The Molecular Education and Research Consortium in Undergraduate computational chemistRY (MERCURY) recently announced the receipt of $225,000 through the National Science Foundation’s Major Research Instrumentation (NSF-MRI) program.
Associate Professor of Chemistry Adam Van Wynsberghe is a member of the NSF-funded consortium. Founded at Hamilton in 2001, MERCURY is now comprised of 27 faculty from 24 primarily undergraduate institutions.
The three-year grant will be used to expand the consortium’s shared High Performance Computing (HPC) facilities, recently relocated to Furman University. For the grant proposal, Van Wynsberghe directed the design of the HPC cluster and co-wrote the budget and its justification.
Since its founding, MERCURY investigators have worked with nearly 600 students on research projects and published more than 230 papers. Seventy-five percent of the students have been female and minority students, and about half of the program’s graduates have gone on to receive advanced degrees in STEM fields.
MERCURY students have also won more than 50 national awards, including a Rhodes Scholarship, 10 Fulbright fellowships and eight Goldwater scholarships.
The Van Wynsberghe research group uses computational and theoretical techniques to study protein-ligand binding and the functional implications of protein dynamics. The group’s general goals are to use chemical and physical principles to understand interesting problems in biochemistry and biophysics.