Tuesday, September 5, 2023 - 10:00am
Abstract: Advances in technology and analytical instruments are driving factors in scientific progress, particularly in the area of nuclear magnetic resonance. However, these developments have often not been easily accessible, creating a barrier to collaborative and broadly impactful use, especially in structural biology. My research has focused on innovative approaches to NMR instrumentation design to support characterization of complex biomolecular assemblies such as crystallin hydrogels that form the eye lens or membrane-associating antimicrobial peptides identified from the carnivorous plant Drosera capensis. My work has explored applications of additive manufacturing, which has emerged as a technology that rivals and occasionally surpasses conventional fabrication methods, to the NMR instrumentation design process in terms of design achievability, relative ease of use, availability, and material library. Interest in modifying both purpose-built and commercial probes led to the development of a creative, efficient, and accessible method for NMR transceiver coil fabrication using removable 3D-printed templates. Experimental magnetic-field profiles correlated with the results of theory-driven software simulations, demonstrating the ability to fabricate verifiably unique designs for a variety of experimental applications. This method not only enables coils to be made to specification, but also supports complex designs such as saddle-coils or others that are unable to be achieved by hand such as continually-variable pitch solenoids. Expanding upon this work led to creation of a generalized and completely open-source approach in support of modularity to quickly achieve optimized solenoid transceiver designs based on system-specific or user-defined constraints. Parameter spaces defining suitable variable-pitch solenoids were plotted in an adaptable Python workspace, yielding options that predict improvements over previously published designs. The magnetic field profiles of every viable design were evaluated based on two performance-driven figures of merit in order to identify optimized designs for experimental testing and validation using a recently developed open-source and automated benchtop approach. In order to adequately maintain transceiver coil integrity in mechanically-dynamic systems 3D-printing was further leveraged in collaboration with 3M to produce the first of their kind polytetrafluoroethylene parts at dimensions previously unable to be fabricated. Implementation of this work and complimentary open-access approaches has tremendous promise to transform the field of structural biology by expanding participation of both novices and experts alike in use or development of modular components optimized for specific challenges.


Jessica Kelz


NS2 2201