Michigan student wins chemistry fellowship for nerve agent detector

A Western Michigan University student was recently awarded funding for the development of a molecular nerve agent sensor.

Chemistry student David Sellers' research could potentially be used to help soldiers or emergency responders respond to an attack by chemical weapons or as a catalyst for certain organic reactions, according to SecondWaveMedia.com.

Sellers is the first WMU chemistry student to win a prestigious National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship. The award pays $42,000 every year for three years towards his research, with an addition for educational expenses and a stipend.

Nearly 2,000 applications were submitted for the research fellowship. Of those awarded in the field of chemistry, five went to graduate students at Michigan Universities.

Sellers joined the chemistry department in 2011 as a doctoral student in synthetic organic and supramolecular chemistry after serving as an adjunct faculty member at Spring Arbor University. He said he has been interested in science from a very young age and for him chemistry always stood out.

"It's a very exciting field, partly because it's at the meeting point of almost all of the scientific disciplines," Sellers said, SecondWaveMedia.com reports. "So it's an exciting field to be in, and I really like that interplay, especially between biology and chemistry."