May 18, 2007

Doctoral student to attend prestigious meeting

by Tim Crosby

CARBONDALE, Ill. -- A doctoral student at Southern Illinois University Carbondale will rub elbows with some of the most honored scientists in the world this summer when he attends the Lindau Meeting of Nobel Laureates and Students in Germany.

Nicholas R. Whiting, of the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry in the College of Science, received an invitation to attend the meeting set for July 1-6. He is a member of a student delegation supported by the U.S. Department of Energy Office of Science, the National Science Foundation and the National Institutes of Health's Graduate Partnership Program, among others.

Whiting, a Southern Illinois native from Galatia, is the son of Jeff and Jane Whiting. He said attending the gathering will provide a rare opportunity.

"I will meet and interact with many world-class scientists, as well as fellow graduate students, and I can only benefit from the experience," Whiting said. "The chance to attend lectures and small group meetings in a new and refreshing environment may even inspire new research directions for my own projects into more biomedical fields. It is an excellent opportunity to connect with great minds, and will likely inspire me to grow both professionally and personally."

The meeting this year will focus on physiology and medicine. With a chemistry background, Whiting brings a tremendous interest in the field.

Whiting conducts biophysical research projects involving nuclear magnetic resonance characterizations of myoglobin, a protein that delivers oxygen to muscles. His primary research involves improving the sensitivity of NMR technology using laser-polarized noble gases, which can examine the binding sites myoglobin and other proteins. Medical professionals can use such advances to enhance magnetic resonance imagery, providing clearer and higher-resolution images, Whiting said.