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June 18, 2018

MSU professor awarded grant to harvest medical isotopes at FRIB

The U.S. Department of Energy Office of Science’s Office of Nuclear Physics awarded nearly $357,000 to a Michigan State University chemist to look into new methods of gathering rare isotopes.

Greg Severin, MSU assistant professor of chemistry, will use the grant to explore these isotopes, which have promise in medical research. They will allow scientists to evaluate new diagnostic and therapeutic techniques. 

Severin is testing the new isotope collection system at the National Superconducting Cyclotron Laboratory as well as developing a similar system for the new and more powerful Facility for Rare Isotope Beams.  

”Harvesting is one of the best ways to meet the growing research-isotope needs in the United States,” Severin said. “We will collect isotopes from NSCL and use them to take on challenging problems in basic and applied science.”

Once developed at NSCL, the system will later be used to harvest isotopes from FRIB. In addition to medical research, those isotopes can be used for studies in astrophysics, plant sciences and biochemistry. One main goal is to harvest the isotopes necessary for targeted alpha therapy, a promising new treatment option for metastatic cancer.

MSU is establishing FRIB as a new scientific user facility for the Office of Nuclear Physics in the U.S. Department of Energy Office of Science. Under construction on campus and operated by MSU, FRIB will enable scientists to make discoveries about the properties of rare isotopes in order to better understand the physics of nuclei, nuclear astrophysics, fundamental interactions, and applications for society, including in medicine, homeland security and industry.

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