Collaboration yields results for faculty team


From left, Janet Donaldson, Judy Schneider, Giselle Thibaudeau and Rooban Thirumalai. PHOTO: Megan Bean | University Relations

A diverse group of Mississippi State faculty and staff collaborators is reporting significant progress toward enhancing the university's high-technology instrumentation capacity.

Giselle Thibaudeau, director of the Institute for Imaging and Analytical Technologies, praised the multi-disciplinary team effort, noting that achievements to date have been critical to the work of campus researchers in the areas of life and materials sciences, as well as regional industries.

"We were thrilled when the National Science Foundation announced our award in 2011, and we have been very pleased to exceed our initial expectations about what we could achieve with the funding," she said.

Thibaudeau, one of the project's co-principal investigators, said their success "is a credit to faculty involved with I2AT and MSU's Materials Working Group."

The I2AT's research, education and outreach involve diverse microscopy (light, confocal, atomic force and electron) and microanalysis (X-ray diffraction) applications, as well as magnetic resonance imaging used in veterinary medicine, cognitive science and medical systems.

With the NSF award, the project team acquired two cutting-edge pieces of equipment: a 200kV analytical transmission electron microscope and a 120kV TEM that complemented other instruments acquired by competitive funding and university investment.

Thibaudeau said the new instruments have enabled research progress in:

--Detecting and assessing metal deformation and nanofiber defects;

--Examining bacterial wall disruption; and,

--Classifying new viruses.

Mechanical engineering professor Judy Schneider said she and the other researchers "are really excited about having the new 200 kV TEM on campus. It offers many advancements over our previous 21-year-old TEM, especially in the area of materials science engineering."

As an example, she said the instrument's double tilt specimen holder expands MSU's crystalline materials research capabilities.

"This is truly an analytical tool to not only identify crystal structures, but also verify chemical composition," Schneider explained.

Janet Donaldson, an assistant professor of biological sciences, and Sheldon Shi, former associate professor of forest products, are the project's co-principal investigators.

For more information about the project, visit or contact Thibaudeau at 662-325-3017 or

Jim Laird | University Relations

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