Terry Gullion, professor of chemistry in the C. Eugene Bennett Department of Chemistry at West Virginia University, has been named an American Physical Society Fellow.

Fellowship in the society is a distinct honor signifying recognition by one’s professional peers. Election to fellowship in the American Physical Society is limited to no more than one half of one percent of the membership. Nominees undergo a rigorous review process by their peers. The criteria for election is exceptional contributions to the physics enterprise, including outstanding physics research, important applications of physics, leadership in or service to physics, or significant contributions to physics education.

“Terry Gullion is a superb scientist and a leader in his field as evidenced by this prestigious honor,” Robert Jones, dean of the Eberly College of Arts and Sciences said. “His election as an American Physical Society fellow exemplifies our University’s commitment to hiring, promoting and retaining the best and brightest researchers in their fields.”

Gullion investigates how things are put together at the molecular level. Understanding the results can guide development of new materials for consumer products and more effective drug delivery systems for the medical world.

Gullion is being recognized “for creation, development, and numerous applications of solid-state NMR [nuclear magnetic resonance] techniques for measuring distances between nuclear spins in biological, polymeric, and inorganic rotating solids.”

Research in the Gullion group focuses on the development of new solid-state nuclear magnetic resonance methods designed to determine molecular structures and how molecules interact with one another. They measure distances between nuclei by manipulating the dipolar interaction between nuclear spins. If the measured distances are between nuclei on the same molecule, then the structure or shape of the molecule can be determined. If the measured distances are between nuclei on different molecules, then the interaction geometry between molecules can be determined.

The experiments have been applied to a wide variety of materials. Biological applications include determining how surface bound and transmembrane proteins interact with cell membranes, determining the binding of drugs to proteins, determining the structure of structural proteins such as collagen, silkworm and spider silks, and examining the structure of proteins associated with degenerative disease states such as Alzheimer’s disease.

Material applications include determining the structures of synthetic polymers and polymer composites, probing the structure of lithium-based battery materials, examining the interaction of molecules with catalysts used in energy production and chemical processes, determining the structure of small molecules and peptides on metal surfaces and nanoparticles, and determining the structure of inorganic glasses. All of these applications are designed to determine structures at the molecular level, because it is widely believed that the function of molecules are determined by the structures at the molecular level.

Gullion’s primary tool is nuclear magnetic resonance. The technique requires strong magnets with magnetic field strengths more than 100,000 times the earth’s magnetic field. The samples are spun in the magnetic field at rates exceeding one million revolutions per minute in special cylindrical ceramic tubes. By applying pulses of radio-frequency irradiation they are able to tease out structural and chemical details of the samples.

Terry Gullion received his doctoral degree from the College of William and Mary in Williamsburg, Va. He joined WVU as a professor of chemistry in 1997, acting as chair of the C. Eugene Bennett Department of Chemistry from 2006-2012. Prior to his tenure at WVU, he taught at Florida State University and Mississippi State University.

Gullion has published over 65 articles and several book chapters. Additionally he is the recent recipient of two grants from the National Science Foundation totaling in excess of $650,000, and a third grant from Bruker Biospin. His total external research funding exceeds $2.5 million.

For more information, contact Terry Gullion at Terry.Gullion@mail.wvu.edu.



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