Instruments in this price range include structural and functional imaging systems, macromolecular nuclear magnetic resonance spectrometers, high-resolution mass spectrometers, electron microscopes, and supercomputers. Imaging technology provides functional, biochemical and physiological information from intact biological systems including humans. Nuclear Magnetic Resonance Spectrometers allow researchers to determine three-dimensional structures of large proteins and protein complexes, while mass spectrometers provide very high resolution and accurate molecular weight measurement for the study of large biopolymers and their interactions. Electron microscopes offer high resolution imaging of single molecules and allow investigators to perform computer reconstruction at the subnanometer scale for large and complex macromolecular assemblies. Super computers with high performance visualization hardware and parallel architectures allow for large data storage and high-speed transfer.
"Rapid technological development has led to a new generation of high-sensitivity, high-resolution instruments that are very expensive but that can greatly accelerate research into the underlying mechanisms of disease," said Barbara Alving, M.D., Acting Director of NCRR. "The faster we can place these new technologies in the hands of as many NIH investigators as possible, the more rapidly we can transfer this new knowledge to patient treatments and cures."