REU Site: Research Experiences for Undergraduates in Environmental Implications of Nanotechnology

P. Lee Ferguson (PI) and Glenda Kelly (co-PI)
Funding Agency: 
NSF Environmental Engineering

The NSF- and EPA-funded Center for the Environmental Implications of NanoTechnology (CEINT), headquartered at Duke University leads a center-wide comprehensive REU program with summer research placements at core CEINT US partners Duke, Carnegie Mellon, and Virginia Tech Universities and with French partner the European Center for Research and Education in Geosciences and the Environment (CEREGE), Aix-en-Provence, France. This program accommodates the growing demand for undergraduate research training in the emerging field of nano-science and technology and expands research opportunities for underrepresented minorities as well as provides interdisciplinary research training in the sciences and engineering for those from non-R1 institutions. In addition, this REU leverages training activities established within CEINT such as seminars, ongoing colloquia and weekly research team meetings and provides in-depth training in the scientific method, data analysis, and professional presentations.  Project objectives include: (1) encouraging a diverse group of students towards careers in emerging fields related to nanotechnology research; (2 ) increased student awareness of the ethical context of nanotechnology research and the importance of developing nanotechnology in an environmentally responsible manner; and  (3) facilitation of a comprehensive understanding of the complex, evolving parameters emerging as factors mitigating environmental impacts of nanomaterials at the cellular, organismic and ecosystem levels. In addition students have opportunities to learn to use cutting edge lab and imaging technologies for identifying nanoparticle fate, transport, and structural behaviors through the rich array of lab facilities and field sites available through CEINT.