Scientists at colleges and universities from across the state came together on February 7, 2017 to discuss how their innovative research projects impact West Virginia’s communities and are contributing to economic growth. During the STEM Salon event, hosted by the Higher Education Policy Commission’s Division of Science and Research, four scientists gave brief presentations about their work.

Representing Marshall University was Dr. Nadja Spitzer who spoke about her research into how exposure to silver nanoparticles could be affecting the brains of children and adults. Spitzer was awarded a prestigious CAREER award from the National Science Foundation for her research. She also spoke about the Brain Expo she created at Marshall which allows school groups to visit campus for a reverse science fair with many interactive activities relating to the brain.

Dr. Joseph Allen from Concord University touched on his research in structural geology which focuses on understanding earthquakes preserved in deep fault zones. In addition, he is a leader in science education that includes research into the correlation between undergraduate research and learning.

Dr. Sanjaya is the Director of West Virginia State University’s Energy and Environmental Science Institute. He described his lab’s research program which is geared to specifically designing plants and microalgae to enhance their bioenergy and nutritional value. He is also involved in phytoremediation, or the innovative use of green plants to clean up the environment.

Representing West Virginia University’s Energy Institute was Dr. Brian Anderson. A Ripley, West Virginia, native, Anderson has conducted extensive research in developing sustainable energy systems and currently leads numerous national and international efforts promoting the state’s energy resources and capabilities.

The event took place on February 7 at BridgeValley’s Advanced Technology Center at the West Virginia Regional Technology Park.

The Division of Science and Research directs the federal EPSCoR program in West Virginia, while also managing other state and federally funded academic research programs across the state. The program provides strategic leadership for infrastructure advancement and development of competitive research opportunities in STEM disciplines.