Chemistry professor awarded $300K to continue bioluminescence research
Bruce Branchini, the Hans and Ella McCollum '21 Vahlteich Professor of Chemistry at Connecticut College, has been awarded a $300,000 grant from the Air Force Office of Scientific Research to continue his cutting-edge research on bioluminescence, the emission of light by living organisms.
The grant allows Branchini to continue a federally funded research project he began in 2007 with the goal of discovering, designing and demonstrating the potential of bioluminescent materials. These materials are non-toxic and biodegradable, and could be used in a wide range of applications.
Branchini runs one of only three labs in the country with a focus on the bioluminescent pathways of fireflies. His research group—which includes three technicians and, at any given time, several undergraduate students—has published more than 50 scholarly articles in the last 13 years alone.
The new grant, which is 100 percent federally funded, will support a fulltime research technician in Branchini’s laboratory and provide funds for materials and supplies, DNA sequencing and travel for the presentation of findings.
A member of the College faculty since 1986, Branchini has been conducting research for 40 years on the biochemistry of bioluminescence in fireflies. Nearly all of his work is funded with grants, including nearly $1.7 million to date from the Air Force Office of Scientific Research. In 2014, he received a National Science Foundation research grant of $599,386, one of several NSF grants he has been awarded to cover the expenses for student research stipends, international travel, major equipment acquisition and building renovations.
Read more about Branchini's research in the Winter 2018 edition of CC Magazine.
About the Air Force Office of Scientific Research
The mission of AFOSR is to discover basic science that impacts the future of the United States Air Force. AFOSR invests in long-term, broad-based research into aerospace-related science and engineering, and forms relationships with other government agencies, industry communities and academic institutions. Over 200 academic institutions receive grants from AFOSR.