Recent News News Archives News Categories

HPU GivingTuesday success allows for purchase of new chemistry equipment

BROWNWOOD – February 2, 2022 – Howard Payne University’s Department of Physical Sciences recently purchased a Nuclear Magnetic Resonance (NMR) instrument as a result of a $22,000 gift received during the GivingTuesday event held in the fall. The new equipment will be utilized by students interested in the fields of science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM).

“This instrumentation is critical for students pursuing a degree in STEM or a pre-professional program,” explained Dr. Dennis Gibson II, professor of chemistry and department chair. “I’m so grateful for the generosity of donors whose support is so integral to the success of our students.”

The NMR uses technology similar to Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI), but rather than being used to examine the human body, it allows for the study of molecular structures. The acquisition of the NMR allows students to become familiar with this technique in their second year at HPU and to continue developing the skill until graduation.

“Prior to the purchase of the new instrument, students learned about this technique by watching videos, reading textbooks or traveling to other universities where their exposure was limited,” Dr. Gibson explained. “In addition to in-class experimentation, the new instrumentation will also give students the opportunity to pursue more advanced research topics.”

Chemistry students have already put the NMR instrument to the test, examining the occurrence of microplastics in drinking water and the local environment.

The research is in response to a study published last year showing these contaminates’ potential to cross the blood-brain barrier. The hope is to develop a technique to remediate drinking water of these materials prior to human exposure.

In addition to benefiting HPU students, the School of Science and Mathematics plans to give local high school students the opportunity to get involved with the new instrument. This summer, a research program will give local high school students interested in STEM the opportunity to use the NMR for research projects. Spots are limited and those interested in applying should contact Dr. Gibson at to receive more information. The deadline for application is February 25.

For more information on the School of Science and Mathematics, visit


Cutline: HPU received $22,000 on GivingTuesday to procure new instrumentation for the Department of Physical Sciences. Local high school students interested in STEM are invited to apply for a summer research program on the HPU campus.