August 2019

Press release


The Science Circle is pleased to announce that board member Dr. Mike J. Shaw, with the Chemistry Department at Southern Illinois University Edwardsville and his collaborator Dr. George Richter Addo at the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry at the University of Oklahoma, recently received a grant from the U.S. National Science Foundation to study the chemical reactivity and redox behavior of heme-nitrogen dioxide derivatives (CHE-1900181).


NSF evaluates proposals based on two criteria: Intellectual merit and broader impacts.  The intellectual merit of a proposal includes the quality scientific investigations to be pursued.  The intellectual merit of the Richter-Addo/Shaw team’s research includes looking at how compounds which model bioinorganic species manage the conversion of nitric oxide (NO) to nitrous oxide (N2O). Many factors contribute to changes in the weather and the environment, one of which is the increased accumulation of the nitrogen-containing gas nitrous oxide (N2O) in the atmosphere. Bacteria and fungi utilize complex metalloenzymes to generate N2O from the natural starting material nitric oxide (NO), but the fundamental chemical mechanisms for this process are not understood. Therefore, there is an urgent need to probe and understand this component of the global N-cycle. The collaborative research team is determining the factors that lead to chemical reactivity of the bound NO ligand in synthetic porphyrin systems that model heme-containing enzymes in bacteria and fungi involved in N2O and/or organo-NOx generation.


The broader impacts of this work includes finding avenues to communicate the results, and science in general to the public at large.  Recent research indicates that individuals who are differently abled make up a large minority of Second Life users. Second Life represents an avenue for science outreach to a hard-to-reach underrepresented group. The Science Circle is pleased to work with Drs. Shaw and Richter-Addo to facilitate in-world presentations and demonstrations of aspects of the proposed research. The grant will help to support ongoing activities in the Science Circle sim over the next three years.



This grant will promote the mission of the Science Circle to expand understanding and learning broadly across science disciplines within the context of virtual environments.





Back to top