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Wednesday, September 19, 2012 - 6:00am

$20M Grant Supports Emory Chemistry Center

Emory University in Atlanta has received a $20 million grant for its chemistry center.

The National Science Foundation awarded the grant to Emory's Center for C-H Selective Functionalization. The center brings together scientists from leading research universities across the country working to revolutionize the field of organic synthesis.

Center director Huw Davies says C-H functionalization will have a big impact on the development of new drugs and other products.

In organic synthesis, chemists start with simple bulk chemicals that are easy to access, like petroleum and plant extracts. Those chemicals are converted through step-by-step transformations that eventually lead to elaborate structures like plastic, nylon and drugs.

Ultimately, the center hopes to open new chemical space for exploration.