MRI: Acquisition of High-Throughput Calorimeters for Ligand-Biopolymer Discovery and Characterization

Project: Research project

Project Details


This award is funded under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (Public Law 111-5).

Much of biology is regulated by the specific and high-affinity binding of ligands to proteins and nucleic acids. In most cases, however, the interacting molecules are either unknown or poorly characterized. This project proposes to establish a calorimetry facility at the Pennsylvania State University that will have high-throughput and high-sensitivity isothermal titration (ITC) and differential scanning (DSC) calorimeters. This unique facility will enable detection of ligand and drug binding to proteins and RNA, which will lead to the discovery and characterization of a wide range of ligand-biopolymer interactions, as well as determination of effects of ligand and biopolymer modifications on RNA and protein stability. New breakthroughs are anticipated in the areas of plant biology, metabolism, and enzymology, among others. Training opportunities will be available to undergraduate, graduate, and postdoctoral personnel at the interface of biology and chemistry. Research and educational opportunities will also be provided to Penn State campuses outside the main University Park campus, including the Altoona and York campuses, which are primarily undergraduate institutions. Outreach will be provided to underrepresented students at the undergraduate and high school levels, including hands-on calorimetry experiments and tours of the facility. Lastly, a short course will be developed on biothermodynamics that will present theory and provide hands-on training in ITC and DSC to all users. Scientific discoveries, publications, and educational material will be disseminated to the public through a Penn State website.

Effective start/end date9/1/098/31/12


  • National Science Foundation: $459,570.00


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