College of Charleston Chemistry Professor Wendy Cory is starting the semester with two grants from the National Science Foundation totaling more than $500,000. The grants will fund research into the effect of pharmaceuticals on the aquatic environment. They will also provide rare opportunities for undergraduate students and the community.

Cory’s research team including Geology Professor Vijay Vulava was awarded $334,640 (over three years) to fund undergraduate researchers and outreach to the community. She also led a team that included Professors Marcello Forconi, Jenn Fox, Brooke Van Horn and Vijay Vulava in securing a $277,191 Major Research Instrument (MRI) grant to purchase an ultra high-pressure liquid chromatograph – mass spectrometer. This instrument will enable Cory’s team to test the water samples at environmentally relevant concentrations.

“The ability to purchase this instrument with the MRI grant is huge for the School of Sciences and Mathematics,” Cory says. “It will give our students valuable hands-on experience. We have seen that our students who have conducted undergraduate research with this kind of cutting-edge technology are more attractive to graduate schools (like the Medical University of South Carolina), prestigious fellowships and research grants.”

The ultra high-pressure liquid chromatograph – mass spectrometer will be used in Cory’s research to study minute levels of pharmaceuticals, like common pain and allergy medications, in water. It will also be used in research involving proteomics, the study of proteins by mass spectrometry, and other biochemical and organic chemistry research projects. This instrument is commonly used in large research laboratories like MUSC, NIST or NOAA.

For more information, contact or 843.953.1405.