LSU Secures $2M Nuclear Magnetic Resonance (NMR) Spectrometer with NSF Support

LSU has received a Major Research Instrumentation (MRI) grant from the National Science Foundation (NSF) for a project titled, “MRI: Acquisition of a solid/liquid-state 700 MHz NMR instrument for the Southeast.”

BATON ROUGE, July 22, 2020- The highly competitive NSF MRI program catalyzes new knowledge and discoveries by empowering scientists and engineers with state-of-the-art research instrumentation. The $2M award will enable LSU to purchase a high-field 700 MHz NMR spectrometer that will serve 23 participating research groups from 12 regional institutions.

The Nuclear Magnetic Resonance (NMR) spectrometer has both solid- and liquid-state capabilities. The instrument affords a 1.4–1.8-fold enhancement of magnetic field strengths compared to current capabilities at LSU. Thus, the NMR spectrometer has the potential to advance knowledge across diverse research fields.

“The expertise in biomolecular NMR is strong in Louisiana but our state is currently the only southeastern state without high-field capabilities, which has made it difficult for Louisiana researchers to be nationally competitive,” said Dr. Tuo Wang. “The acquisition of this new instrument will improve our research and training infrastructure.”

The new instrument will not only help establish a high-field NMR facility in the Southeast region of the United States, but also encourage and enable users with varying levels of NMR expertise to embrace NMR as a valuable component in their research projects.

Some of the proposed research projects that will be made possible with the new NMR include studies of protein-membrane interactions to detail antimicrobial mechanisms; protein-protein and protein-ligand complexes to reveal the biochemical processes associated with Chlamydia, blood coagulation, and cancer; carbohydrate structures in wild-type and transgenic plants and fungi; and biomimetic materials.

The current team includes:

The development of the project, which is managed by the NSF Division of Biological Infrastructure (DBI), also included support from Drs. Carol Taylor, Robert Cook, Kresimir Rupnik, Bill Doerrler, and Grover Waldrop from the LSU Departments of Chemistry and Biological Sciences and many other colleagues.

“I’m so proud of our team! We have worked for six years to bring this instrument to Louisiana,” said Dr. Megan Macnaughtan. “We are grateful for the patience and support from our colleagues and the university.”

The project has benefited from long-term support from the LSU Office of Research & Economic Development, College of Science (Departments of Chemistry, Physics, and Biological Sciences), College of Engineering, Pennington Biomedical Research Center, LSU Vet School, and LSU AgCenter. The award would not have been possible without the participation of several regional institutions, including LSU Health Sciences Center, LA Tech, UL Monroe, University of New Orleans, Baylor, UL Lafayette, Southern University, Nicholls State, and LSU Alexandria.

Gretchen Schneider 
LSU Department of Chemistry