Campus: Los Angeles -- February 15, 2006

Three-Dimensional Molecular Analysis Boosts Research Sciences at Cal State L.A.

A powerful new research capability at Cal State L.A. will enhance science learning across multiple disciplines. The 600-megahertz NMR (nuclear magnetic resonance) spectrometer is the most powerful machine of its kind within the CSU, enabling researchers to analyze the three-dimensional structure of molecules and image small animals in vivo.

"As chemists, we must understand structures at the molecular level so we'll know how they're made up," says Yong Ba, associate professor of chemistry and director of the NMR Lab at CSULA. "The NMR allows us to see what's inside a molecule and living tissue without destroying anything, in a way that no other instrument can. It's the single most important instrument in chemistry and biological science."

Funded jointly by the W.M. Keck Foundation, National Institutes of Health and Cal State L.A., the NMR aligns magnetic nuclei with a very powerful external magnetic field. NMR spectroscopy is one of the primary techniques used to obtain structural information about a molecule. It is the only technique that can provide detailed information on the exact three-dimensional structure of biological molecules in solution.

The NMR, already drawing faculty observers from other universities, will be used in research across several departments, including chemistry, biology, kinesiology and nutritional science. CSULA science faculty members plan to invite local high-school and middle-school students to observe and learn about the powerful capabilities of the NMR.

Desdemona Cardoza, dean of the University's College of Natural and Social Sciences, states: "By leveraging resources from both private and public sources, Cal State L.A. has been able to provide this state-of-the-art laboratory facility for students and faculty in the sciences. Having the NMR on our campus significantly enhances our ability to secure research and training grants enabling our students to engage in research activities with faculty and gain hands-on experience with this leading-edge technology."

Contact: Margie Yu, Office of Public Affairs, (323) 343-3047

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