Chemistry prof Olga Rinco receives $40,000 GIVF research grant

July 2, 2010

Olga Rinco, Luther assistant professor of chemistry, has received a two-year Grow Iowa Values Fund (GIVF) research grant for $40,000 to support her research on a low-cost, effective detection method for chemical pollutants in water systems.

The grant will fund research activities in photochemistry, investigating the fluorescence of furans, diozanes and polychlorinated biphenyls that can pollute water systems, as well as the development of a new technique to detect the presence and levels of these environmental pollutants.

Rinco said the goals of the study are to determine which of the organic pollutants could be detected by spramolecular photochemistry, characterize the key interactions between the organic pollutant and the supramolecular architecture, and test local water systems for the presence of the pollutants.

Luther students involved in the project for the summer of 2010 include seniors Kirsten Indrelie and Mary Crumley. Two more students will be involved in the project in the summer of 2011.

The GIVF grant is competitive, and grant recipients were selected from proposals submitted from all private institutions of higher education in Iowa in the fall of 2009.

"The aim of these specific grants is to support research at private institutions that may lead to the enhancement of the Iowa economy and Iowa industry," said Rinco.

The Grow Iowa Values Fund was implemented in 2003 to offer financial incentives to companies that plan to create new jobs in Iowa, allocating $50 million among prospective firms.

Rinco holds the bachelor of science degree in chemistry and mathematics from McMaster University in Ontario, Canada, and the doctoral degree in chemistry from the University of Victoria in British Columbia, Canada.

Before teaching at Luther, Rinco was a visiting fellow in a government laboratory in Ottawa, Ontario, and a teaching assistant at the University of Victoria.