Research Recap for Jan. 11

Western’s faculty and students are engaged in exciting research across a variety of fields. Periodically, Western Today will share short summaries of the latest developments in grants and research at Western Washington University.

American Chemical Society 

Western Chemistry Professor Gregory O'Neil has been awarded a $70,000 grant from the American Chemical Society for a project titled, “Beyond Polypropylene: Advancing Propylene-Based Fine Chemical Synthesis through Diallylsilane Rearrangements,” following a recommendation from the committee for the Petroleum Research Fund. The grant will cover lab supplies, student work, faculty time and more, beginning in March and running through August 2024.

National Science Foundation

Western Associate Professor of Chemistry Robert Berger was awarded a $268,067 National Science Foundation grant for a project titled “RUI: Confronting Structural Complexity in the Computational Design and Understanding of Perovskite Materials for Solar Energy Conversion.” The grant runs through the end of 2023 and will cover nine summer research stipends over three years and a one-year research assistantship for a master’s student, providing valuable experience in renewable energy, chemistry and computation as they participate in all stages of research on perovskite and its structures and properties for solar energy conversion.

Jet Propulsion Laboratory

Western Washington University Associate Professor of Geology Melissa Rice has been awarded a $144,982 grant covering Mars-2020 Mission Long-Term Planner Phase E. The grant covers the duties of a Long Term Planner with Mars 2020 Science Operations, including: organizing and leading science discussions, participating in the science strategic process discussions prior to the rover landing and throughout surface operations and participating in weekly meetings after landing starting February 2021.

Thanks to Western's Office of Research and Sponsored Programs for many of these these capsules. Have an update or quick summary of your own research to share? Send it to John Thompson, assistant director/research and content creation in the Office of University Communications, at

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Monday, January 11, 2021 - 8:59am