Saint Mary’s chemist Toni Barstis elected to Council of Undergraduate Research
Observer Staff Report | Monday, April 30, 2018
Saint Mary’s chemistry professor Toni Barstis was selected as one of eight new councilors for the chemistry division of the Council of Undergraduate Research (CUR), a press release Friday said.
Chemists from private liberal arts colleges founded CUR in 1987 to facilitate information-sharing about faculty research, the release said. The council currently consists of over 13,000 faculty and administrators from more than 700 schools and has expanded to other disciplines. CUR councilors have three-year terms, where they “work to shape the future of the organization and undergraduate research,” the release said.
“This is a testament to the level of scientific research undertaken at Saint Mary’s,” Barstis said of her election as a councilor in the release. “I am grateful for the support of colleagues, administrators and the talented, enthusiastic students for making this honor possible.”
Barstis’ research oversees the College’s five-year dual degree engineering program in coordination with Notre Dame and heads Saint Mary’s Paper Analytical Devices (PADs) Project, which aims to create “simple, inexpensive, paper-based tests to screen for low quality pharmaceuticals and contaminated food and water,” according to the release.
Over 100 students have been involved in the PADs project and are working to develop technology to improve health care in developing nations, such as Nepal, the release said. Barstis currently has two patents in PADs technology, one of which she shares with 2013 graduate Mary Bevilacqua, who was an undergraduate when the technology was invented.
Provost and senior vice president for Academic Affairs Nancy Nekvasil said Barstis was renowned for her research.
“Toni is highly regarded both on campus and in the wider research community for her cutting-edge contributions to the improvement of health and welfare for people around the world,” Nekvasil said in the release. “Her commitment to teaching inspires our students to join her in becoming world-class problem solvers.’’