The acquisition of a 600 MHz NMR spectrometer, and the upgrade of the existing Varian VXR-500 to UNITY Plus 500, XL-400 to UNITY Plus 400 and the addition of accessories to the UNITY 500 MHz NMR spectrometers at Rutgers University, and at the University of Medicine and Dentistry (UMDNJ), are crucial for the successful execution of the research projects of the Structural Biology community at these universities. The major users of the NMR facility are: Prof. Jean Baum, Chemistry, Rutgers; Prof. Gaetano Montelione, MBB, Rutgers, and CABM; Prof. Roger Jones, Chemistry, Rutgers; and Prof. Stephen Anderson, MBB, Rutgers, and CABM. In addition, there are many Rutgers and UMDNJ faculty who are using, or planning on using, high field NMR in their research, either independently or via collaborations with the major users. The recruitment of Drs. Montelione and Baum to Rutgers University established multidimensional NMR as a major priority on campus. Numerous investigators at both universities are currently collaborating with these two groups. In addition, Drs. Anderson and Jones have been expanding their own research efforts using high field NMR. As a result, all of the existing NMR instruments are in constant use (24 hrs/day, 7 days/week), and the development of independent NMR programs by other investigators has been prevented because of insufficient instrument time. The lack of a 600 MHz spectrometer on the campus and deficiencies in the existing equipment severely limit research efforts with larger (10 - 30 kD) proteins and complexes. In addition, the NMR instruments used to recruit Baum and Montelione are now out of date. The 500 and 400 MHz spectrometers in the Chemistry Department lack triple-resonance and PFG capabilities which are essential for heteronuclear NMR of macromolecules. None of the instruments are equipped with deuterium decoupling capabilities required to exploit random deuteration techniques for overcoming short 13C relaxation rates encountered in larger proteins. The NMR research and research training of the four major users require direct access to NMR instrumentation for about 40 researchers. In addition, the independent users, mentioned above, have on the order of 40 graduate students and postdoctorals doing 'hands on' NMR experiments. The NMR facilities will also have a significant impact on research and teaching for some additional 40 faculty, students, and postdoctorals at Rutgers and UMDNJ through the research programs of collaborators. In total, approximately 120 scientists will be affected by the proposed NMR hardware upgrades and acquisition of a new 600 MHz NMR spectrometer. The research activities of the major users of the NMR facility are in structural biology with emphasis in the following areas. 1) development of new NMR experiments which facilitate and automate the protein structure determination process; 2) structure determination of small biomedically important proteins (sizes range from 7 to 30 kD); 3) conformational studies of denatured or partially denatured proteins to understand the mechanism of protein folding; 4) atomic details and dynamics of molecular recognition; 5) studies of nucleic acid structure and interactions. In addition, a number of independent users are interested in the analysis of organic and inorganic compounds. The acquisition of a 600 MHz NMR and the upgrades of the existing facility will greatly improve the scientific and engineering infrastructure of Rutgers and UMDNJ. In order to maintain the momentum of this developing dynamic scientific community in structural biology, the NMR facilities must be brought up to the cutting edge of the field.

National Science Foundation (NSF)
Division of Biological Infrastructure (DBI)
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Michael K. Lamvik
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Rutgers University
New Brunswick
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