Scientists analyzing maize affected by southern leaf blight determine the molecular structures of so-called “death acids.”

The HiPER spectrometer may not feature the strongest magnet at the MagLab, but it wins hands down in the "coolest looking" category. This powerful tool, from which protrude 29 black, kooky cones, is now open to scientists.

This week at the lab, one of the instrument's first users, biophysicist Brian Hales of Louisiana State University, is here sizing up proteins with the HiPER (pronounced "hyper") spectrometer, which is shorthand for high-power pulsed W-band electron paramagnetic resonance (EPR) .

The "high-power" part refers to the instrument's recently upgraded 1-kilowatt amplifier. Along with other revolutionary design innovations, it makes possible the machine's game-changing sensitivity.

Depending on the technique used with the instrument, this sensitivity is orders of magnitude greater than what was previously available to scientists. This means scientists can run experiments on a material even if they have a just a teeny, tiny bit of it. This capability is extremely significant in structural biology (among other research areas), when scientists might have just a smidgeon of the protein they want to characterize. 

"Sensitivity is a major concern," said Likai Song, a research scientist with the lab's Electron Magnetic Resonance Facility who works closely with the 9-tesla HiPER spectrometer. "Improved sensitivity opens the door to a lot of applications."

The instrument is not only expected to be a great boon for scientists like Hales who study proteins, but it will also impact all other research areas in the lab, including material science, physics and chemistry, said Song.


Text by Kristen Coyne. Photo by Stephen Bilenky.

With the help of the world's strongest MRI machine, a scientist uses a novel technique to pinpoint ground zero for a migraine.

A MagLab chemist has determined how the flu virus tunnels into cells, paving the way for new treatments.

Andreas Neubauer took the extended stay option during his recent trip to the MagLab. After all, you can't rush art — especially when it's mixed with science.

Ten years ago the 900 Ultra-Wide Bore magnet became available to an international user community for Nuclear Magnetic Resonance spectroscopy and Magnetic Resonance Imaging at the National High Magnetic Field Lab. Since then 69 publications have been published from this instrument spanning many disciplines and the number of publications per year continues to increase with 26 in just the past 18 months demonstrating that state of the art data continues to be collected on this superb magnet.

We describe a method for de novo protein sequencing with high accuracy and multiple levels of confidence. Samples are digested separately by two proteases, Lys-C and Lys-N. The resulting complementary pairs of ions combine to improve confidence in the identification.

Paleobiogeochemist (no, that's not a typo) Nur Gueneli put some ancient dirt into our magnets to learn more about the Earth's earliest inhabitants.

In this paper, we obtained the first brain map of a complete fruit fly head at 10 micron isotropic resolution, the highest ever reported by MR for a complete head. Using two complementary imaging sequences revealed the superior power of DWI to dissect the brain architecture at close to cellular resolution.

Dynamic nuclear polarization (DNP) coupled with solid state NMR can provide orders of magnitude enhancement to normally weak NMR signals, thereby enabling the study of inherently dilute proteins such as membrane proteins. Here we demonstrate a new approach to obtain DNP signal enhancements of membrane proteins by utilizing spin labeled lipids as the polarization agents. This strategy results in more than 2x in signal enhancements of a membrane protein when compared to standard DNP sample preparation techniques.

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