Matt Tierney wins National Science Foundation research funding

Alumnus Matt Tierney wins NSF research funding

Matthew Tierney (BS ’16) has received a Graduate Research Fellowship from the National Science Foundation. The award is valued at $138,000. The NSF Graduate Research Fellowship program recognizes and supports outstanding graduate students in the science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) disciplines who are participating in research-based master’s and doctoral degrees.

matt tierney

Tierney studied biochemistry at TU under the mentorship of Assistant Professor Angus Lamar, Associate Professor Robert Sheaff and former Chemistry Professor Justin Chalker. He currently is pursuing a doctorate in organic chemistry at the University of North Carolina where he focuses on photochemistry in the Alexanian Lab. His research seeks to harness the energy of light sources to transform deactivated carbon-hydrogen bonds into more useful synthetic intermediates.

“These transformations can be applied to complex molecules to provide useful late-stage functionalization of drugs and natural products, which is an important goal in organic and pharmaceutical chemistry,” Tierney said.

He hopes to become a professor and teach at a university where undergraduate research is encouraged.

In addition to Tierney’s honor, TU clinical psychology doctoral student Edward Lannon has received NSF funding to travel to Denmark from August 2017 to February 2018 to conduct specialized research in pain processing. Lannon earned a NSF Graduate Research Fellowship in 2016.

The NSF grants complement TU’s 2017 Rhodes Scholar Kirk Smith and U.S. Student Fulbright Award winners Bryan Kinzer, a mechanical engineering senior, and Toby Decker (BA ’16).