About 15 feet tall and 6 feet in diameter, an 800 megahertz nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) spectrometer was delivered to UH in January. On May 16 and 17, top experts in the field of biomolecular NMR will gather at UH to dedicate the machine and participate in a special symposium devoted to protein science.
"This NMR is a rare sort of instrument, and for this part of the country, extremely rare," said B. Montgomery Pettitt, Cullen Distinguished Professor of Chemistry at UH and director of UH's Institute for Molecular Design (IMD), where the instrument is housed.
Funded by a grant from the W.M. Keck Foundation, as well as university funds, the NMR device allows scientists to produce three-dimensional images of proteins, gene sequences and other molecules in solution. By studying these structural images, scientists can design new drugs and vaccines and gain a better understanding of processes taking place within the body's cells.
At UH, the scientists using the device include Xiaolian Gao, a professor of chemistry and biochemistry who has directed NMR research at UH during the past decade; and Glen Legge, an assistant professor of biology and biochemistry who formerly worked at the Scripps Research Institute in San Diego.
"We are extremely excited about the arrival of this high-power instrument, which will allow our research to meet cutting-edge challenges," said Gao, who will oversee the operation of the NMR facility.
NMR technology allows scientists to determine the structure of the molecules of life, or any other very complicated molecules. "With those structures we can create models and try to understand how these wonderful molecular machines actually work. This is real nanot
Contact: Amanda Siegfried
University of Houston