Biochemistry seniors Kelly Hunter and Grace Johnson won awards for their research at the 253rd American Chemical Society National Meeting and Exposition, attended by some 18,000 scientists in San Francisco earlier this year. Johnson and Hunter were among five undergraduate winners recognized with an award for their work.
Emily Jarvis, associate professor of chemistry and biochemistry, mentored both students who presented their research at a special Computational/Theoretical Chemistry section of the meeting.
Johnson started her research on solar energy conversion over the summer of 2016, funded by the Frank R. Seaver College of Science and Engineering’s Summer Research Scholarship Program. Johnson, Jarvis and experimental collaborators in Russia looked at the effect of surface oxygen depletion on the ability of titanium dioxide to act as a catalyst for solar energy conversion.
Johnson also spent the fall crafting her honor’s thesis from this work and collaborating with Jarvis on a publication that is under review in the journal Surface Science.
Kelly Hunter’s research – also funded by the Seaver Summer Research Scholarship Program – investigates the water oxidation mechanism to try to find a source of clean, renewable energy using ruthenium and iron as mononuclear metal catalysts.
The idea is to capture energy from sunlight and simulate photosynthesis – the way plants create energy – ultimately to produce clean and renewable carbon-free fuel.
Check out Hunter and Johnson’s full stories: