In this collaborative project co-funded by the Chemical Structure, Dynamics and Mechanisms (CSDM) and by the Macromolecular, Supramolecular and Nanochemistry (MSN) Programs of the NSF Chemistry Division, Roberto R. Gil of Carnegie Mellon University (Pittsburgh, PA) and Nicolay V. Tsarevsky of Southern Methodist University (Dallas, TX) will develop new Nuclear Magnetic Resonance (NMR) methodologies for the constitutional, configurational and conformational analysis of small molecules in anisotropic media. By absorbing small molecules into stretched or compressed specially designed polymer gel matrices swollen in organic solvents, NMR parameters that provide relevant structural information can be revealed and measured. These NMR parameters can help to solve challenging structural problems when traditional solution NMR experiments fail to provide a unique solution. The results of this research will benefit a variety of fields that employ precise structural data, and will be particularly useful in the analysis of complex natural products and in the biopharmaceutical sciences. The analysis of the experimental data will be aided with computer simulations. The work is interdisciplinary and will enable both graduate and undergraduate students to learn several different disciplines, such as synthetic polymer/materials chemistry, NMR spectroscopy and computational chemistry. The program is open to all students but members of underrepresented groups in the sciences will be particularly encouraged to participate. The NMR and the computational part of the project are suitable for students with disabilities. Due to the interdisciplinary character of this project including an international collaboration with a researcher in Spain, the participating students will learn to work comfortably in culturally and scientifically diverse environments. An important outcome of the project is the implementation of the residual dipolar couplings (RDCs) analysis in the analytical chemistry curricula. The introduction of an RDC module in analytical undergraduate or graduate laboratory courses is planned.

National Science Foundation (NSF)
Division of Chemistry (CHE)
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Tanja Pietraß
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Southern Methodist University
United States
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