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Release: June 7, 1999

UI researcher named to National Institutes of Health study section

IOWA CITY, Iowa -- Mark A. Arnold, professor of chemistry in the University of Iowa College of Liberal Arts, has been named a member of a prestigious National Institutes of Health (NIH) study section for a four-year period beginning July 1, 1999.

NIH study sections contribute to the national biomedical research effort by providing peer review of grant applications, making recommendations on applications to NIH advisory councils and boards, and surveying the status of scientific research. Study section members are selected on the basis of demonstrated competence and achievement in their respective scientific disciplines as shown by research, publications in scientific journals, and other scientific activities, achievements and honors. Arnold will serve on the Metallobiochemistry Study Section of the NIH Center for Scientific Review based in Bethesda, Md.

Arnold, whose research interests include chemical sensors and infrared spectroscopy, is a member of a UI multidisciplinary research team that received a two-year, $294,000 grant in 1998. The grant is to develop novel semiconductor materials for use in a bloodless, light-based system for measuring blood sugar levels. The ultimate goal of the research project, funded by the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK), is to alter the control and treatment of juvenile diabetes.

Arnold, who has been working on noninvasive, blood glucose monitoring devices for more than 10 years, hopes to replace the current monitoring procedure, consisting of numerous finger sticks and test-strip glucose meters, with a beam of light.

A beam of light passed through the body--perhaps through the webbing between the fingers-- would provide information on blood glucose concentrations. The glucose absorbs selected wavelengths of light. The project, which is being conducted within the Optical Science and Technology Center in the Iowa Advanced Technology Laboratories building, will develop new detector materials for these specific wavelengths of light.

A successful noninvasive glucose monitor would make blood glucose measurements painless and permit more frequent testing for persons with diabetes. More frequent testing, in turn, would allow greater control of blood sugar levels, thereby reducing the long-term medical complications caused by chronic hyperglycemia while avoiding dangerous hypoglycemic conditions.