUU Chemistry department works hard to provide its students with hands-on experience that will qualify them to seek employment and further education in the field. Learn more about SUU’s chemistry program

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