Clarkson prof receives $496,000 National Science Foundation award for biomed research
Tuesday, June 29, 2010 - 6:58 am

POTSDAM -- Silvana Andreescu, assistant professor of chemistry and biomolecular science at Clarkson University, has received a CAREER Award from the National Science Foundation (NSF) for $496,290 over five years for her research on biomimetic materials and biosensing.

Andreescu's research focuses on the development, characterization and applications of advanced materials for biomedical, biotechnological and biosensing applications. Her research could enable design of a new generation of bio-mimetic materials and devices with greater stability, robustness and suitability for long-term operation in extreme environments.

Through her NSF CAREER project, Andreescu plans to investigate novel biomimetic materials with interesting catalytic and sensory functions. These materials have the ability to mimic and eventually replace traditional biological catalysts, which often suffer from limited stability, high cost, and inability to function outside their natural environment. The second goal is to implement them in novel sensing platforms for a variety of biomedical applications.

"We are looking to construct devices that could be used by researchers to study biomolecular mechanisms at cell and organ levels and by physicians for the early diagnosis and treatment of disease," says Andreescu.

Andreescu has been instrumental in developing new course materials for the chemistry and biomolecular science majors at Clarkson and has been heavily involved in Clarkson's K-12 initiatives.

The Faculty Early Career Development (CAREER) Program is an NSF-wide activity that offers the foundation's most prestigious awards in support of junior faculty who exemplify the role of teacher-scholars through outstanding research, excellent education and the integration of education and research.

Andreescu has received NSF support to develop bionanotechnology laboratory experiments to revamp the chemistry curriculum by implementing new and emerging technologies in the undergraduate teaching labs. She has provided international research opportunities to several Clarkson students through NSF-sponsored research and is the co-director of the NSF Research Experiences for Undergraduates (REU) program in Environmental Science and Engineering at Clarkson. Andreescu's NSF CAREER project will provide opportunities to integrate research and education through cross-disciplinary student training in the research lab. At Clarkson, the project will impact course development, student training, recruitment and mentoring.

"The grant will enable me to incorporate educational activities into my research, recruit talented students and provide enhanced opportunities for Clarkson undergraduates to conduct independent research," says Andreescu.

Through this program, she will develop a new upper-level course and inquiry-based laboratory modules that will enhance accessibility to modern scientific technologies. The grant will also fund educational programs on her research designed for K12 students and teachers. Together with her graduate and undergraduate students, Andreescu will develop teaching materials that are transferable to other institutions and a large number of students including local high-schools and community colleges.

Andreescu has been a faculty member in the Department of Chemistry and Biomolecular Science since 2005. She has published more than 50 peer-reviewed journal articles, three patents, 10 book chapters, conference papers and reports, and delivered some 100 papers at professional and academic conferences throughout the world.

Andreescu has secured external research funding totaling about $1.3 million from the NSF, the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA) and several other funding agencies. She is a co-founder of Neuroredox Inc, a start up company whose mission is to develop nanoparticle-based technologies for diagnosis and therapy of brain diseases.