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Discovery Grants

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A New Surgical Robot for Diagnosing and Treating Lung Cancer

Written by Patrick Anderson, doctoral student, mechanical engineering Is it possible to diagnose and treat lung tumors without making a single incision (using only needles)? This is the question we are attempting to answer in the Medical Engineering and Discovery (MED) Lab. Under the direction of mechanical engineering professor Robert Webster, we work with surgeons…

Posted by on November 8, 2017 in Discovery Grants, News, TIPs 2015


An infrared photo of a top-heated aluminum sponge coated with PNIPAM. A temperature gradient from 44.3 °C (top) to 32.7 °C (bottom) can be observed.

Innovative Water Collection Project Could Help Create More Drinking Water in Developing Countries

Written by Shihong Lin, Assistant Professor of Civil and Environmental Engineering “Water, water, everywhere, nor any drop to drink.” This line by a 19th century English poet vividly describes the paradox in water scarcity that many regions of our world still face. However, thanks to advances over the past few decades, we now have powerful…

Posted by on June 22, 2017 in Discovery Grants, News


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Glucose Cycling: A Discovery Grant Project Funding the O’Brien and Young Laboratories (Part I)

Written by Richard O’Brien, Professor of Molecular Physiology and Biophysics Two aspects of biological research that are the most rewarding are (i) working on a problem where there is great controversy in the field and (ii) working on a problem where the available data make no logical sense. Our Discovery Grant funds a collaborative research…

Posted by on May 30, 2017 in Discovery Grants, News


Janet Macdonald

X-Ray Diffractometer and Enchiladas

Janet Macdonald is an Assistant Professor of Chemistry. Her research group studies the synthesis and surface chemistry of nanocrystals, with the aim of applying this knowledge to new solar energy capture technologies. After 21 years of experiments, on Friday, April 15, 2017, the Scintag X-ray Diffractometer (XRD) in the chemistry department was shut down for…

Posted by on April 18, 2017 in Discovery Grants, News


Candid shot taken of us (right to left: Julie McKnight (UT), me, and Prof. Ayers) discussing our next move while observing the data from an ongoing measurement.  Each measurement takes at least 40 minutes, excluding set up and break down time. (Photo Credit: Marie English (UT))

Methane Rising: A brief description of how we measured escaped methane at hydraulically fractured gas wells

Written by Vanderbilt Ph.D. student Moyo Ajayi During the beginning of the 21st century, oil and gas producers have tapped into previously uneconomical sources of natural gas using the controversial method of high volume hydraulic fracturing (HVHF).  HVHF involves injecting highly-pressurized fluid into impermeable rocks to fracture them and release natural gas.  Use of HVHF…

Posted by on January 11, 2017 in Discovery Grants, News