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UW-Eau Claire Chemistry Alumnus to Lead Seminar Nov. 10

RELEASED: Nov. 1, 2005

Dr. Franco BasileEAU CLAIRE — A University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire chemistry graduate who recently won a prestigious Lindbergh Foundation grant award will talk with students during a Nov. 10 visit to campus.

Dr. Franco Basile, who graduated from UW-Eau Claire in 1986 and is now an assistant professor of chemistry at the University of Wyoming, will give a presentation at 12:10 p.m. Nov. 10 in Room 401 of Phillips Hall. His talk, which is part of the chemistry department's speaker series, is titled "From Microbes to Ions: Detection of Microorganisms with Mass Spectrometry." Prior to the presentation, Basile will join chemistry students for lunch.

Basile received a 2005 Lindbergh grant from the Lindbergh Foundation for his project titled "Rapidly Detecting Bacterial Pathogens in Drinking and Waste Water to Prevent Contaminated Water from Being Released for Human Consumption."

Quality drinking water is essential for the protection of human health and the environment. Currently, water treatment facilities use petri dish tests — a process that takes 24-48 hours — to detect E.coli, coliform and other harmful bacteria in drinking and waste water.

Basile developed a method that uses mass spectrometry to detect and count the amount of E.coli and coliform in drinking water and wastewater in as little as 30 minutes. Detecting contaminants quickly allows corrective measures to take place before dangerous levels of bacteria are reached. The method also can detect low numbers of bacteria so measures can be put in place to stop distribution of contaminated water to humans. Basile's method has the potential to be used in medical applications and the detection of biological warfare agents for homeland security.

Basile received one of eight 2005 Lindbergh grants. The grants are made in amounts up to $10,580, which represents the cost of building Charles Lindbergh's plane, the Spirit of St. Louis, in 1927. To date, more than $2.5 million has been awarded to 258 researchers.

The Lindbergh Foundation is a non-profit organization based in Minnesota that strives to improve the quality of life by balancing technological innovation and the preservation of the environment. Its programs support, honor and educate individuals through the honorary Lindbergh award and the Lindbergh grants program.

The Nov. 10 program at UW-Eau Claire is free and open to the public.

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JB

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