MANHATTAN--Tendai Gadzikwa, assistant professor of chemistry at K-State, has received a $779,556 National Science Foundation Faculty Early Career Development Program Award. It "recognizes outstanding scientists and engineers who, early in their careers, show exceptional potential for leadership at the frontiers of knowledge."
The award is to fund a catalysis project. According to Gadzikwa, "We design and study metal-organic frameworks (MOFs) that structurally resemble enzymes, [which are] nature’s catalysts. Enzymes are our best catalysts by far, so we try to mimic their structure to make more efficient synthetic catalysts.
MOFs can also be thought of molecular sponges that can absorb small molecules from the atmosphere, so they could help keep the atmosphere in space cabins safe to breathe. Similar to cat litter, but with a much larger range of molecular contaminants that they can capture. And if the MOFs were catalytically active, not only could they capture toxins, they could also convert them to something less harmful. " Courtesy photo