November 2013

Organic Chemist Receives National Science Foundation Award for Microgels Study

Susanne Striegler

As an organic chemist, Susanne Striegler prepares macromolecular catalysts that promote unnatural reactions on carbohydrates glycosides that enzymes cannot perform. In the long run, she hopes to develop a kit-like tool that allows non-synthetic chemists to create glycosylation reactions needed for the preparation of new pharmaceuticals.


“Many enzymes are very specific in the reactions they can catalyze while requiring special reaction conditions,” said Striegler, an associate professor in the department of chemistry and biochemistry in the J. William Fulbright College of Arts and Sciences. “Taken together, that limits their scope and usage for synthesis. Macromolecular microgel catalysts, on the other hand, consist of a catalytic center surrounded by a man-made polymer resembling the key features of an enzyme, but enable a large variety of reactions under any condition desired. These microgels work in water like enzymes would, so there is a similarity. However, ours is a totally new design of catalysts.”

Striegler’s research group, which currently includes three postdoctoral research associates and five undergraduate researchers, transforms transition metal complexes into selective macromolecular catalysts by immobilizing them in templated micro- and nanogels. The material is designed to transform carbohydrates into other, useful entities, such as oligosaccharides or unnatural sugars.

The National Science Foundation recently awarded Striegler a $360,000, three-year grant for project to further develop water-soluble microgels with immobilized transitional metal complexes as catalysts for glycosylation reactions.

“There are only a handful of people in the world who are working on catalytic microgels,” Striegler said. “This work covers so many fields: organic synthesis, inorganic chemistry, biochemistry and material science. You need to have expertise in all of them to actually play this game. It’s fun to play.”


Supply Chain Study Focuses on Operating Rooms


Manuel Rossetti

Health-care supply chain researchers at the University of Arkansas, in a study of three hospitals within the Mercy network, have found that adoption of advanced inventory management systems can significantly reduce costs associated with medical and surgical items used in operating rooms.
The study, released by the Center for Innovation in Healthcare Logistics and funded by Covidien Inc., a health-care products manufacturer, focused on medical and surgical items used at Mercy hospitals in Fort Smith, Ark., Springfield, Mo., and Oklahoma City. Their analysis showed that holding costs associated with a high stock inventory contributed most to inefficiencies.
“Because of intermittent or so-called ‘lumpy’ demand, procurement and supply-chain managers struggle with how many items to order,” said Manuel Rossetti, professor of industrial engineering and lead author of the study. “Traditional methods of modeling and forecasting are not sufficient. Our implementation of an advanced forecasting technique showed much greater efficiency with a majority of the items at each location. Of course, the implication is that vital items are fewer in nature – not as many held in stockrooms, for example – and adoption of inventory best practices on these items may generate considerable savings.”

Learn More

New Details Regarding Proposal Deadlines

The office of research and sponsored programs has new information about grant proposal deadlines involving federal research agencies.
Both the National Science Foundation and National Institutes of Health have new proposal deadlines for their specific programs, which are posted at the vice provost for research and economic development website.
For questions, call research and sponsored programs at 575-3845.


What Are Limited Submissions?


Granting agencies may impose a limit on the number of proposals submitted by an institution to a funding opportunity. In these cases, the office of the vice provost for research and economic development will be responsible for selecting proposals for submission.

If you are interested in a solicitation that limits the number of campus submissions, please contact research and sponsored programs (RSSP). By Academic Policy Series 1535.10, RSSP needs to determine the number of possible submissions and determine which proposal(s) are to be submitted. This step may seem to be generating competition for your proposal but it is in your best interest. It is better to find out early if there are other potential proposals before you expend significant effort to write a complete proposal. It also identifies potential collaborations between two different proposal teams.

Here is a sampling of limited submission programs.



Organic Chemist receives NSF Award for Microgels Study

Supply Chain Study Focuses on Operating Rooms

New Details Regarding Proposal Deadlines

What Are Limited Submissions?


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Grant Award Winners

The following is a sampling of grants awarded to faculty in October, with the principal investigator, the award amount and the sponsor. An asterisk (*) indicates the continuation of a previous award.
- Brent Smith, $470,383, U.S. Department of Justice
- Micah Hale, $184,681, Headwater Resources Inc.
- W. Dan Hendrix, $160,000, U.S. Economic Development Administration
- Patrick Wolf, $150,000, Smith Richardson Foundation Inc.
- Susan Schneider, $83,751, U.S. Department of Agriculture


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