Chemistry graduate student Gerard Dickmu receives 2014 Young Investigator Award


Kortnie Evanson

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Chemistry graduate student Gerard Dickmu receives 2014 Young Investigator Award

Coming from a background where no research was done, University of North Dakota Chemistry graduate student Gerard Dickmu describes his time in graduate school as "a very difficult and humbling experience."

Dickmu, a native of Cameroon, has overcome those challenges and was recently presented with one of two 2014 Young Investigator Awards, presented by the Red River Valley regional section of the American Chemical Society (ACS) at a competition on Feb. 8. Students from regional graduate programs participated in the event and gave research presentations as part of the competition.

"To move from knowing nothing about research to receiving this award is amazing," he said. "It makes me feel great and I know there is a better future ahead as long as I keep working hard and trusting in God."

Dickmu received his chemistry undergraduate degree from The University of Buea in his home country. From there, Dickmu knew he wanted to pursue his dream of going to graduate school to become a university professor. After receiving high scores on both the Graduate Record Examination and the Test of English as a Foreign Language, and accumulating above a 3.0 GPA, Gerard was accepted to the graduate program at UND.

The Young Investigator Award, in the form of a $500 travel grant, will help Dickmu attend the 247th National ACS Meeting in Dallas this spring. At that meeting, Dickmu will present his research on "new cyclopalladated complexes based on D-camphor and other enantiopure compounds."

These processes are used extensively in the pharmaceutical industry and more generally in the synthesis and purification of biologically active organic compounds. An international team of university researchers shared the 2010 Nobel Peace Prize in Chemistry for breakthroughs with similar work.

Dickmu also recently presented his research at the 2014 UND Scholarly Forum.

Dickmu's research advisor is UND Chemistry Professor Irina Smoliakova.

Kortnie Evanson University & Public Affairs student writer

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