Join Us At ENC 2020

61th Experimental Nuclear Magnetic Resonance Conference



2020 ENC

As a supporter of the ENC conference for many years Norell, Inc. is giving back to the community in a substantial way for 2020.

We are proud to announce that this year, we are funding several student stipends for the 61st ENC in Baltimore, Maryland. Check out some of the research that these students are doing below!


JESSICA KELZ: University of California, Irvine

About Jessica: I received a B.S. in chemistry from the United States Naval Academy in 2008. After serving for six years and completing three deployments as a Surface Warfare Officer I transitioned out of the Navy, briefly working as a consultant before returning to graduate school at UC Irvine. My husband, Wyeth who is a graduate student in the Patterson lab at UCI, and I have a three-year-old rescue pug named Neptune. Outside of academics I enjoy doing game nights with friends, going on backpacking trips, almost anything to do with the ocean and dabbling in creative ventures. I am currently a Pedagogical Fellow at UCI and am excited to continue onto a career in academia.

Please describe your research and why you are passionate about it.
My research project in the Martin Lab is on the design and construction of a triple-resonance switched-angle spinning (SAS) probe for the study and characterization of orientable media such as non-crystalline solids and membrane proteins. In the lab this will be used to study structures and aggregation pathways of eye-lens proteins that physiologically exist at very high concentrations as a hydrogel, and novel anti-microbials that we have identified from the carnivorous plant Drosera capensis. Recent focus has been on creating a generalizable approach to achieve optimized transceiver coil designs that will eventually be implemented into the SAS probe. This work has been accomplished by using multi-physics simulation software and 3D printing. In addition to my thesis work I have the opportunity to mentor undergraduate student researchers in several projects from characterization of carnivorous plant volatile organic compounds, to pigments that give rise to different colors in flowers. I am passionate about these interdisciplinary projects because I have had the opportunity to learn so much and grow as a scientist and mentor. I am grateful to be part of this community and to contribute to the future of NMR, which has a proud and extremely impactful history, while mentoring others in their own journey as scientists.


ZHAOYUAN GONG: University of Miami

About Zhaoyuan: I am a fifth-year graduate student at the University of Miami under the supervision of Dr. Jamie Walls. My commitment to NMR is entirely due to the inspiration of my advisor during the first-year class he taught. I spent most of my spare time lifting, skateboarding and enjoying watersports as Miami is heaven for such recreations.

Please describe your research and why you are passionate about it.
My research focuses on the fundamental understanding of spin systems and novel pulse design. I studied the breakdown of linear response theory under low-power excitation for both inhomogeneously and homogeneously broadened system. By comparing exact propagator and linear response approximated propagator, linear response theory failed to predict spectra features near the transmitter frequency even though the response was still in the linear region given the overall flip-angle is small. For spin resonances in the bandwidth of the RF pulse, increased interference between isochromats led to a negative spectral peak which was not predicted by linear response theory. This failure was due to the fact that the interaction cannot be treated as a simple perturbation for isochromats with frequencies inside the bandwidth of the RF pulse. More recently, I developed diffusion selective pulses (DSPs) that can selectively suppress the magnetization from species with a diffusion coefficient, D. The main design philosophy behind DSPs is the realization that diffusion in the presence of pulsed-field gradients (PFGs) leads to an effective T2 decay which depends upon D. Thus, a T2 selective pulse, which was efficiently approximated by several small flip-angle rectangle pulses, can be interwoven between a series of PFGs to suppress an effective T2 thus a particular D.


ELAEH MASOUMZADEH: Texas Tech University

About Elaeh: I am a Ph.D. student at Texas Tech University and a member of Dr. Latham’s group, which mainly studies protein structure and function. I received my bachelor’s degree in chemistry from the Sharif University of Technology, and I moved to the US three years ago to get Ph.D. in biochemistry. My goal is to pursue my career in academia and, one day, start my independent research.

Please describe your research and why you are passionate about it.
Protein self-association is a common feature of some proteins and plays an important role in health and disease. Cleavage stimulation Factor (CstF-64) contains an RNA recognition motif (RRM) that binds to the G/U rich RNA sequences located downstream of the cleavage and polyadenylation site and hence its function is very crucial for the regulation of the RNA maturation. My current project is the study of CstF-64 RRM self-association and its conformational changes upon RNA binding with the use of NMR relaxation techniques. I believe the result of my project can help not only to explain the cleavage and poly adenylation process better but also to understand the mechanism of self-association in other RNA binding proteins.


SOE-REE CHOI: Gyeongsang National University

About Soe-Ree: Hi, I'm Seo-Ree Choi, first year of Ph.D student. I'm studying at Prof. Joon-Hwa Lee's lab at Gyeongsang National University in Korea. I love going to new areas in search of delicious food. And it's an honor to receive an ENC student stipends and be featured in the catalogue. Thank you for giving me great motivation for further research.

Please describe your research and why you are passionate about it.
My research focuses on investigation of the interaction between DNA and DNA binding proteins using solution NMR. My current work is the dynamics of transcription factor proteins and target DNA. I will systematically conduct structural and dynamic research to identify the molecular mechanism between DNA double helix and transcription factors. I am interested in this research because there is a lot of information with NMR, and I like to acquire new things and teach my know-how to other graduate students.


XUEYAN TANG: Center for Magnetic Resonance Research, Department of Radiology, University of Minnesota

About Xueyan: As a PhD candidate in Prof. Garwood’s group in the University of Minnesota, I plan to become a Medical Physicist in a research based institution after graduation. I am quite interested in the potential use of MRI/NMR in the dosimeter and radiation oncology areas. In my spare time, I love baking and playing violin. I also volunteer as a caregiver and a foster at a local animal shelter.

Please describe your research and why you are passionate about it.
My research focuses on building low cost, portable NMR imaging systems that can do simultaneous transmit and receive. Based on fictitious field principle, our system is a combination of novel spacial encoding and detection methods. It can achieve simultaneous transmit and receive with minimum leakage problem. One-dimensional imaging has been acquired with a resolution of ~2 mm. Two-dimensional imaging system is currently being built in our lab.


ALEC BEATON: Syracuse University

About Alec: I am a third-year graduate student in Dr. John Franck’s lab at Syracuse University. I enjoy reading both scientific and non-scientific literature, writing, and drinking coffee.

Please describe your research and why you are passionate about it.
My research strives to broaden the applications of liquid state Overhauser Dynamic Nuclear Polarization (ODNP) to glean information on hydration water dynamics in diverse chemical systems. While this technique has been used successfully to study proteins, its extension to the study of other systems such as reverse micelles is non-trivial. I am working to develop a systematic procedure for studying these different systems using this experimental technique. While my work will provide new insight in hydration dynamics, it is also a fascinating blend of NMR and EPR spectroscopies and pushes the limits of the information we can obtain with this dual-resonance technique.


SEAN NAJMI: Georgia Institute of Technology

About Sean: I received my BS in chemical engineering from the University of Maryland, Baltimore County (UMBC). I am currently a PhD student at Georgia Tech advised by Carsten Sievers and AJ Medford. My long term goal is to become a faculty member focusing on heterogeneous catalysis for biomass conversion. In my free time I enjoy cycling, cooking, collecting records, and spending time with my friends and family.

Please describe your research and why you are passionate about it.
I am interested in the transformation of biomass derived chemicals into platform chemicals using heterogeneous catalysts. I'm specifically interested in the interactions sugars have with metal oxide catalysts. By further understanding these interactions, selectivity and other important factors regarding the reaction route can be elucidated. These applications can revolutionize the way energy is processed around the world and provides a sustainable alternative. I am particularly drawn to this line of research because of the impact it can have on our society and the pressing need to protect our environment it addresses. As a chemical engineer, NMR in general is very under utilized in the field. My work using solid state NMR will hopefully show other chemical engineers in the field its capabilities and make it a more widely used technique.


MARK BOVEE: Ohio State University

About Mark: I am a PhD student in Dr. Grandinetti’s group at Ohio State University currently in my fourth year. I received my B.Sc. at the University of Cincinnati in chemistry. In my free time, I enjoy hiking, swimming, and watching movies.

Please describe your research and why you are passionate about it.
Since my first chemistry class in high school, I’ve been interested in learning about how atomic structure influences physical properties. My research focuses on improving the sensitivity of 29Si and 17O in silicate glasses in order to permit natural abundance multidimensional NMR measurements of these amorphous systems. Such measurements are necessary to learn more about the structure of these glasses because their distributions of sites introduce line shape broadening that complicates traditional one dimensional spectra. By gaining a better understanding of these systems, we aim to construct structure-property relationships that can be used to develop specialized glasses for specific functionalities.


RIBAL JABBOUR: High Field NMR Centre (CRMN) - Lyon

About Ribal: I'm a 3rd year PhD student in the group of Dr. Anne Lesage at the CRMN in Lyon. I did a bachelor in Chemistry at St. Joseph University in Beirut-Lebanon before transferring to Lyon where I continued my studies at CPE and the UCBL1 to get my master's degree in innovative materials for transportation, energy and health.

Please describe your research and why you are passionate about it.
My research focuses on the study of Heterogeneous catalysts using DNP surface enhanced NMR spectroscopy. By probing distances between pairs of nuclei I can get to the 3D structure of the catalyst in question and thus understand the stability and the efficiency of this catalyst. I can also get environmental information around the metal center using ultrawideline NMR to get a full understanding of this grafted catalyst. All the materials I work with are diluted on the surface and usually a blend of active and spectator species which makes the study more challenging and needs new and advanced methods to selectively probe certain nuclei on selective species. That's what makes it more interesting and more enjoyable. I'm passionate about this work because I have the chance to work with a state of the art technique (DNP), to develop new experimental ways of looking at your sample then compare it with simulations to get the full information and fully understand what's happening on your surface.


SHANNON HEISPER: The National High Magnetic Field Laboratory / Florida State University

About Shannon: I am a PhD candidate at the National High Magnetic Field Laboratory at Florida State University studying biomedical engineering with a focus in high field MR imaging and spectroscopy. I received my bachelor's degree from Auburn University in cellular and molecular biology and my master's in biomedical engineering from Florida State University. Several additional years of experience as a technician specializing in animal models, mostly focused in neurodegeneration, has motivated me to work towards translational research incorporated into the MRI/S field.

Please describe your research and why you are passionate about it.
The foundation of my research capitalizes on the potential of ultra-high field MR imaging and spectroscopy for non-invasively elucidating metabolism and function, a critical requirement for evaluating cellular therapies in neurodegenerative diseases. Specifically, I am interested in evaluating the optimization, expansion and delivery of human mesenchymal stem cells applied to a preclinical model of ischemic stroke using MRI/S. Increased sensitivity of 1H MRS at high field provides longitudinal metabolic mapping of biological markers in response to cellular treatment. Further, quantification of sodium (23Na) signal provides insight into cerebral ionic homeostasis and tissue recovery following ischemic stroke.