July 1, 2013

A Major Acquisition Analyzes Matter on a Small Scale

Adelphi's nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) spectrometerStanding more than six feet tall in the basement of the Science Building, the department’s newly acquired nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) spectrometer is taking research to the next level by giving students and faculty the ability to analyze the structure, interaction and underlying forces of molecules. Being able to study substances on such a fundamental level enables scientists to do everything from diagnose disease states to synthesize the pharmaceuticals to cure them.

“Our top-of-the-line, on-site NMR is the state of the art analytical instrument for chemists and biochemists, said Sam L Grogg, Ph.D., dean of Adelphi’s College of Arts and Sciences, adding that now “Adelphi students have on-campus, direct access to this remarkable device for their learning and research.”

According to Brian Stockman, Ph.D., assistant professor of chemistry, everyone from students being introduced to organic chemistry to those receiving McDonell Fellowships in science are benefiting from the NMR’s capabilities. Dr. Stockman noted that students are using the NMR to perform such experiments as “following organic syntheses, determining the structure of organic molecules and looking at the structure of proteins and protein ligand interactions.” Students load test tubes of substances into the NMR, which then sends data to their computer workstations for analysis.

The acquisition of the NMR heralds a new era for the Department of Chemistry. No longer do professors such as Dr. Stockman have to bring students to Albert Einstein College of Medicine to learn how to use an NMR. In fact, Dr. Stockman said that now Adelphi can share the NMR with other institutions and anticipates hosting students and faculty from Nassau Community College in Fall 2013.

Dr. Stockman said the department has introduced new special topics courses for students to learn advanced uses of the NMR. “But what is more important is integrating it into the hands-on aspects of our [existing] courses,” he said.

The NMR was also the “last hurdle between us and getting certification of our chemistry and biochemistry majors with the American Chemical Society,” Dr. Stockman said, “because one of the absolute requirements for certifications is that students have hands-on access and hands-on training in NMR spectroscopy as part of their major course of study.”

Being adept in operating an NMR is crucial to graduates seeking employment, Dr. Stockman pointed out. “It’s an opportunity for students to learn techniques they’ll use in the pharmaceutical industry,” he said. “Anyone working as a medicinal chemist has to learn NMR.”

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Adelphi University, New York, is a highly awarded, nationally ranked, powerfully connected doctoral research university dedicated to transforming students’ lives through small classes with world-class faculty, hands-on learning and innovative ways to support academic and career success. Adelphi offers exceptional liberal arts and sciences programs and professional training, with particular strength in our Core Four—Arts and Humanities, STEM and Social Sciences, the Business and Education Professions, and Health and Wellness.

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