CBIS Facilities

Nuclear Magnetic Resonance Research (NMR)

The Nuclear Magnetic Resonance (NMR) Research Core is used for solution structure determination of small molecules (proteins, carbohydrates and macromolecular complexes) at atomic resolution.

NMR is also used to elucidate protein folding and aggregation mechanisms/kinetics, structural informatics/gene discovery, and structure activity relationships.

Currently, the system has three fully operational systems (see links below):

  • Bruker 800 (18.8 Tesla) and 600 MHz (14.1 Tesla) NMR spectrometer
  • Bruker 600 MHz Wide-Bore Solid-State 14T NMR and Multichannel Heteronuclear Microimaging Spectrometer

The 800 and 600MHz standard-bore spectrometers are each equipped with 4 RF channels, an ultra-sensitive HCND cryoprobe with a z-axis gradient, and a room temperature HCND probe with triple-axis gradients. Cryoprobes have cryogenically cooled 1H/13C/15N/2H RF coils and 1H/13C/2H preamplifiers providing for enhanced sensitivity.

The Avance III 600MHz/14T widebore instrument is well equipped for performing solid-state NMR, MRI,and diffusion studies.  For solid-state NMR, high power RF amplifiers, magic angle spinning unit, and multiple accessories for operation over a wide temperature range including very low temperatures are available. Probes available to users include a 4mm HXY MAS solids probe, where X and Y are broad band tunable channels, and a 3.2mm E-free HCN MAS probe, optimized to greatly reduce sample heating of biomaterials and a 5mm HCX broadband tunable solution probe. For imaging studies, 15 and 25mm volume coils, animal handling unit, inhaled anesthesia, and biometric monitoring/triggering equipment are also available.

In addition, the facility offers both LINUX and Windows based workstations complete with a variety of software packages for data processing and analysis and a dedicated 92 processor LINUX cluster for performing structure determination calculations and restrained molecular dynamics simulations.

A sample preparation workspace complete with tabletop, micro, and NMR tube centrifuges, pH meter, and wet bench are also available to facility users.
This world class facility is also designed and ready as the future home of an ultra-high field 950-MHz spectrometer.

Contact Information: 

Dr. Scott A. McCallum
BioImaging & NMR Research Core Director

The facility provides an ideally suited environment for carrying out investigative research toward challenging biomedical and material problems.

In addition to providing access to expert users, the NMR facility encourages researchers of all experience levels by offering training, support, collaborative research opportunities, and service in applying NMR-based biomolecular and/or analytical applications.

NMR is an extremely powerful research tool capable of characterizing at atomic resolution the three-dimensional structure, motional dynamics, folding pathways, and binding kinetics and thermodynamics of biomolecules.

Researchers at Rensselaer actively utilize the instrumentation to investigate the structural basis and treatment of diseases such as Alzheimer’s and cancer.

Active projects also include basic research in RNA folding, structure-function analysis of protein glycosylation, and the structural basis for protein recognition of natural carbohydrates and for rationally designed carbohydrate-based therapeutics.


The NMR facility was established with the mission of becoming a regional center for open use by both academic and industrial researchers throughout the upstate NY community and beyond.

Therefore, all researchers interested in utilizing these facilities (including the scheduling of training, and to obtain instrument time and rate information) are highly encouraged to contact Scott McCallum, the Director of the NMR core facility.

Facility staff is also highly receptive and supportive of the development of new methods to enhance and facilitate NMR-based biomolecular, chemical, and analytical applications.

Service work and assisted access is available to industry with clearly defined Intellectual Property protection.

In addition, consultation and research support services may be available with appropriate interaction through RPI’s technology transfer personnel within the Department of Research Administration. (Richard E. Scammell, WH 3rd Fl, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, 110 8th Street, Troy, NY 12180, telephone 518-276-6177.

Policy for Use: 

Users will be required to provide billing information prior to requesting instrument time. Each internal user must complete and submit a Funding Authorization Form. Internal accounts will be billed automatically at the end of each month. External users will be assigned account numbers associated with their billing details. Invoices will be sent monthly. Providing fraudulent and/or inaccurate billing information may result in the loss of use privileges.

Rates are shown on the page for each piece of equipment. Rates vary among RPI, External Academic, and Industry users and are further divided into Standard and Assisted users. Additional charges include Training and Setup fees when appropriate (see below for clarification). Charges for internal users will incur indirect costs when applied to the sponsored fund. The rate for External users includes RPI’s indirect costs of 60%. Rates are subject to change without further notice.

User Categories
Approved users are those who have completed the required training and have achieved a minimum amount of experience on the instruments.

Assisted users are those who are currently being trained or have completed the training, but still require assistance from the facility staff in running their experiments. Assisted use will be available during normal business hours or by special arrangements.

Training & Approved Users
Training will be required for all users. Center and Campus users will receive training for free. The typical training session will take approximately 4 hours. Experienced users may only be required to demonstrate proficiency. Training will be held according to demand.

Set-up & Data Analysis Fees
Set up fees will be incurred when the experiment is being run at an assisted rate for less than 24 hours or when the facility staff’s time is required to prepare for a unique experiment or to assist experienced Approved users.

This fee will also be incurred (in addition to the base hourly fee) for data collection on submitted samples or for assistance in data processing and analysis.

Scheduling Process & MinimumsTo schedule time on the spectrometers please login into the ilabs calendar system. Click on this Online Scheduling link to reach the ilabs site.
If you cannot access the instrument calendar you are interested in, please send an email to Scott McCallum or Marimar Lopez to be assigned the editing capabilities on the calendars you need to access.

Cancellations must be made with at least 48 hours advance notice to avoid being charged for the scheduled time.

If a cancellation is made with less than 48 hours notice, the user will be charged for the full cost of the scheduled time unless the scheduled user is able to arrange for a substitute user in their time slot.

External Users & Lab Safety Training
External users will be required to document completion of lab safety training from their organizations or will be required to complete the Institute’s lab safety training. They will be required to apply for a Center access card.

Damage & Liability
Researchers use the facility with the understanding that they will be loose facility privileges and be charged up to $5,000 for damages not covered by the service contract. These include but are not limited to damage incurred due to careless or negligent use of the instrumentation and facility equipment and space. Users are responsible for applicable charges and for damage that results from samples that are explosive, pressurized, chemically corrosive, radioactive, biologically dangerous, or that otherwise pose unusual hazards to instrumentation or personnel.

Rules for Facility Use
Users must enter their user/contact, time, sample, and experiment information in the log book (located at each instrument workstation) prior to starting. All instrument problems and/or irregularities in operation must be entered into the logbook.

Individual users scheduled during this period are responsible for liquid nitrogen fills. Cryogen fills are to be performed and logged on each Wednesday morning. Users must confirm that a Nitrogen fill had been performed prior to starting research. In the event that this routine maintenance time is to be rescheduled, prior arrangements must be confirmed by NMR Core Facility staff.

Only sealed samples are permitted within the NMR room. All sample preparation work including the loading and mixing of materials must be performed in the researcher’s workspace or in the NMR Core wet lab space. Use of lab coats, pipettes, and surgical gloves are also not permitted within the NMR room. Violation of facility policy will result in loss of use privileges.

The area around the instrument, workstation, console, and wet lab space must be thoroughly cleaned following use of the scheduled session. Any mess taken care of by the facility staff will be billed at the hourly operator rate.

Only well marked samples may be temporarily left in the facility. Contents, solvent type, date, and user identification must be clearly visible on tube labels.

Users are wholly responsible for data backups. The facility has no intention of storing data for more than a post acquisition time period greater than several weeks. Data including processed matrices will be removed from the system disks without warning after this time period.

Oversight Committee
The Oversight Committee include Steven Cramer, Mattheos Koffas, Geroge Makhatadze (chair), Scott A. McCallum, and Chunyu Wang.