Three active and former Kentucky NSF EPSCoR-supported research participants were recently awarded an EAGER (EArly-concept Grants for Exploratory Research) Award from the National Science Foundation (NSF).

Dr. DB Bhattacharyya, the Research Pillar Leader for KY NSF EPSCoR’s Advanced Bio-Inspired Membrane Technologies research pillar, will serve as the Principal Investigator for the $100,000 EAGER award, alongside fellow University of Kentucky colleagues, Dr. Todd Hastings and Dr. Doo Young Kim. The NSF has established the EAGER program to support “exploratory work in its early stages on untested, but potentially transformative, research ideas or approaches.”

Bhattacharyya’s project aims to convert organic waste to hydrogen gas by using light sensitive bacteria, nanoparticles, and membrane film. The proposal abstract emphasizes the critical impact this work could have, “The simultaneous elimination of wastes and production of clean fuels will have an immense impact to both society and industrial manufacturing sector. Enhanced understanding of the interface between nanoparticles and photo-responsive bacteria will further advance knowledge in interactions with biological systems. Integration of photonics, biology, and nanostructured materials for clean fuel production will have a significant impact in energy and environment.”

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