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NDSU professor awarded funding to research environmentally benign approaches to chemistry

Photo of Jayaraman SivaguruJayaraman Sivaguru (Siva), Ph.D., James A. Meier Jr. Professor of chemistry and biochemistry at North Dakota State University, Fargo, has received a three-year, $440,000 award (CHE-1465075) from the National Science Foundation (NSF) to develop environmentally benign, green strategies for performing chemical reactions with light.

The funding also provides research opportunities to graduate and undergraduate students. The research program in Dr. Siva’s group focuses on using light for atropselective photochemical reactions. These reactions initiated by light producing molecules that are chiral (have two non-superimposable mirror images) and make only one of the two possible forms (a single enantiomer). 

“Harnessing the power of light to synthesize chiral compounds with high stereoselectivity during light-induced transformations is very challenging. Our proposed methodology has the ability to provide an opportunity to develop sustainable strategies with minimal impact on the environment,” said Sivaguru.

Based on the funding from NSF, his research group will evaluate the use of visible and UV light to synthesize complex molecules that are enantiomerically pure. One of the research goals is to gain a fundamental understanding of interaction of light with atropisomeric photoreactive substrates. That is coupled with an intricate control over molecular reactivity, dynamics and non-bonding interactions to enhance stereoselectivity in the photoproducts.

“The project also provides students an opportunity to learn modern chemical methods that are utilized for synthesizing compounds with minimal environmental impact,” added Sivaguru. With this most recent NSF funding, students involved in these 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.

Through the research, area high school students receive opportunities in PICNICS (Parents Involvement with Children, Nurturing Intellectual Curiosity in Science). Top area high school students conduct research each summer alongside graduate students and postdoctoral fellows at NDSU. Sivaguru developed the PICNICS program as an outreach component in an earlier NSF CAREER award. PICNICS engages high school students and their parents to learn more about recent science and technology advancements and to encourage high school students to consider science as a career path. The program has trained 42 high school students since 2007.

Dr. Sivaguru joined the faculty at NDSU in 2006. His achievements include: the James A. Meier Jr. Professorship, NSF CAREER award, Grammaticakis-Neumann Prize from the Swiss Chemical Society, Young-investigator award from the Inter-American Photochemical Society (I-APS), and a Young-investigator award from Sigma Xi. In 2013, he was named as the American editor of Journal of Photochemistry and Photobiology – A: Chemistry, a journal published by Elsevier.

At NDSU, Dr. Sivaguru has received the Excellence in Research Award, Excellence in Teaching award and Peltier Award for Innovation in Teaching. He completed a post-doctoral fellowship at Columbia University, New York, New York, after receiving his Ph.D. from Tulane University, New Orleans, Louisiana. He received a master’s degree in chemistry from the Indian Institute of Technology, Madras, India, and bachelor’s degree in chemistry from St. Joseph’s College, Bharathidasan University, Trichy, India. Visit the Siva group’s website to learn more about Dr. Sivaguru’s research, teaching and outreach.

The most recent NSF award is a renewal grant for the proposal titled “Manipulating photochemical reactivity through restricted bond rotations.” Sivaguru previously received NSF funding through CHE-1213880 and CAREER-CHE-0748525.
About NDSU
NDSU, Fargo, North Dakota, USA, is notably listed among the top 108 U.S. public and private universities in the Carnegie Commission on Higher Education’s category of “Research Universities/Very High Research Activity.” NDSU is listed in the top 100 research universities in the U.S. for R&D in agricultural sciences, chemistry, computer science, physical sciences, psychology, and social sciences, based on research expenditures reported to the National Science Foundation. As a student-focused, land grant, research institution, NDSU serves its citizens.

Student Focused. Land Grant. Research University.

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