May 02, 2016
Eva Rose M. Balog, Ph.D., assistant professor in the Department of Chemistry, was recently awarded a grant for more than $38,000 from the National Science Foundation's Early-concept Grants for Exploratory Research (EAGER) program.
With this two-year grant, Balog will collaborate with Jeffrey Halpern, Ph.D., assistant professor of chemical engineering at the University of New Hampshire, to develop new biosensors using genetically engineered proteins and electrochemical detection. The ultimate goal of their research is to develop a new sensitive and selective sensor for carotenoids, a class of molecules with antioxidant properties that includes nutrients such as beta-carotene and lycopene. Improved sensing technology would enable deeper, more quantitative biochemical studies of the role of carotenoids in human health.
This project will provide UNE undergraduate students with the opportunity to engage in cross-disciplinary, collaborative research. Balog and Halpern plan to host several combined group lab meetings and an annual mini-symposium at which students will present their work.
According to the NSF, the EAGER funding mechanism "can be used to support exploratory work in its early stages on untested, but potentially transformative, research ideas or approaches. This work could be considered especially ‘high risk-high payoff’ in the sense that it involves radically different approaches, applies new expertise, or engages novel disciplinary or interdisciplinary perspectives."