Prof. Tony Mittermaier was awarded a CFI-John R. Evans Leaders Fund to acquire a 800 MHz nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) magnet. Most human diseases are caused by malfunctions in the fundamental molecules of life: proteins, DNA, and RNA. Studying the structure and flexibility of the molecules at the atomic level therefore helps us to understand diseases and find cures, much in the same way that the blueprint of an engine can help us to fix it when it is broken. One of the best ways to obtain these “molecular blueprints” is NMR, which measures the signals given off by atoms when placed in a strong magnetic field. With a more powerful magnet, Prof. Mittermaier and his team will study research topics such as antibiotic resistance, cancer, ALS and Lou Gehrig’s disease.
Prof. Audrey Moores also successful secured in the same competition a state of the art transmission electron microscope (TEM) to study innovative materials. When producing new materials, it is essential to understand their structure at the nano to atomic levels. TEM allows to observe phenomena at that scale and derive the shape, size and composition of materials as small as a few nanometers long. With this key information, properties of nanoparticles can be explained and innovative materials can be rationally designed. Prof. Moores and co-applicants Prof. Lennox and Sleiman, the oxidation of iron at the molecular and nanolevels, the seeding and growth of metal nanoparticles, both in liquid and solid phases, and the interaction between nanoparticles and DNA in self assembled structures will be studied, and impact strategic sectors such as green chemistry, catalysis, nanoelectronics, and drug delivery.
Both projects each have a total budget of 2 million dollars.