Chemistry Students Received Drinko Research Grants

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Westminster College students Hannah Anderson and Allison Rice received undergraduate research grants from Westminster's Drinko Center for Excellence in Teaching and Learning.

Their research, "Microwave-Assisted Hydrothermal Synthesis of Lutetium Oxyorthosilicate (LSO)," is conducted under the supervision of Dr. Peter Smith, Westminster associate professor of chemistry.

LSO is the most common detector used in PET scans, a type of nuclear medical imaging used to produce three-dimensional structure of certain biological processes in the body.  The current method of producing LSO is time-consuming and requires a significant amount of energy.  Two alternate methods, one using microwave energy and one using conventional heating, have been proposed to provide more energy-efficient options for synthesizing LSO.

Anderson and Rice are synthesizing samples using both alternate methods to determine any structural differences in the LSO produced by the two methods.  They are using powder x-ray diffraction for analysis.

Anderson, a junior biochemistry major, is a daughter of Mark and Barbara Anderson of Tarentum and a graduate of Oakland Catholic High School.

Rice, a sophomore chemistry and mathematics major, is a daughter of Paul and Diane Rice of Poland, Ohio, and a graduate of Poland Seminary High School.

Contact Smith at (724) 946-7299 or email for additional information.

About Westminster College...
Founded in 1852 and related to the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), Westminster College ranks first in the nation as "Best College for Women in Science, Technology, Engineering and Math," according to Westminster, a top-tier liberal arts college, ranks third in graduation rate performance, according to U.S. News Best Colleges guide. Westminster ranked 6th among liberal arts colleges in social mobility, according to the Washington Monthly College Guide, and is one of the most affordable national liberal arts colleges in Pennsylvania. Westminster is also honored as one of "The Best 376 Colleges" by The Princeton Review, and is named to the President's Honor Roll for excellence in service learning.

Nearly 1,600 undergraduate and graduate students benefit from individualized attention from dedicated faculty while choosing from 42 majors and nearly 100 organizations on the New Wilmington, Pa., campus. Visit to view "Advantage: Westminster" A Strategic Plan 2010-2020.

Drinko Center Information