FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Friday, Jan. 12, 2007
Contact: Dave Wellman, Director of Communications (304) 696-7153
Marshall professor again receives NATO grant
HUNTINGTON, W.Va. – Dr. Ashok Vaseashta, a professor in Marshall University’s College of Science, has received an award in excess of $80,000 from the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) that will enable him to conduct an advanced study institute (ASI) in Romania.
The ASI, which takes place June 4-15, is titled “Functionalized Nanoscale Materials, Devices, and Systems for Chemical and Biological Sensors, Photonics, and Energy Generation and Storage.” The grant is to be supplemented by several federal and international agencies to support student participations from NATO and partner countries.
This is the second time that Vaseashta has received a grant from NATO to conduct a study institute. He received a similar award by NATO in July 2003 to direct an ASI titled “Nanostructured and Advanced Materials for Applications in Sensors, Optoelectronic and Photovoltaic Technology” in Sozopol, Bulgaria in September 2004.
The NATO ASI will take place in Sinaia, Romania, located in the scenic Prahova Valley, about 120 kilometers north of Bucharest and 44 kilometers from Brasov. One of Romania’s oldest, most famous mountain resorts, Sinaia often is referred to as the “Pearl of the Romanian Carpathians.”
Graduate students, post-doctoral fellows and other scientists will hear lectures from 12 to 14 internationally known lecturers and several focused session speakers and present their own research work at the ASI.
The NATO award is highly competitive and is approved only after a rigorous review by researchers from many NATO countries. Vaseashta said he was “pleasantly surprised” when he received the letter from NATO, indicating the grant was approved.
In addition to the NATO ASI, he is co-chairing an international symposium on Nanotechnology in Environmental Pollution Prevention with the Asia Pacific Nanotechnology Forum, Australia. One of the common themes of both the meetings is the use of nanomaterials in detection, monitoring, and remediation of environmental pollution.
“The topic is of personal interest to me,” Vaseashta said. He said that following the loss of a family member, possibly due to pollution, a couple of years ago, he got more involved in this topic. He since has delivered several invited and keynote lectures worldwide promoting education highlighting the adverse affects of pollution and how these nano dimensional materials can help mitigate the problem.
In addition to the ASI, he is scheduled to deliver several lectures in eight countries this year. Dr. Andrew Rogerson, dean of Marshall’s College of Science, said he is impressed with the international exposure that such meetings bring to Marshall University.
Vaseashta said that more than three million people die each year from the effects of air pollution. He noted that emission from fuel-operated machinery is one of the leading causes of pollution, even though more than one-third of the entire world population does not have access to fuel-operated machinery.
Citing a quote from the World Energy Congress (WEC), he said that if the world continues to use fuels at the current rate, the damage from environmental pollution in 2025 will reach a “point of no return.”
Long-term exposure to air pollution provokes inflammation, accelerates atherosclerosis, and alters cardiac function. These illnesses are further magnified for people suffering from diabetes, chronic pulmonary diseases, and inflammatory diseases, Vaseashta said.
According to the American Lung Association (ALA), Charleston, W.Va., ranks 16th in U.S. metropolitan areas most polluted by year-round particle pollution. “One of the objectives of this research is to gather enough data to convince the policymakers to implement changes to reduce pollution sooner rather than later,” Vaseashta said.
Rogerson said recent advances in nanoscale materials, devices, and systems have provided new opportunities for scientific and technological developments.
“However, behavior of nanoscale materials in the environment, their transport through air and water, mode of entry into living organisms, and impact on human health are poorly understood,” he said. “Safe handling of nanomaterials and intensive investigation of their environmental impact is indispensable.”
Vaseashta can be reached at (304) 696-2755 and by e-mail: email@example.com.