Canisius Awarded $285,000 from NSF

September 21, 2012


Buffalo, NY – The Major Research Instrumentation Program of the National Science Foundation (NSF) awarded Canisius College $285,000 for the purchase of a 400 MHz nuclear magnetic resonance spectrometer.  This state-of-the-art chemical instrument will be used by chemistry and biochemistry faculty and students to enhance research, research training and education. 

“Nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) spectrometers are the most important and versatile instruments available for chemists and biochemists who study the structures of synthetic and biological molecules,” says Mary O’Sullivan, PhD, professor of chemistry/biochemistry and principal investigator of the NSF award.  She explains that NMR spectroscopy can be used to identify unknown substances, characterize specific arrangements of atoms within molecules, and examine the dynamics of interactions between molecules in solution.  “Access to state-of-the-art NMR spectrometers is essential to chemists and biochemists who conduct frontier research, and the instrument will be a pivotal component of research as well as teaching at Canisius College.”  

Specifically, the NMR spectrometer at Canisius will be used in projects to develop novel contrast agents for MRI; investigate organic mechanisms; develop inhibitors of an enzyme occurring in parasites; study the interactions of compounds with a brain receptor; investigate DNA-protein cross links; and study the structures of inorganic complexes and their uses as photo-activated catalysts. 

The 400 MHz NMR spectrometer replaces the Chemistry and Biochemistry Department’s less powerful 250 MHz NMR instrument. 

O’Sullivan authored the NSF award proposal with chemistry and biochemistry faculty co-authors Mariusz Kozik, PhD, department chair; Timothy Gregg, PhD, associate professor; Jeremy Steinbacher, PhD, assistant professor; and Sarah Evans, PhD, assistant professor. 

One of 28 Catholic, Jesuit universities in the nation, Canisius is the premier private university in Western New York.