This award is funded under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (Public Law 111-5).

With this award from the Major Research Instrumentation (MRI) program Professor Joanne D. Kehlbeck and colleagues Susan Kohler, Laura A. MacManus-Spencer and Laurie Tyler from Union College will acquire a 400 MHz nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) spectrometer. The instrument will be used to support research activities such as: 1) understanding and using hyperpolarized agents for magnetic resonance imaging and NMR spectroscopy, 2) determining molecular conformations, 3) identifying bioactive natural products, 4) advancing knowledge of nanoparticle structure and function, 5) increasing knowledge of J-coupling in inorganic transition metal complexes, and 6) understanding fluorocarbon/protein binding in the environment. The acquisition will foster collaborations between student and faculty researchers and increase student access to modern instrumentation in laboratory courses, summer programs, and community outreach activities.

Nuclear Magnetic Resonance (NMR) spectroscopy is one of the most powerful tools available to chemists for the elucidation of the structure of molecules. It is used to identify unknown substances, to characterize specific arrangements of atoms within molecules, and to study the dynamics of interactions between molecules in solution. Access to state-of-the-art NMR spectrometers is essential to chemists who are carrying out frontier research. The results from these NMR studies will have an impact in synthetic organic/inorganic chemistry, materials chemistry and biochemistry. This instrument will be an integral part of teaching as well as research.

Project Report

The acquisition of a 400 MHz Nuclear Magnetic Resonance Spectrometer (NMR) for Union College has enhanced the research and student opportunities in Chemistry, Biochemistry, and Biological Sciences. The instrument has allowed us to characterize extracted natural products and synthetic compounds, allowed for the development of new synthetic methods and generation of copper complexes for chemotherapeutics, and contributed to our fundamental understanding the chemical biology of pheromone communication and mammalian cell preservation for the long term storage of precious samples. The 400 MHz NMR has also supported Union’s long-standing commitment to incorporate research as an integral part of the undergraduate curriculum and to develop innovative, multidisciplinary teaching and research opportunities through the use of state-of-the-art instrumentation early in introductory courses. Laboratory training exercises have been incorporated into several organic chemistry courses involving 120 students annually. The instrument is also used for instruction in advanced laboratory courses in Chemistry as well as for outreach events designed to motivate high school students, especially those belonging to under-represented groups, to enter into STEM fields. Seven faculty members have integrated NMR into their research in multiple research areas. Twenty-five undergraduates have completed senior theses or summer research projects utilizing the 400 MHz NMR and have presented their results at national and regional conferences. Three peer-reviewed journal articles, one book chapter, 18 presentations at national conferences and two patent applications have resulted from this project.

National Science Foundation (NSF)
Division of Chemistry (CHE)
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Carlos A. Murillo
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Union College
United States
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