Chemistry Research at Tusculum
Searching for Bioactive Compounds in Local Fungi
Professors Richard Thompson (Chemistry) and Melissa Keller (Biology) have formed a collaborative research venture exploring the rich biodiversity of the Southern Appalachian Mountains. Dr. Keller leads students on hikes at a local state park to catalog species of fungi through genetic sequencing. Dr. Thompson and his students chemically analyze samples of the fungi specimens. Their goal is twofold: (1) to identify fungal species present in the area, and (2) to isolate chemicals present in these fungi in search of bioactive compounds — chemicals that have possible medicinal value. Professors Thompson and Keller are conducting this research under a grant awarded by the Appalachian College Association (ACA) in an area where few individuals or organizations are permitted to gather specimens.
Developing Computational Methods for Modeling Atmospheric Nucleation
The first stage of cloud formation, called atmospheric nucleation, is a process that ultimately determines much of the earth’s climate and energy balance, but it involves molecules and particles too small to be observed experimentally. Professor Hannah Leverentz and students work to develop computational techniques that can be used to efficiently and accurately model this process.