UR faculty to participate in NSF-funded MERCURY consortium

October 31, 2016

Two University of Richmond chemistry professors, Carol Parish and Kelling Donald, are part of a 27-member consortium known as MERCURY: molecular education and research consortium in undergraduate computational chemistry.

The researchers received a $225,000, three-year grant from the National Science Foundation (NSF), which will allow the group to share computational resources and use the consortium to collaborate and increase the visibility of their work.

“The NSF grant provides funds to purchase a super-computer cluster that will support the research my students do in understanding protein folding, designing new drugs and investigating the reactivity of alternative sources of energy,” Parish said.

Parish, whose area of expertise is computational and theoretical physical chemistry, has coauthored 27 research publications with 59 undergraduate coauthors in the past 14 years. She was recently awarded the 2016 Goldwater Scholars Faculty Mentor Award celebrating her achievements as a mentor, scholar and educator.

Donald researches computational investigations into the nature of chemical bonding, structure prediction, weak interactions in molecules and clusters and other chemical phenomena. He was recently named a Henry Dreyfus Teacher-Scholar by the Camille and Henry Dreyfus Foundation of New York. 

"In my group, we work to understand, explain and predict phenomena in the chemical bonding and in the electronic structure of systems involving elements from across the periodic table," said Donald. "Those phenomena tend to have practical consequences for chemical reactivity, catalysis and crystal engineering."   

Since its founding in 2001, MERCURY investigators have worked with nearly 600 students on research projects and published more than 230 papers. These students have also won more than 50 national awards, including a Rhodes Scholarship, 10 Fulbright fellowships and eight Goldwater scholarships.

For more information, visit the MERCURY website.

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