029: NMR Centre
Created by Berry Birdsall, Jim Feeney, Alain Oregioni (Biomedical NMR Centre)
The NMR Centre was set up by the MRC in 1979 under the direction of Jim Feeney to provide advanced nuclear magnetic resonance facilities for researchers at NIMR and the wider academic community. We have received superb support from everyone at the Institute throughout the time and we have enjoyed 35 happy years at Mill Hill. We look forward to at least as long as part of the Crick!
The canvas is made of three parts and a title.
On the left, a Free Induction Decay is represented. This is a typical raw Nuclear Magnetic Resonance (NMR) signal of a protein, showing an exponential decay (time is going from left to right). These types of signals can be processed to give NMR spectra, and further analysis and interpretation yields detailed information about the protein, such as the structure of the molecule at atomic resolution.
On the right is a simplified drawing of an NMR magnet, inspired by the shape of the biggest magnet installed at NIMR, which has a field of 22.3 Tesla; this is equivalent to a 1H nuclear resonance frequency of 950 MHz. The copper-coloured wires stuck on the magnet drawing are in fact pieces of superconducting wires, which, when cooled at liquid helium temperature, do not show any resistance and allow for stable high magnetic fields to be created. This is essential in order to acquire NMR signal useful to biologists.
Inside the contour of the magnet is represented part of a protein which has been extensively studied in the NMR Centre: Dihydrofolate Reductase (DHFR). The DHFR representation shows an alpha helix (blue) and some beta strands (green), which are the typical components of the secondary structure of proteins.
Tom Frenkiel, Geoff Kelly, Alain Oregioni
Chris Bauer, Jim Feeney, Mike Gradwell, Peter Morris, Fred Muskett
Many members of Institute staff, mainly from the Division of Molecular Structure (formerly Molecular Pharmacology), and external user groups too numerous to list!