The Boston University Department of Chemistry seeks NIH support to acquire a MicroScale Thermophoresis (MST) instrument for the Charles River Campus (CRC). This instrument would enable investigators on the CRC to advance their research in life processes (chemistry, biochemistry and biology) and allow their investigations to move into new areas that would enrich student and postdoctoral training. The instrument's capabilities would enhance active research projects involving the quantification of protein-protein and protein- ligand interactions as well as the identification of protein conformation changes that occur in multi-subunit protein complexes as a function of redox state or allosteric activation. The requested instrument is critical to the research programs of eleven Major Users (Professors Allen, Beffert, Beeler, Brown, Caradonna, Elliott, Harris, Ho, Perlstein, Porco and Whitty). The MST instrument will play a pivotal role in BU's expansion of its life science in biophysical research. The University's commitment is demonstrated by its investment in the infrastructure for supporting multi-user research instruments and by its provision of salary for full time technical support. In 2006, BU completed construction of the 5,500 sq.-ft. Chemical Instrumentation Center (CIC), which was designed with specific space and support staff designated for biophysical instrumentation. The quantitative chemical biology areas that rely on biophysical characterization methods to understand the interactions between molecules continue to grow within the departments, including five of the seven most-recent hires in chemistry and in biology. The requested instrument will enhance our biophysical capability on CRC to meet the current and evolving research needs of the faculty and students. The CIC's Director, Dr. Norman Lee, will manage the usage and finances of the requested instrument and Dr. Jeffrey Bacon, a biophysical instrumentation specialist will operate, maintain and provide user training on the requested instrument. The CIC has a demonstrated management plan for the instrument's usage, financial supervision and scientific oversight, including a nine-member Advisory Committee with representatives from users and non-users. The graduate students and postdoctoral fellows in the laboratories of the users will use this instrument extensively as part of their research. This training of young scientists will facilitate their research objectives, while providing them with additional technical skills for succeeding in their future professional careers.
The requested NanoTemper Monolith NT.115 MicroScale Thermophoresis unit will enable the quantification of interactions between macromolecules with other macromolecules or small molecules for a wide range of NIH- supported projects. The scientific advances that the instrument will support in these projects will impact a wide variety of pathologies, including cancer, inflammatory disease, diabetes and neurological diseases such as Autism disorder, Alzheimer's, Parkinson's, hyperphenylalaninemia, and phenylketonuria.