Hiram College

Jody Modarelli recently received a $399,000 grant from the National Science Foundation (NSF) Major Research Instrumentation (MRI) program. The money will be used to fund the purchase of a Liquid Chromatography Electrospray Ionization mass Spectrometer (LC-ESI MS) system. This program is highly competitive; only about 20% of applicants receive funding.

Jody Modarelli will be sharing the new equipment with Hiram faculty members Tom Koehnle, Jim Kercher, and Nick Hirsch as well as Amy Braccia at Eastern Kentucky University.

Modarelli plans to work in conjunction with the Akron Zoo and Sylvan Heights Waterfowl Park to identify fatty acids in the endangered White-Wood Winged Duck. They hope to determine whether the soil-free environment at Hiram’s James H. Barrow Biological Field Station has an impact on reduced rates of avian tuberculosis.

Koehnle will study the biochemical composition of acorns and their impact on a rodent’s lifestyle, as well as their impact on the reproduction of important tree species.

Kercher intends to examine the role of gas-phase hydrochloric acid (HCl) in the lower troposphere. The study will focus on its impact on air quality and ozone.

Hirsch will use the new system to identify genetic mutations that impact the hindbrain; this area is linked to balance disorders, facial deformities, and autism.

At Eastern Kentucky University, Braccia will monitor the water quality of stream ecosystems by studying the diversity of macroinvertibrates.

Modarelli will also be offering a yearly one credit hour course for students interested in using spectrometry as a research tool.