News Archive

Sigma Xi Offers Research Grants to Students

August 25, 2017

Sigma Xi invites undergraduate and graduate students to apply to its Grants-in-Aid of Research (GIAR) program by October 1, 2017. The application is on Sigma Xi’s website at

Endowment Distributes First Grant

Carolyn ShashaThe new Claude C. Barnett Grants-in-Aid of Research Endowment Fund distributed its first grant this spring. Carolyn Shasha, a doctoral candidate at the University of Washington, is using the $800 grant to support her research project on magnetic particle imaging (MPI), a new medical imaging method that uses magnetic nanoparticles. It is currently being developed as a cheaper, faster alternative to magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). 

“My goal is to develop a method for creating multicolor images with MPI so that, for example, blood, healthy tissue, and cancer cells could appear on an image in different colors,” said Shasha.  

Her project involves using computer simulations to identify the experimental conditions necessary for creating a multicolor image. She is spending August testing the method at a functioning prototype MPI system at the University Medical Center Hamburg-Eppendorf. This is her first grant and she is using it to support her travel costs to and from Germany, and to meet and work with leaders there and gain access to state-of-the-art ­equipment.  

“I believe that nanotechnology will play an extremely important role in the development of future medical technologies,” Shasha said. “I enjoy the challenge of trying to figure out exactly what’s going on with these tiny particles, while at the same time contributing to a broader field that will hopefully soon be translated into clinical applications.”

Barnett was a Sigma Xi member for 60 years and served as president of the Whitman College–Walla Walla University Chapter in Washington state.

Climate Science Research Grants Now Available

GIAR will accept applications for climate science research grants for the first time this fall.  “Sigma Xi recognizes that climate change is a critical, interdisciplinary issue that has important scientific as well as societal implications,” said Peter J. Harries, chair of the GIAR committee. “This importance is the crux of the Society’s support for up-and-coming researchers who are pursuing research in the myriad disciplines that enhance our understanding of the topic. By adding this new category to the grants program, we aim to promote the continued development of this growing field.”

The new climate science category is related to an upcoming event Sigma Xi will host on November 10 in Raleigh, North Carolina. The Symposium on Atmospheric Chemistry, Climate, and Health will feature five researchers who will discuss climate change and its effects on global and human health. Sigma Xi’s Student Research Conference will follow on November 11.

How to Support Student Research

GIAR will reach its centennial year in 2022, thanks in large part to individual donors. Sigma Xi’s goal is to increase financial support for GIAR so it can help more students. If you would like to support student research, go to