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Keene State professor named Fulbright Scholar

Union Leader Correspondent

April 21. 2013 11:35PM
Keene State College Dr. Jerry Jasinski conducts research with the only X-ray crystallography machine of its type in New Hampshire. (MEGHAN PIERCE)

KEENE - Keene State College chemistry professor Jerry Jasinski will travel to India next fall as a Fulbright Scholar to share his expertise in the use of advanced X-ray techniques.

"This is a very prestigious opportunity," Jasinski said Friday. "I feel very fortunate to get it on my first try, but I think probably the reason I was selected is I am bringing something to India. I am bringing my expertise."

In his Keene State College lab, Jasinski has the most advanced X-ray diffractometer in New Hampshire, which he was awarded through the National Science Foundation two years ago.

"This is the only machine like this of this type in the state of New Hampshire," he said. "This is very high-tech, high-power state-of-the-art."

The X-ray machine is used to determine the molecular structure of compounds sent to him from his collaborators.

His work is the beginning of a process in which drugs are researched and developed to cure or treat diseases such as cancer.

"My collaborators synthesize these drugs . and they give them to me in crystalline form. . I have collaborators all over the world sending me these compounds," Jasinski said. "Every pharmaceutical company in the world needs this information, because this is the information that they use to see how these drugs interact with the proteins in the body."

The data collected by the machine must be analyzed by an expert before it is sent to the drug researchers and developers, he said.

This is single crystal X-ray crystallography, Jasinski's area of expertise.

"The X-rays bounce off the atoms and they end up on the screen over here," Jasinski said pointing to his computer screen.

As a Fulbright Scholar, Jasinski will be based at the University of Mysore in Mysore, Karnataka from August to December. During his stay in India, he plans to teach college students, professors and scientists single crystal X-ray crystallography through workshops and lectures.

"In India they don't have too many of these X-ray machines and they don't know the process of extracting the information," Jasinski said.

Jasinski has taught and conducted this research at Keene State College for 35 years.

In his time at Keene State, Jasinski has published more than 400 papers in scholarly journals with collaborations around the world and across the United States.

Many of his Keene State undergraduate students have co-authored papers with him.

The Fulbright Scholar Program is sponsored by the U.S. Department of State, and administered by the Council for International Exchange of Scholars. "Each year about 800 faculty and professionals in the United States visit 140 countries to share their knowledge, form connections and conduct research. This newest award continues Keene State College's honor as a top producer of Fulbright Scholars among institutions of its type and size offering primarily baccalaureate programs," the college said in a press release last week.

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