Kennesaw State University junior Destiny Paige’s research into a new bioactive glass for use in tissue repair and drug delivery won the Top Poster Award at the Birla Carbon Symposium, at which the College of Science and Mathematics officially recognized the 11 new Birla Carbon Scholars.

“Congratulations to all of our 11 Birla Carbon Scholars,” said Donald McGarey, the College’s interim dean. “The opportunity to work side-by-side with some of our most talented faculty members performing original research is one of the Birla Carbon Scholars partnership’s great strengths. We are thankful to Birla Carbon for their continuing support.”

In the spring, the College of Science and Mathematics selected 11 students to each receive a $4,000 stipend to pursue their individual research interests during a unique 10-week summer program established by Birla Carbon.

In marking the sixth year of the scholars program, Birla Carbon increased the number of scholars to 11 from 10 and increased its pledge to $275,000 to support the undergraduate research program in the College over a five-year period.

The applicants were chosen based on the recommendations of CSM faculty members, submission of an undergraduate research project abstract, and a GPA of 3.0 or higher. Recipients worked with their sponsoring faculty members on their proposed research projects, which this summer ran the gamut from green chemistry to muon tomography and from the identification of cardiac regulatory genes to forensic analysis of lead-free ammunition residue.

Since 2014, funding provided by the chemical manufacturer has allowed 61 Birla Carbon Scholars to participate in summer research opportunities.

This year’s scholars and their faculty mentors are:

♦ Max Andrews and Anton Bryantsev

♦ Braden Clinebell and Daniela Tapu

♦ Robert Cronin and Chris Dockery

♦ Tia Gordon and Kimberly Cortes

♦ Rebekah Henneborn and Scott Nowak

♦ Emma Henry and Jonathan McMurry

♦ Tessa Jordan and Martin Hudson

♦ Naza Okafor and Michael Stollenz

♦ Destiny Paige and Rajnish Singh

♦ Emma Pearson and David Joffe

♦ Hunter Spivey and Thomas Leeper

The Birla Carbon Team judges awarded Paige, a biology major from Loganville, with the top prize for her research. In her experiment, Paige introduced a novel composition of bioactive glass containing mixed valence cerium oxide nanoparticles into hamster kidney cells. Bioactive glasses are well-known biodegradable and biocompatible materials.

“More research may ultimately lead to improved chemotherapy for diseases like atherosclerosis, cancer, heart failure, Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s,” said Paige.

Along with the $4,000 stipend each scholar received, Paige received an additional $2,000 in travel funds to present her research at a national or regional conference of her choice.

Birla Carbon is the world’s largest producer and supplier of carbon black additives, which are used to make everything from tires to plastics, from paints to electronics. A flagship business of the $44.3 billion Aditya Birla Group, the multinational conglomerate is based in Taloja, India. Birla Carbon’s Technology Laboratories are located in Marietta and Taloja.

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