The CFNMR centre supports research in a number of areas both within the college and externally.  At Imperial College the majority of research falls in three main areas: Structural Biology (mainly applying solution-state NMR), Biomolecular Medicine (both solution and solid-state) and Solid State NMR applications in materials and biomembranes.

Research Themes

Structural Biology

A protein-ligand interaction studied at the molecular level by NMRThe CFNMR centre provides access to the high-field NMR instrumentation necessary for the world-class research being undertaken at Imperial College in the field of structural biology.  The CFNMR is associated with the multi-disciplinary Centre for Structural Biology (CSB) whose NMR application is led by the groups of Professor Steve Matthews, Dr Ernesto Cota-Segura, and Dr Alfonso De Simone. Within the diverse range of research activities underway at the CSB, NMR has made especially important contributions in the understanding of various host-pathogen interactions at the molecular level, eukaryotic/viral translation initiation, in elucidating the mechanism and multifunctional roles of AAA ATPases and in characterising intrinsically disordered proteins in water and at the surface of biological membranes.  

Biomolecular Medicine

Biomolecular Medicine overview schematicResearch involves all aspects of molecular toxicology and drug metabolism, cancer biology, disease aetiology, systems biology, functional genomics, xenobiotic metabolism and enviro-nmental chemistry.  The section are world leaders in multivariate metabolic profiling (metabonomics and metabolomics) and in the statistical integration (chemometrics) of multi-omics data.  The group of Professor Jeremy Nicholson FRSC have been pivotal in founding the new science of NMR-based Metabonomics, evolving out of more than two decades of researching biofluids and tissues.  It is now one of the world’s largest research teams in metabolic science.  Recently, this has led into more clinical applications, employing patient metabolic profiles for the identification of markers of disease and individual patient response.  For more information see the Biomolecular Medicine home page.


Solid-State NMR

27Al Z-filtered 3QMAS solid-state NMR spectrumSolid state NMR spectroscopy provides an invaluable insight to a wide variety of materials ranging from biological soft solids to inorganic glasses.  Through Magic Angle Spinning (MAS) NMR, the CFNMR facility is allowing a number of groups with diverse interests to utilise solid state NMR spectroscopy at high fields.  The group of Dr. Rob Law, Dept. of Chemistry, collaborates with Prof. Robert Hill, Dept. of Materials, on the structure and dynamics of inorganic glasses. Further work on phospholipid-phospholipid and peptide-phospholipid interactions are also being undertaken in conjunction with Prof. John Seddon in the Dept. of Chemistry.  For more information see the Law group home page.