Biomolecular Nuclear Magnetic Resonance Facility


The Biomolecular NMR Core Facility provides support across the Biological Sciences Division at the University of Chicago. A partial list of the research currently actively supported by the facility includes

  • The Meredith group, who examines the root causes of Alzheimer’s disease, which is caused by the misfolding of a protein in the brain.
    • Website:
    • Jonathan Zerweck, Bharat Somireddy Venkata, Jay M. Pittman, Atul K. Srivastava, Patrick C. Moore, Joseph R. Sachleben, Gopal Thinakaran, Stephen C. Meredith. “A versatile method for producing labeled or unlabeled Aβ55, Aβ40, and other β-amyloid family peptides.” Protein Expression and Purification. 162 (2019) 72-82.
    • Laura M. L. Hawk, Jay M. Pittman, Patrick C. Moore, Atul K. Srivastava, Jonathan Zerweck, Joshua T. B. Williams, Andrew J. Hawk, Joseph R. Sachleben, Stephen C. Meredith. “β-Amyloid Model Core Peptides: Effects of Hydrophobes and Disulfides.” Protein Science. 29 (2020) 527-541.
  • The Sosnick group, who examines protein folding.
    • website link
    • Skinner, J.J., et al., Conserved salt-bridge competition triggered by phosphorylation regulates the protein interactome.Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A, 2017. 114(51): p. 13453-13458. PMC5754776
    • Sachleben, J.R., A.N. Adhikari, G. Gawlak, R.J. Hoey, G. Liu, A. Joachimiak, G.T. Montelione, T.R. Sosnick, and S. Koide, Aromatic claw: A new fold with high aromatic content that evades structural prediction.Protein Sci, 2017. 26(2): p. 208-217. PMC5275723
    • Riback, J.A., C.D. Katanski, J.L. Kear-Scott, E.V. Pilipenko, A.E. Rojek, T.R. Sosnick, and D.A. Drummond, Stress-Triggered Phase Separation Is an Adaptive, Evolutionarily Tuned Response.Cell, 2017. 168(6): p. 1028-1040 e19. PMC5401687
    • Riback, J.A., et al., Innovative scattering analysis shows that hydrophobic disordered proteins are expanded in water.Science, 2017. 358(6360): p. 238-241. PMC29026044
    • Gates, Z.P., M.C. Baxa, W. Yu, J.A. Riback, H. Li, B. Roux, S.B. Kent, and T.R. Sosnick, Perplexing cooperative folding and stability of a low-sequence complexity, polyproline 2 protein lacking a hydrophobic core.Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A, 2017. 114(9): p. 2241-2246. PMC5338507
    • Yu, W., M.C. Baxa, I. Gagnon, K.F. Freed, and T.R. Sosnick, Cooperative folding near the downhill limit determined with amino acid resolution by hydrogen exchange.Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A, 2016. PMC4855600
  • The Perozo group, who study ion channels, which are crucial for nerve conduction.
  • The Adams group examines the protein interactions responsible for immune response.
    • Website:
    • Siyi Gu,Joseph R. Sachleben, Christopher T. Boughter, Wioletta I. Nawrocka, Marta T. Borowska, Jeffrey T. Tarrasch, Georgios Skiniotis, Benoît Roux, and Erin J. Adams. “Phosphoantigen-induced conformational change of butyrophilin 3A1 (BTN3A1) and its implication on Vγ9Vδ2 T cell activation.” Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences USA, 114 (2017) E7311–E7320. DOI: 10.1073/pnas.1707547114.
  • The Pan group has probed the structure changes in RNA caused by methylation
    • Website:
    • Katherine I. Zhou,Marc Parisien, Qing Dai, Nian Liu, Luda Diatchenko, Joseph R. Sachleben, Tao Pan. “N6-methyladenosine modification in a long non-coding RNA hairpin predisposes its conformation to protein binding.” Journal of Molecular Biology. 428(2016) 822-33. DOI:10.1016/j.jmb.2015.08.021
  • The Macleod group used NMR to probe metabolic pathways of cancer cells.
    • Website:
    • Aparajita H Chourasia,Kristin Tracy, Casey Frankenberger, Michelle L Boland, Marina N Sharifi, Lauren E Drake, Joseph R Sachleben, John M Asara, Jason W Locasale, Gregory S Karczmar, Kay F Macleod. “Mitophagy defects arising from BNip3 loss promote mammary tumor progression to metastasis.”EMBO Reports. 16(2015) 1145-1163. DOI: 10.15252/embr.201540759.

We also actively develop new methods to assist our users in approaching their scientific problems.


Aliphatic Chain Length by Isotropic Mixing (ALCHIM) is a 1H NMR technique for identifying saturated and unsaturated acyl groups in complex mixtures of lipids by using a selective TOCSY technique. It can distinguish ω-3, ω-6, and ω-9 unsaturated fatty acid and has shown to be effective in samples relevant to food science (coconut oil) and biomedical sciences (neutral fats extracted from mouse adipose tissue). We also demonstrate that it can be used in whole adipocytes indicating that it will have applications in whole tissues. This technique provides researchers to a new tool for probing lipid samples in biomedically relevant samples.

Paper: Joseph R. Sachleben, Ruiyang Yi, Paul Volden, Suzanne Conzen. “Determining Fatty Acid Compositon of Metabolomic Samples by 1H NMR Spectroscopy.” J. Biomol. NMR. 59 (2014) 161-173. DOI: 10.1007/s10858-014-9836-0.