CONTACT: GARY GALLUZZO
100 Old Public Library
Iowa City IA 52242
(319) 384-0009; fax (319) 384-0024
Four UI engineers win NASA research grants totaling over $2.5 million
IOWA CITY, Iowa -- Four researchers in the University of Iowa College
of Engineering's department of chemical and biochemical engineering have
received grants for four separate projects totaling over $2.5 million from
NASA's Microgravity Research Program, Huntsville, Ala., to conduct research
that may lead to the development of new medical technologies.
The investigators and the amounts of their NASA grants are: David Murhammer,
associate professor, $1,073,000; Tonya Peeples, assistant professor, $418,000;
Victor Rodgers, associate professor, $533,000; and John Wiencek, associate
Gregory Carmichael, professor and interim department chair, said, "It
is unusual to have four researchers and four different projects funded
at the same time by NASA's Microgravity Research Program. The competition
for these funds is great, so it is a tribute to the recognized quality
of our faculty."
Murhammer, along with UI chemistry professor Mark Arnold and UI pathology
professor Michael Cohen, is conducting research that may improve scientists'
understanding of prostate cancer. Their work involves the development of
improved methods of simulating the behavior of prostate cancer cells within
the human body.
Peeples is studying microbes that thrive in extreme environments with
the goal of finding more efficient ways to process waste in space.
Rodgers, with colleagues Murhammer and Larry Oberley, professor of radiology,
is evaluating oxidative stress in virally infected cells with the goal
of improving our knowledge of how cells respond to free radicals while
simultaneously analyzing a simulated micro-gravity device developed by
Wiencek, who has studied methods of purifying water aboard the space
shuttle, is researching techniques to remove impurities from tiny cell
growth materials with the goal of furthering related research aimed at
developing better treatments for diseases.
The four UI investigators are part of a group of 48 researchers selected
by a peer-review process from a field of 165 research proposals for NASA
funding. Forty of the grants involve ground-based research, while eight
are aimed at experiments to be conducted aboard the International Space
Station. Currently under construction in orbit and scheduled for completion
in mid-2002, the Space Station will be an orbiting laboratory for 15 cooperating