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NDSU Faculty Member Receives NSF Funding for Chemistry Research

Fargo, N.D. – Sivaguru (Siva) Jayaraman, Ph.D., associate professor of chemistry and biochemistry at North Dakota State University, Fargo, has received a three-year, $429,500 award from the National Science Foundation (NSF) to conduct research outlined in his proposal titled “Light Induced Enantiospecific Chiral Transfer in Solution.” The funding also provides research opportunities to graduate and undergraduate students to develop environmentally benign, green strategies to perform chemical reactions.

The research program in Dr. Siva’s group focuses on using light to transfer molecular chirality in photochemical reactions (reactions initiated by light) to produce molecules that are chiral (have two non-superimposable mirror images) and make only one of the two possible forms (a single enantiomer). Based on the funding from the National Science Foundation, his research group will study light-induced enantiospecific chiral transfer in solution. One of the research goals is to gain a fundamental understanding of interaction of light with photoreactive substrates, coupled with an intricate control over molecular reactivity, dynamics and non-bonding interactions to enhance stereoselectivity in the photoproducts.

“Synthesizing chiral compounds with high stereoselectivity during light-induced transformations provides an opportunity to develop sustainable strategies with minimal impact on the environment,” said Dr. Jayaraman. “Students learn how modern chemical methods can be used for synthesizing compounds with minimal environmental impact.” With this most recent NSF funding, students involved in the proposed investigations will learn both traditional techniques to characterize and evaluate asymmetric induction during enantiospecific phototransformations and modern spectroscopic methods and characterization techniques to assess excited state reactivity.

The award is a renewal grant of Dr. Jayaraman’s CAREER award, which includes research opportunities for NDSU students. His research also provides opportunities to area high school students through a program called PICNICS (Parents Involvement with Children, Nurturing Intellectual Curiosity in Science).

As part of the PICNICS program, top area high school students conduct a variety of research each summer alongside graduate students and postdoctoral fellows at the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry, NDSU, Fargo. The PICNICS program was developed by Dr. Jayaraman as an outreach component in his NSF CAREER award to engage high school students and their parents about recent science and technology advancements and to encourage high school juniors and seniors to consider science as a career path.

Dr. Sivaguru (Siva) Jayaraman joined the faculty at NDSU in 2006. He was promoted to associate professor in 2011. He previously received an NSF CAREER award in 2008, a Grammaticakis-Neumann Prize from the Swiss Chemical Society in 2010, a Young-investigator award from the Inter-American Photochemical Society (I-APS) in 2011, and a Young-investigator award from Sigma Xi in 2012.

At NDSU, Dr. Jayaraman received the 2010 Excellence in Research Award, 2011 Excellence in Teaching award and 2012 Peltier Award for Innovation in Teaching. He completed a post-doctoral fellowship at Columbia University, New York, N.Y., after receiving his Ph.D. from Tulane University, New Orleans, La. He received a master’s degree in chemistry from the Indian Institute of Technology, Madras, India, and completed a bachelor’s degree in chemistry from St. Joseph’s College, Bharathidasan University, Trichy, India. For more info regarding Dr. Sivaguru Jayaraman’s research, teaching and outreach visit

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