Largest NSF PFI Grant Ever Awarded to LSU! Professor to Synthesize Affordable Nootkatone

Louisiana State University announced (03.25.2024) that they have received the largest National Science Foundation Partnership for Innovation (NSF PFI) grant ever awarded to LSU, $550,000. With this grant, LSU Chemical Engineering (ChE) Professor Kerry Dooley, LSU (ChE) Department Chair and Professor Mike Benton, and LSU Department of Biological Sciences (Biol. Sci.) Professor Roger Laine will continue their work on nootkatone.

Nootkatone is an FDA-approved repellent to ticks and insects, an organic compound found in grapefruit skin and Alaska yellow cedar trees that has already been shown to be safer and more effective than existing commercial tick & insect repellents. The problem is that this compound is currently too expensive to synthesize for consumer use.

Researchers propose that they can synthesize the nootkatone compound to be more accessible by streamlining, optimizing, and reducing the costs associated with the synthesis of this compound. Increasing affordability of this naturally derived insect & tick repellent will allow for production of products accessible to the general public. This project has potential to provide effective and affordable repellent products to a growing population of people needing protection from Lyme disease, malaria, and West Nile virus cases globally.

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