Department of Chemistry

Department of Chemistry University of Oxford

Funding success for very-high field solution-state NMR facility

Funding success for very-high field solution-state NMR facility

Group leaders in the Departments of Biochemistry (Profs Christina Redfield, Jason Schnell and John Vakonakis) and Chemistry (Profs. Andy Baldwin and Tim Claridge) have secured support towards upgrading the flagship 950 MHz nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) spectrometer, housed in Biochemistry. Funding of close to £500K has been obtained from the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) under the "Very- and Ultra-High field NMR for the physical and life sciences" initiative. The 950 MHz NMR upgrade will include a high-sensitivity 5mm TCI "CryoProbe" and an automated sample changer. This new probe will increase 1H signal-to-noise by a factor of up to 3, allowing more challenging macromolecular systems to be studied. The sample changer will improve throughput by enabling fully automated, round-the-clock data collection. Once upgraded, time on the 950 MHz NMR spectrometer will also be made available to external users from other UK academic institutions and from industry.

The 22.3T Oxford Instruments magnet, which, alongside a custom-built electronics control console and probe, formed the basis for the first 950 MHz spectrometer in the world, was installed in the Rex Richards Building, Department of Biochemistry at the University of Oxford in October 2005. This was funded from the Wellcome Trust's contribution to the Joint Infrastructure Fund. The spectrometer console was upgraded in 2015/16 with internal funding of £340K secured from the Institutional Strategic Support Fund, the John Fell Fund and Edward Penley Abraham Cephalosporin Fund. The new funding from EPSRC ensures that Oxford will continue to have a state-of-the-art ultra-high field NMR spectrometer, with only two comparable instruments currently available in the UK.
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