Professor at East Lansing-based MSU Awarded Grant to Harvest Medical Isotopes


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A chemist at Michigan State University is studying new methods of gathering rare isotopes.

Image courtesy of Michigan State University

A chemist at East Lansing’s Michigan State University will use a $357,000 grant from the U.S. Department of Energy Office of Science’s Office of Nuclear Physics to look into new methods of gathering rare isotopes. Greg Severin, assistant professor of chemistry, will explore the isotopes, which will allow scientists to evaluate new diagnostic and therapeutic techniques.

Severin is testing the new isotope collection system at the National Superconducting Cyclotron Laboratory (NSCL) at MSU, as well as developing a similar system for the university’s new and more powerful Facility for Rare Isotope Beams (FRIB).

“Harvesting is one of the best ways to meet the growing research isotope needs in the United States,” says Severin. “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 be used to harvest isotopes from FRIB. The isotopes can be used for studies in astrophysics, plant sciences, and biochemistry. A main goal is to harvest the isotopes necessary for targeted alpha therapy, a 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. It is under construction on campus and will allow scientists to study rare isotopes. 

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