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Arrowsmith, Cheryl (Ontario Cancer Institute)

Burns, Darcy (CSICOMP, Chemistry), CSICOMP (Chemistry)

Burrow, Tim (CSICOMP, Chemistry)

Forman-Kay, Julie (SickKids)

Ikura, Mitsui (Medical Biophysics UofT, Ontario Cancer Institute)

Kanelis, Voula (Chemical & Physical Sciences, Mississauga)

Kay, Lewis (Biochemistry)

Macdonald, Peter (Chemical & Physical Sciences, Mississauga)

Prosser, Scott (group page) (Chemical & Physical Sciences, Mississauga)

Reynolds, William (Chemistry)

Seabrook, Genevieve (NMR Facility, Ontario Cancer Institute)

Sharpe, Simon (SickKids)

Simpson, Andre (Chemistry, Scarborough)

Simpson, Myrna (Environmental Science, Scarborough)

Soong, Ronald (Environmental NMR Center, Scarborough)

Dr. Lewis Kay appointed to Order of Canada (Jan 4/17)

via SickKids

January 4, 2017

SickKids’ Dr. Lewis Kay appointed to Order of Canada

Dr. Lewis Kay, Senior Scientist at The Hospital for Sick Children (SickKids) and a Professor in the Departments of Molecular Genetics, Chemistry and Biochemistry at the University of Toronto, was named an Officer of the Order for Canada, one of the country’s most prestigious civilian honours. The announcement was made December 30, 2016.

The Order of Canada recognizes a lifetime of achievement. Kay is being cited for his pioneering research in biochemistry and medical imaging science, which explores the structure and behaviour of proteins.

“I am thrilled to congratulate Dr. Kay on this well-deserved honour. His development and application of new NMR methods that link protein dynamics to biological function have made and continue to make an extraordinary contribution to our country and our world,” says Dr. Michael Salter, Chief of Research, SickKids.

Kay is a researcher in Molecular Structure & Function at the SickKids Research Institute. His laboratory focuses on the development of nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) techniques for studying macromolecular structure and dynamics, and the application of NMR techniques to problems of biological and clinical importance. He has extended NMR from a technique used to probe small protein systems to one that enables the study of molecular machines at atomic resolution and has used these techniques to demonstrate the importance of dynamics in such critical components of the cell. He is also a Canada Research Chair in Proteomics, Bioinformatics and Functional Genomics.

Nearly 7,000 people from all sectors of society have been invested into the Order since it was established in 1967. Kay will receive his insignia at a ceremony at a later date. Learn more on the Order of Canada website.

CanadianNMR Postdoctoral Fellow: Micro-coil, In-vivo and Microfluidics NMR, Toronto Canada (Oct 11/16)

Environmental NMR Centre, Department of Chemistry, University of Toronto at Scarborough, Toronto, Ontario, Canada


Project Description:

The project will, in collaboration with Bruker BioSpin Corporation and the Ontario Ministry of the Environment and Climate Change aim to develop automated platforms to asses and understand metabolic change as a result of environmental stress (contaminants, temperature, salts, etc.) based on digital microfluidics interfaced with NMR.

The candidate will be involved in a range of development, including

1) In collaboration with Bruker assist in the development of new micro-coils.

2) Developing NMR methods to narrow line shape in static environmental and biological samples on micro-coils.

3) In collaboration help interface the micro-coils to digital micro-fluidics devices.

4) Test and develop protocols for exposing in-vivo organisms and eggs (including fully labelled 13C and 15N organisms/eggs) to stressors and interpreting the metabolic response.

The candidate will be based in the Environmental NMR Center at the University of Toronto. The candidate will have access to a range of state of-the-art equipment at the Environmental NMR center including prototype Comprehensive Multiphase NMR probes (CMP-NMR) (J. Magn. Reson. 2012; 217:61-76), a range of unique micro coil hardware, as well as solid-state, HR-MAS, liquid-state, cryoprobes, micro-imaging, and hyphenated (2D-HPLC-SPE-NMR-MS(Q-q-TOF) NMR spectrometers.

The candidate will be expected to spend time at Bruker (U.S.) and Bruker (Switzerland) and the Ontario Ministry of the Environment and Climate Change (Burlington, Canada). The project aims to bring together industry, academia and government and the postdoc will be expected play a central role in extending this collaboration.


Often, numerous environmental contaminants are found at low levels which in isolation are non-lethal but combined exhibit toxicities that are difficult to evaluate. In the long term they may be very hazardous to animal, plant and human populations, as their affects are often detected too late, and after physical symptoms become widespread. This project will develop in-vivo NMR that will permit “molecular fingerprinting” approaches that directly measure the changes in a living organism as a direct response to its surroundings. This research aims to develop tools that can answer the key question “Is a particular contaminated environment safe for life?” and understand how and why certain chemicals are toxic. Preliminary results demonstrate the approaches can efficiently and quantitatively asses stress in natural populations months/years before conventional reproduction tests, as-well as explaining the source of the stress and its biochemical implications. Furthermore, such “early warning systems” could potentially being used to predict and permit treatment of disease at its very early stages before symptoms are apparent.

The Candidate

The project is funded for a 3 year period. Preference will be given to candidates that can commit to at least 2 years (ideally 3 years). Candidates must be available to start Jan 1st 2017 (at the latest).

The candidate must have a strong background in NMR spectroscopy, experience with pulse sequence development, micro-coil NMR, isotopically enriched NMR, and experience with heterogeneous samples is an asset. The candidate must be open minded and willing to work with very complex in-vivo systems. The candidate should be willing to learn to design novel pulse programs that combine aspects from solution-state and solid-state NMR. Candidates will need to draw upon and integrate a range of concepts including saturation transfer, diffusion editing, cross-polarization dynamics, relaxation filters, isotope filtering with 1-3D NMR spectroscopy to access specific key molecular interactions from within complex matrices.

The candidate should have an interest in environmental chemistry and/or willingness to learn key issues in this field. Due to the very technical nature of the project the position is specifically suited to a gifted and open-minded NMR spectroscopist rather than an environmental scientist with NMR experience. In addition, the candidate, along with the center manager and directors, will be expected to act as a general NMR resource for graduate students, and collaborators in the Environmental NMR Centre, and assist with training, data acquisition, processing and interpretation on projects as required. The Environmental NMR Centre is highly collaborative and such involvement will nearly always result in the post-doctoral fellow becoming a co-author in any research in which they assisted. We expect the candidate lead at least two first author publications per year.


Candidates should send a complete C.V. including a publication list, a statement outlining their suitability and their interest in the position. Candidates should arrange to have 3 references sent directly. Applications without the appropriate references have to be considered incomplete and cannot be considered.

Applications and references should be sent to

Professor André Simpson, FRSC
Director of the Environmental NMR Center
Department of Chemistry
Division of Physical and Environmental Sciences
University of Toronto at Scarborough
1265 Military Trail
Toronto, MIC 1A4

or e-mailed as a PDF attachment to
andre.simpson "at" utoronto.ca

All complete applications and references will be reviewed upon submission. The position is available immediately and will remain open until filled.

Professor Andre Simpson, PhD, FRSC

Director of the Environmental NMR Center, Director of TRACES
Department of Chemistry
University of Toronto, Scarborough Campus
1265 Military Trail
Toronto, Canada
M1C 1A4


Special issue of Magnetic Resonance in Chemistry : Magnetic Resonance in Environmental Research, guest-edited by André Simpson (Aug 18/15)

Magnetic Resonance in Chemistry, Special Issue: Magnetic Resonance in Environmental Research, Volume 53, issue 9 (2015) 633–779.

Andre J. Simpson, "Editorial: Environmental NMR," Magnetic Resonance in Chemistry 53 (2015) 633-634. http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/mrc.4241

Caroline M. Preston, "Environmental NMR – the early years," Magnetic Resonance in Chemistry 53 (2015) 635-647. (historical perspective) http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/mrc.4180

NMR paper in Nature (Dec 23/14)

A. Bah, R.M. Vernon, Z. Siddiqui, M. Krzeminski, R. Muhandiram, C. Zhao, N. Sonenberg, L.E. Kay & J.D. Forman-Kay, "Folding of an intrinsically disordered protein by phosphorylation as a regulatory switch," Nature (2014) online. http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/nature13999

Chemical & Engineering News highlight: "Phosphorylation Pushes Floppy Protein To Fold" by Celia Henry Arnaud, Dec. 23, 2014 http://cen.acs.org/articles/92/web/2014/12/Phosphorylation-Pushes-Floppy-Protein-Fold.html

Special issue of Magnetic Resonance in Chemistry in honour of Prof. William F. Reynolds (Aug 6/14)


Magnetic Resonance in Chemistry (Wiley) has announced a Special Issue in honour of Professor William F. Reynolds (University of Toronto), who has served the Journal as a senior editor for many years. This issue will be co-edited by Alex D. Bain (McMaster) and Raul G. Enriquez (Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México). Bill has been doing NMR for 50 years and is an international expert in liquid-state NMR pulse sequences and structure elucidation of natural products. Papers from any branch of NMR and natural products chemistry will be welcomed by the editors. The deadline for submission is May 1, 2015. For further information, please contact Alex Bain [bain "at" mcmaster.ca].

Author Guidelines for submission can be found at http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/journal/10.1002/(ISSN)1097-458Xa/homepage/ForAuthors.html

Alex D. Bain
Professor of Chemistry
McMaster University
1280 Main St. W.
Hamilton, ON, CANADA L8S 4M1
E-mail: bain "at" mcmaster.ca
phone: (905) 525 9140 ext 24524
fax: (905) 522 2509

New book: NMR Spectroscopy: A Versatile Tool for Environmental Research (June 29/14)

NMR Spectroscopy: A Versatile Tool for Environmental Research

Myrna J. Simpson (Editor)
Andre J. Simpson (Editor)
Hardcover: 448 pages
Publisher: Wiley; July 2014
Language: English
ISBN: 978-1118616475

Wiley: The challenges faced by environmental scientists today are vast, complex, and multi-faceted. For instance, predicting the fate of an environmental pollutant or understanding ecosystem responses to climate change, necessitate a firm understanding of molecular structure and dynamics of environmental media as well as the components that exist and interact within this media. Furthermore, linking information obtained at the molecular-scale to ecosystem-level processes is a major pursuit of modern environmental research. As such, NMR spectroscopy and its scalability from the molecular-scale to the macroscopic-scale, is facilitating rapid growth in environmental science. In addition, the versatility of NMR spectroscopy has resulted in the development and implementation of different types of NMR techniques to examine the structure of various types of environmental samples, living and non-living, as well as the study of critical environmental processes.

This comprehensive handbook is a collection of chapters that span from methods to how NMR is used in environmental research to gain insight into various ecosystem properties. It is organized into three parts:

Part A focuses on methods used in environmental NMR which span from solution-state to magnetic resonance imaging.
Part B emphasizes how NMR spectroscopy plays an essential role in understanding various types of environmental components and related processes, including different forms of organic matter found in soil, water, and air as well as how NMR is used to probe the fate of water, organic pollutants, and metals in the environment.
Part C focuses on the growing field of environmental metabolomics which uses NMR as its main discovery platform.

This volume highlights the immense potential of NMR spectroscopy to expand our fundamental understanding of environmental processes and how it will continue to do so well into the future.

NSERC 2014 Competition Results (June 27/14) [NSERC  ]

Discovery Grants

Blaine Chronik (Western) Magnetic Resonance Systems Development

Kalle Gehring (McGill) Protein folding in the endoplasmic reticulum

Paul Hazendonk (Lethbridge) Solid-State NMR of Complex Hybrid Organic-Inorganic Materials

Vladimir Ladizhansky (Guelph) Interactions of membrane proteins with lipids, water, and other proteins in biological membranes

William MacFarlane (UBC) Development and Application of Depth-Resolved beta-Detected Nuclear Magnetic Resonance to electronic, ionic and molecular phenomena in the Solid State

Giuseppe Melacini (McMaster) Solution NMR Studies of Interactions of Ligands With Plasma Proteins

Anthony Mittermaier (McGill) Binding Mechanisms and Conformational Equilibria in Biomacromolecular Interactions

Geoffrey Ozin (Toronto) Silicon Nanochemistry

Linda Reven (McGill) Solid-State NMR of Polymer and Liquid Crystalline Nanocomposites

Andre Simpson (Toronto Scarborough) Development of flow-based and magic angle spinning in-vivo NMR to understand environmental stress

Jenifer Thewalt (Simon Fraser) Domains in Biologically Relevant Lipid Membranes

David Wishart (Alberta) Development of Improved Methods to Rapidly Characterize Protein Structure, Function and Dynamics

Julian Zhu (Université de Montréal) Versatile Polymeric Biomaterials

Discovery Accelerator Supplement
$120,000 over three years

Giuseppe Melacini (McMaster) Solution NMR Studies of Interactions of Ligands With Plasma Proteins

Research Tools and Instruments (RTI)

Derek Gates (UBC) Upgrade to UBC-Chemistry Departmental NMR Facility

Review in Annual Review of Biochemistry (June 9/14)

Rina Rosenzweig and Lewis E. Kay, "Bringing Dynamic Molecular Machines into Focus by Methyl-TROSY NMR," Annual Review of Biochemistry 83 (2014) 291-315. (review)

NMR paper in Nature Chemical Biology (Jan 21/14)

M.J. Smith, M. Ikura, "Integrated RAS signaling defined by parallel NMR detection of effectors and regulators," Nature Chemical Biology (2014) online. http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/nchembio.1435

Encyclopedia of Magnetic Resonance: new entries (Dec 16/13)NMR in crystallography

(2013) volume 2, issue 4

A. Sutrisno, A.J. Simpson, "Metals in the Environment," eMagRes 2 (2013) 467–476. http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/9780470034590.emrstm1347

P.J. Mitchell, A.J. Simpson, M.J. Simpson, "Dissolved Organic Matter," eMagRes 2 (2013) 503–516. http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/9780470034590.emrstm1348

S. Booth, R.J. Turner, A. Weljie, "Metabolomics in Environmental Microbiology," eMagRes 2 (2013) 517–528. http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/9780470034590.emrstm1335

M.J. Simpson, D.W. Bearden, "Environmental Metabolomics: NMR Techniques," eMagRes 2 (2013) 549–560. http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/9780470034590.emrstm1352

S.A. Quideau, C.E. Norris, L.N. Soucémarianadin, R.E. Wasylishen, "Forest Ecology and Soils," eMagRes 2 (2013) 597–608. http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/9780470034590.emrstm1339

Encyclopedia of Magnetic Resonance: new entries (Oct 25/13)NMR in crystallography

(2013) volume 2, issue 3

A.J. Simpson, D. Courtier-Murias, J.G. Longstaffe, H. Masoom, R. Soong, L. Lam, A. Sutrisno, H. Farooq, M.J. Simpson, W.E. Maas, M. Fey, B. Andrew, J. Struppe, H. Hutchins, S. Krishnamurthy, R. Kumar, M. Monette, H.J. Stronks, "Environmental Comprehensive Multiphase NMR," eMagRes 2 (2013) 399–414. http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/9780470034590.emrstm1337

W.L. Meerts, C.A. de Lange, A.C.J. Weber, E.E. Burnell, "Analysis of Complex High-Resolution NMR Spectra by Sophisticated Evolutionary Strategies," eMagRes 2 (2013) 437–450. http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/9780470034590.emrstm1309

CanadianResearch Associate Position in the NMR Center, University of Toronto (Sept 18/13)

A research associate position is available for a candidate with a PhD degree in biomolecular NMR spectroscopy and a strong interest in NMR methods development. The successful candidate will play an important role in the research activities of the Kay laboratory, focusing on solution NMR studies of supra-molecular complexes and/or conformationally excited states, as well as taking a leadership role in assisting others in the laboratory with the design, optimization and implementation of experiments. Interested candidates should submit a CV to Lewis E. Kay (kay "at" pound.med.utoronto.ca).

NMR studies of the 670 kDa proteasome

Cover article in the Journal of the American Chemical Society (June 28/13)

Algirdas Velyvis and Lewis E. Kay, "Measurement of Active Site Ionization Equilibria in the 670 kDa Proteasome Core Particle Using Methyl-TROSY NMR," J. Am. Chem. Soc. 135 (2013) 9259–9262. (cover article) http://dx.doi.org/10.1021/ja403091c

Recognition: 54th ENC Student Travel Awards (May 1/13)

Following the long tradition, ENC has awarded 2013 Student Travel Stipends to support students attending the 54th ENC Conference held April 14-19, 2013 in Asilomar, California. The stipends were provided by the ENC, the Suraj P. Manrao Science Foundation, and by the generous contributions of sponsors. Among awardees there were several Canadian recipients, including

Jasmine Viger-Gravel (University of Ottawa)
Daryl Good (University of Guelph)
Leayen Lam (University of Toronto)
Alan Manning (University of British Columbia)
Danielle Smiley (McMaster University)
Stanislav Veinberg (University of Windsor)

Congratulations to all the winners!

The final 54th ENC program is now available online

NMR paper in Science (March 9/13)

R. Rosenzweig, S. Moradi, A. Zarrine-Afsar, J.R. Glover, L.E. Kay, "Unraveling the Mechanism of Protein Disaggregation Through a ClpB-DnaK Interaction," Science 339 (2013) 1080-1083. http://dx.doi.org/10.1126/science.1233066

Science Perspective: Helen R. Saibil, "Machinery to Reverse Irreversible Aggregates,"
Science 339 (2013) 1040-1041. http://dx.doi.org/10.1126/science.1236012

NMR paper in Science (April 19/12)

P. Neudecker, P. Robustelli, A. Cavalli, P. Walsh, P. Lundström, A. Zarrine-Afsar, S. Sharpe, M. Vendruscolo, and L.E. Kay, "Structure of an Intermediate State in Protein Folding and Aggregation," Science 336 (2012) 362-366. http://dx.doi.org/10.1126/science.1214203

Science Perspective: David Eliezer, "Visualizing Amyloid Assembly," Science 336 (2012) 308-309. http://dx.doi.org/10.1126/science.1220356

Physics of MRI: A Primer (April 13/12)

Physics of MRI: A Primer

An introductory lecture on physics of MRI by Donald Plewes and Walter Kucharczyk (University of Toronto).

D.B. Plewes and W. Kucharczyk,
"Physics of MRI: A Primer," Journal of Magnetic Resonance Imaging 35 (2012) 1038–1054. (Review: MR Physics for Clinicians) http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/jmri.23642

Recognition: 53rd ENC Student Travel Awards (April 6/12)

ENC has announced winners of 2012 Student Travel Stipends attending the 53rd ENC, April 15-20, 2012, Miami, Florida. The stipends are funded by the ENC, the Suraj P. Manrao Science Foundation, and the generous contributions of companies. Among awardees there are several Canadian recipients, including

Andrée Gravel (Université du Québec à Montréal)
Emily Ritz (University of Guelph)
Siqi Zhu (McGill University)
Bryan Lucier (University of Windsor)
Hussain Masoom (University of Toronto)
Erick Meneses Ramirez (McGill University)

Congratulations to all the winners!

The finalized 53rd ENC program is now available online

NANUC 2012 Biomolecular NMR BootCamp (March 6/12)

NANUC 2012 Biomolecular NMR BootCamp will be hosted by the NMR Facility in Chemistry at the University of Toronto, June 4th to 9th, 2012 on campus.

Our keynote lecturer this year is Prof. Chad Reinstra (UIUC) on BioSolids NMR. We will have Dr. Frank Delaglio (NIDDK, NIH) for the NMRPipe Suite; Dr. Nico Tjandra (LBPC, NIH) with Dynamics and Relaxation; Dr. Bruce Johnson (UMBC) on NMRView; Dr. Charles Schwieters (ISL, NIH) demonstrating Xplor-NIH, and one day on pulse sequence programming (Agilent/Bruker).

For more information visit

Please mark your calendars,


Timothy Burrow, Ph.D. MBA
Manager, NMR
University of Toronto 416-978-5728

NMR News!
NMR Web pages:

Recognition: Lewis Kay (Nov 17/11)


Special issue of the Journal of Biomolecular NMR on the occasion of Prof. Lewis E. Kay’s 50th birthday, volume 51, numbers 1-2, September 2011.

Kevin H. Gardner, Anthony Mittermaier and Frans A.A. Mulder, "A tribute to Lewis E. Kay on his 50th birthday" Journal of Biomolecular NMR 51 (2011) 3-4. (Editorial) http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s10858-011-9561-x

A fitting collection of 18 research publications by colleagues, friends and former students of Lewis Kay to celebrate his many pioneering contributions to the field of biomolecular NMR spectroscopy.

Review in Nature Methods (Nov 1/11)

J.R. Bothe, E.N. Nikolova, C.D. Eichhorn, J. Chugh, A.L. Hansen and H.M. Al-Hashimi, "Characterizing RNA dynamics at atomic resolution using solution-state NMR spectroscopy," Nature Methods 8 (2011) 919–931. (Review) http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/nmeth.1735

New NMR book (Oct 29/11)

NMR Spectroscopy of Polymers

NMR Spectroscopy of Polymers: Innovative Strategies for Complex Macromolecules
ACS Symposium Series, Volume 1077

Editors: H.N. Cheng, T. Asakura, A.D. English
Publisher: ACS, October 2011
Language: English
ISBN: 978-0841226678

This ACS Symposium Series book includes papers presented at the Symposium "NMR Spectroscopy of Polymers - Innovative NMR Strategies for Complex Macromolecular Systems" which was part of Pacifichem 2010, the 2010 International Chemical Congress of Pacific Basin Societies in Honolulu, Hawaii, December 15-20, 2010. Among over 30 contributions on the state-of-the-art NMR spectroscopy in polymers and related systems there are two chapters by Canadian NMR research groups.

P.M. Macdonald, "Diffusion NMR of Polymers in Bicelles," Chapter 14, NMR Spectroscopy of Polymers: Innovative Strategies for Complex Macromolecules, Eds. H.N. Cheng, T. Asakura, A.D. English, ACS (2011) pp. 221-250. http://dx.doi.org/10.1021/bk-2011-1077.ch014

H. Thérien-Aubin, Y.J. Wang, and X.X. Zhu, "NMR Imaging and Its Application in the Study of Pharmaceutical Tablets," Chapter 27, NMR Spectroscopy of Polymers: Innovative Strategies for Complex Macromolecules, Eds. H.N. Cheng, T. Asakura, A.D. English, ACS (2011) pp. 441-457. http://dx.doi.org/10.1021/bk-2011-1077.ch027

Agilent Users' Meeting prior to MOOT 2011 (Oct 16/11)

On Friday, October 21st, 2011, Agilent Technologies will be holding a pre-MOOT Agilent users' meeting at the University of Toronto to celebrate the opening of the CSICOMP NMR Facility and to honour the career of Professor William Reynolds.

You are cordially invited to attend this event which will take place at 13:00-19:00, Sidney Smith Room SS2135, Department of Chemistry, University of Toronto. Please reserve your seat as places are limited by following this link.

Agilent Users' Meeting Agenda

12:30 Registration, Sidney Smith Room SS2135
13:00 Welcome, Corey Morcombe (Agilent)
13:15 What's new at Agilent, Dan Barabino (Agilent)
13:45 VnmrJ 3.2, Krish Krishnamurthy (Agilent)
14:15 19F NMR Cryogenic Probe Adventures below 50 micromolar, Scott Prosser (University of Toronto Mississauga)
14:45 The Utility of F2-Coupled-HSQC Spectra, Eugene Mazzola (University of Maryland/FDA)
15:15 From the Frozen Wilds of Northern Manitoba to the Archeological Ruins of Mexico: a 51 Year NMR Odyssey, William Reynolds (University of Toronto)
16:00 CSICOMP Lab Tour
17:00 Cocktail Reception, Davenport Atrium in Lash Miller Chemical Laboratories building

MOOT XXIV NMR program is now awailable online at http://www.mootnmr.org

Two NMR papers in Nature (Sept 12/11)

G. Bouvignies, P. Vallurupalli, D.F. Hansen, B.E. Correia, O. Lange, A. Bah, R.M. Vernon, F.W. Dahlquist, D. Baker & L.E. Kay, "Solution structure of a minor and transiently formed state of a T4 lysozyme mutant," Nature 477 (2011) 111–114. http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/nature10349

T. Wu, H. Mayaffre, S. Krämer, M. Horvatic, C. Berthier, W.N. Hardy, R. Liang, D.A. Bonn and M.-H. Julien, "Magnetic-field-induced charge-stripe order in the high-temperature superconductor YBa2Cu3Oy," Nature 477 (2011) 191–194. http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/nature10345

"Anarchy in the proteome" - interview with Julie Forman-Kay (August 3/11)

Julie Forman-Kay (Toronto) speaks about her research in disordered proteins in a podcast interview to the Chemistry World. Available for download at

Chemistry World Podcast, August 2011, "6.05-13.00 Julie Forman-Kay reveals that disordered, unfolded proteins are much more functional and much more common than previously thought"

Part of this interview is also featured in the printed August 2011 issue of the Chemistry World
(subscription required): M. Gross "Anarchy in the proteome", Chemistry World, August 2011, Volume 8, No 8, p.42-45.

Stable Isotopes for Structural Biomolecular NMR Stable Isotopes for Structural Biomolecular NMR (July 22/11)

Cambridge Isotope Laboratories (CIL) made available a series of application notes on the use of stable isotopes in Biomolecular NMR. These application notes were written by some of the world's leading researches in the field, including several Canadian scientists.

Lewis Kay (University of Toronto) "Alanine Probes of Supra-Molecular Structure and Dynamics", page 9.

Leonid S. Brown and Vladimir Ladizhansky (University of Guelph) "Pichia pastoris as a Eukaryotic Protein Isotope-Labeling System", pages 14-15.

Ying Fan, Lichi Shi, Vladimir Ladizhansky and Leonid S. Brown (University of Guelph) "Uniform Isotope Labeling of Eukaryotic Proteins in Methylotrophic Yeast for High-Resolution NMR Studies - Extension to Membrane Proteins", Application Note 26, pages 71-74.

Recent research by Gang Wu's group (Queen's University) is cited as an example of advanced 17O NMR spectroscopy in large protein-ligand complexes in solution and in the solid state, "17O NMR reagents", page 34.

These application notes are available for download as a PDF file (5.1MB) "Stable Isotopes for Structural Biomolecular NMR Catalog" at:

Myrna SimpsonRecognition: Myrna Simpson (July 20/11)

Myrna Simpson (University of Toronto) has been promoted to the rank of Full Professor (Environmental Chemistry) starting July 1, 2011.

Myrna received a BSc (Chemistry & Mathematical Sciences) and a PhD (Environmental Soil Chemistry) from the University of Alberta. Myrna joined the University of Toronto in 2002 after a 2.5 year postdoctoral fellowship with Prof. Patrick Hatcher in the Department of Chemistry at the Ohio State University.

Myrna's research in environmental and analytical chemistry involves the development and application of molecular-level analytical tools to improve the fundamental understanding of soil environmental processes. In particular her group is using advanced mass spectrometry (MS) and nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) methods to characterize, monitor and predict the fate of soil organic matter components in various environments. In 2010 she was awarded the SETAC/Royal Society of Chemistry Award in Environmental Science for "outstanding contributions that have advanced the understanding or development of environmental systems, technologies, methodologies or other relevant research in the environmental sciences".

In addition to teaching and research, Myrna acts as the Associate Director of the Environmental NMR Centre of the Department of Physical and Environmental Sciences, the University of Toronto.

For more information visit: http://www.utsc.utoronto.ca/~msimpson

Photo credit: University of Toronto

Review in Progress in Nuclear Magnetic Resonance Spectroscopy (July 14/11)

progress J.L. Kitevski-LeBlanca and R.S. Prosser, "Current Applications of 19F NMR to Studies of Protein Structure and Dynamics," Progress in Nuclear Magnetic Resonance Spectroscopy (2011) accepted. (Invited Review) http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.pnmrs.2011.06.003

Recognition: André Simpson (April 1/11)

André Simpson (Department of Chemistry, University of Toronto at Scarborough) has been awarded the 2011 CSC W.A.E. McBryde Medal for his research in the development of nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) spectroscopy with the specific objective to address environmental problems at a molecular level.

From the citation: "Andre Simpson obtained his PhD from the University of Birmingham, U.K. then moved to the U.S. completing two postdoctoral fellowships, first at Mississippi State and then at Ohio State University. Simpson is an associate professor at the University of Toronto. He is best known for his research developing nuclear magnetic resonance-based methods to study the structure and interactions in complex environmental mixtures. His research has helped understand how and why different carbon pools respond to climate change and unravel the complexities of contaminant fate and toxicity in the environment. Simpson has published more than 60 refereed articles since his first journal publication in 2000 and contributed to 12 book chapters. In 2004, he co-founded the Environmental NMR Centre at the University of Toronto, a first of its kind in Canada. In 2008 he was ranked in the “Ten to Watch for in 2008” by the Toronto Star. Later in the same year he was awarded the Royal Society of Chemistry/Society for Environmental and Toxicology and Chemistry – Environmental Science Award, a global award recognizing outstanding contributions to the field."

Read the announcement at

NMR upgrades at the University of Toronto (March 26/11)

The Department of Chemistry at the University of Toronto has ordered $5.5M of new NMR spectrometers from Agilent Technologies to equip its new 4,000-square-foot NMR laboratory. Dr. Timothy Burrow, Manager of the NMR Facility, informed that the new spectrometers will be a 500 MHz spectrometer, with 7600AS sample changer and XSens 13C sensitive cryogenically cooled probe, a 600 MHz dual liquids and solids spectrometer and a 700 MHz spectrometer with a H/F,CN Cold Probe, 7600AS sample changer and solids, biosolids and semi-solids probes.

"These new NMR systems will provide a vital boost to our new Centre for Spectroscopic Investigation of Complex Organic Molecules and Polymers (CSICOMP), increasing the range and scope of research in key areas," said Professor Robert H. Morris, Chair of the Chemistry Department.

The new facility is scheduled to open later this year, the International Year of Chemistry. More than 45 scientists as well as 300 graduate students and postdoctoral fellows will be able to use the facility for inorganic, organic, materials and bio-organic research, including broader investigations into the fate of fluorinated compounds in the environment. The new facility is supported by the Canada Foundation for Innovation and the Ontario Ministry of Research and Innovation. (See related story in "Canadain NMR Research" News Bulletin, #3.3, Summer 2009, page 3, download)

"We are excited that the University of Toronto's new facility has chosen Agilent as its primary NMR equipment provider," said Kevin Meldrum, director, research products marketing for Agilent. "Agilent is dedicated to helping scientists meet all of their spectroscopy research needs and this agreement further illustrates that commitment."

Read the press release by Agilent Technologies

Nature News: Breaking the protein rules (March 9/11)

One of the textbook concepts in molecular biology is that proteins fold up spontaneously to form the most energetically stable three-dimensional structures. These folded proteins are presumed structurally rigid, which is important for their unique functionality, e.g. as enzymes. There are indications, however, mostly coming from NMR studies, that many important proteins exist in disordered form. A news feature in the latest issue of Nature discusses implications of this potentially far-reaching finding. Among cited examples of intrinsically disordered proteins is the NMR study on Sic1 protein by Julie Forman-Kay and her group at the University of Toronto/SickKids.

T. Chouard "Structural biology: Breaking the protein rules," Nature 471 (2011) 151-153. http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/471151a

Recognition: Mitsu Ikura (Jan 27/11)

On January 17th 2011, Dr. Mitsu Ikura received the 2010 Canadian Cancer Society "Robert L. Noble Prize" for his outstanding contributions to cancer research in Canada.

From the citation (http://www.cancer.ca): "Dr. Ikura is an internationally recognized authority in the field of structural biology and has laid the groundwork for our understanding of signalling proteins such as cadherins and catenins and molecular signalling processes involved in human diseases such as cancer. His studies also provide excellent platforms for developing new drugs designed to interfere with the functioning of cancer cells.

Dr Ikura is a senior scientist at the Ontario Cancer Institute and a professor at the University of Toronto. He received his PhD in macromolecular biophysics from Hokkaido University, Japan and pursued postdoctoral studies on multi-dimensional NMR spectroscopy of a calmodulin-kinase peptide complex at the National Institutes of Health.

Dr Ikura has a Tier-1 Canada Research Chair in cancer structural biology and has been recognized by many awards and prizes including the William E. Rawls Prize, the International Research Scholar Award Howard Hughes Medical Institute, and the Premier’s Research Excellence Award.

He has published over 190 peer-reviewed papers and has been invited to speak at more than 200 international scientific conferences."

About "Robert L Noble" Prize: The Robert L. Noble Prize is given for outstanding achievements in cancer research. It honours Dr Noble, an esteemed Canadian investigator whose research in the 1950s led to the discovery of vincristine, a widely-used anti-cancer drug. At the time, vincristine was one of the most effective treatments available for Hodgkin’s disease.

Web: the Ikura Laboratory http://nmr.uhnres.utoronto.ca/ikura/index.html

Canada Research Chairs in magnetic resonance (Nov 25/10)

Government of Canada has announced (external link) an investment of $275.6 million to fund 310 new or renewed Canada Research Chairs at 53 Canadian universities.
This includes renewal of four Chairs involved in magnetic resonance research.

Cheryl Arrowsmith (University of Toronto) Canada Research Chair Tier 1 in Structural Proteomics

Mitsuhiko Ikura (University of Toronto) Canada Research Chair Tier 1 in Cancer Structural Biology

Pascale Legault (Université de Montréal) Canada Research Chair Tier 2 in Structural Biology and Engineering of RNA

Josef Zwanziger (Dalhousie University) Canada Research Chair Tier 1 in the Nuclear Magnetic Resonance Studies of Materials

Recognition: André Simpson (Nov 23/10)

André Simpson, Professor of chemistry at the University of Toronto Scarborough, has been elected a Fellow of the Royal Society of Chemistry (RSC) (full story at UTSC).

Review in Progress in Nuclear Magnetic Resonance Spectroscopy (Sept 25/10)

progress A.J. Simpson, D.J. McNally, M.J. Simpson "NMR Spectroscopy in Environmental Research: From Molecular Interactions to Global Processes," Progress in Nuclear Magnetic Resonance Spectroscopy (2010) in press. (Invited Review) http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.pnmrs.2010.09.001

Encyclopedia of Magnetic Resonance: new entries (Sept 15/10)

Encyclopedia of Magnetic ResonanceL.E. Kay, "Structure and Dynamics of Proteins – Big and Small", Encyclopedia of Magnetic Resonance (2010). http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/9780470034590.emrhp1027

W.F. Reynolds, "Heteronuclear Multiple Bond Correlation (HMBC) Spectra", Encyclopedia of Magnetic Resonance (2010). http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/9780470034590.emrstm1176

NMR paper in Science (Sept 9/10)

D.M. Korzhnev, T.L. Religa, W.Banachewicz, A.R. Fersht, L.E. Kay, "A Transient and Low-Populated Protein-Folding Intermediate at Atomic Resolution", Science 329 (2010) 1312-1316. http://dx.doi.org/10.1126/science.1191723

Abstract: "
Proteins can sample conformational states that are critical for function but are seldom detected directly because of their low occupancies and short lifetimes. In this work, we used chemical shifts and bond-vector orientation constraints obtained from nuclear magnetic resonance relaxation dispersion spectroscopy, in concert with a chemical shift–based method for structure elucidation, to determine an atomic-resolution structure of an "invisible" folding intermediate of a small protein module: the FF domain. The structure reveals non-native elements preventing formation of the native conformation in the carboxyl-terminal part of the protein. This is consistent with the kinetics of folding in which a well-structured intermediate forms rapidly and then rearranges slowly to the native state. The approach introduces a general strategy for structure determination of low-populated and transiently formed protein states."

This research article by Lewis Kay (University of Toronto) and colleagues is also accompanied by the Science Perspective

H.M. Al-Hashimi, "Exciting Structures", Science 329 (2010) 1295-1296. http://dx.doi.org/10.1126/science.1195571

New NMR book (June 3/10)

EMR books
Multidimensional NMR Methods for the Solution State

edited by Gareth A. Morris and James W. Emsley
Hardcover: 580 pages
Publisher: Wiley; June 2010
Language: English
ISBN: 978-0470770757

Wiley: "Multidimensional NMR methods have transformed the way in which solution state NMR is used to elucidate the structures of chemical and biochemical systems. The first book covering new developments in nearly a decade, this much-needed resource explains recent experimental methods for the rapid measurement of multidimensional solution-state NMR spectra. With articles written by key developers of the techniques, the coverage deals with both the theoretical tools and the latest practical applications, giving an unmatched guide to students, researchers, technicians, and anyone else working with NMR techniques today"

Canadian contributions

A.D. Bain "COSY: Quantitative Analysis," Chapter 13, Multidimensional NMR Methods for the Solution State (EMR Books), Eds. G.A. Morris and J.W. Emsley, Wiley (2010) pp. 167-176. http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/9780470034590.emrstm0095

T.T. Nakashima and R.E.D. McClung "Heteronuclear Shift Correlation Spectroscopy," Chapter 22, Multidimensional NMR Methods for the Solution State (EMR Books), Eds. G.A. Morris and J.W. Emsley, Wiley (2010) pp. 289-304. http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/9780470034590.emrstm0209

R. Muhandiram and L.E. Kay "3D HMQC-NOESY, NOESY-HMQC, and NOESY-HSQC," Chapter 25, Multidimensional NMR Methods for the Solution State (EMR Books), Eds. G.A. Morris and J.W. Emsley, Wiley (2010) pp. 335-350. http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/9780470034590.emrstm0563

The complete Table of Contents is available on Stan's NMR blog.

Attenuator appAttenuator app for iPhone/iPod touch (April 29/10)

Tim Burrow (University of Toronto) wrote a utility application for the iPhone/iPod touch that calculates attenuation values:


Attenuator is a utility for anyone working with radio frequency sources and needs to know power and voltage after attenuation.

You can specify an input voltage (Vpp or Vrms) and dB of attenuation to get the output voltage, power and attenuation. The impedance can be specified, typically 50 Ohm for most systems.

This free application is available in English, French, Chinese and Japanese and is sponsored by Open Technologies.

For more information visit: http://www.attenuator.ca/

NSERC 2010 Competition Results (updated April 28/10)

Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC) has announced results of the 2010 NSERC competition in the Discovery Grants Program (DG), Research Tools and Instruments Grants (RTI) and Scholarship programs. Among grant recipients

Myrna Simpson's (University of Toronto Scarborough) NSERC Discovery Grant was renewed. Myrna has also been awarded an NSERC Discovery Accelerator Supplement.

Share your success with the Canadian NMR community (E-mail).

2009-2010 NSERC Strategic Project Grants (March 9/10)

In February NSERC awarded $53.5 million to 122 applications in the 2009 Strategic Project Grants competition. The competition attracted the highest number of applications in recent years (465 in total), yielding a success rate of 26 per cent. Among successful applications was the research proposal "The development of comprehensive multiphase NMR spectroscopy to understand environmental contamination at the molecular level" by Andre Simpson and Myrna Simpson (University of Toronto Scarborough) in collaboration with Bruker BioSpin and Environment Canada. They have been awarded $450,000 over three years.

Recognition: Andre Simpson (Dec 14/09)

Andre Simpson (University of Toronto Scarborough) is the recipient of the 2010 CSC Fred Beamish Award. This award is presented to individuals who demonstrate innovation in research in the field of Analytical Chemistry, in particular, where research is anticipated to have significant potential for practical applications.

Web: Andre Simpson's Group at the University of Toronto Scarborough

Recognition: Lewis Kay (October 1/09)

The University of Alberta honours Lewis Kay with the Distinguished Alumnus Award (more ).

From the citation: "One of the world's leading biochemists, Kay is recognized for his cutting-edge research in biomolecular nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy. The University of Toronto professor and researcher has been instrumental in developing new three- and four-dimensional nuclear magnetic resonance methods for obtaining pictures of complex biomolecules. This revolutionary work has led to important discoveries, helping researchers understand the underlying biological characteristics of diseases. This understanding has increased the probability of finding ways to cure or prevent diseases such as cancer.

Don't miss the video profile of Distinguished Alumnus Lewis Kay (5 min, 23.1 MB .mov)

Web: Lewis Kay's Group at the University of Toronto

Canada's first 950 MHz NMR spectrometer ! (June 18/09)

The Canada Foundation for Innovation (CFI) has announced today major investment in Canadian Research Infrastructure. More than $665 million was awarded to 133 projects at 41 Canadian research institutions through the CFI’s Leading Edge Fund and New Initiatives Fund. Among infrastructure projects receiving Government's support is the Canada's first 950 MHz NMR spectrometer at the University of Toronto (Lewis Kay, Biochemistry) to enable studies of the structure and dynamics of complex biological molecules, as well as the technological development of biological NMR.

Project title: "High Field NMR Studies of Protein Molecules in Health and Disease" (CFI contribution $4,595,843)

This very significant hardware acquisition will ensure Canada's leading role in biological NMR research.

Congratulations are due to Lewis Kay and his team at the UofT !

A complete list of awarded projects (CFI web-site)

Review in Biophysical Journal (March 16/09)

Lewis Kay and colleagues from the University of Toronto have published an article in Biophysical Journal reviewing recently developed NMR relaxation dispersion technique and its applications to protein folding research.

P. Neudecker, P. Lundström, L.E. Kay, "Relaxation Dispersion NMR Spectroscopy as a Tool for Detailed Studies of Protein Folding," Biophysical Journal 96 (2009) 2045-2054. (review)

This review and all previous issues of Biophysical Journal are available free of charge until April 5, 2009. The free access is provided by Cell Press, who is taking over publishing Biophysical Journal starting in 2009.

NMR paper in Science Signaling (March 7/09)

A research team from the Ontario Cancer Institute and the University of Toronto has developed a real-time, nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR)–based assay to monitor the intrinsic GTPase activity of the small guanosine triphosphatase (GTPase) Rheb. This method can now be used to gain further understanding of the mechanisms of action of other GTPases and their GAP partners.

C.B. Marshall, J. Ho, C. Buerger, M.J. Plevin, Guang-Yao Li, Z. Li, M. Ikura, and V. Stambolic, "Characterization of the Intrinsic and TSC2-GAP–Regulated GTPase Activity of Rheb by Real-Time NMR," Science Signaling 2 (#55) (2009) ra3. http://dx.doi.org/10.1126/scisignal.2000029

Abstract: http://stke.sciencemag.org/cgi/content/abstract/sigtrans;2/55/ra3

Editor's summary:

Science Signaling is a weekly AAAS journal as well as an online resource and information management tool that enables experts and novices in cell signaling to find, organize, and utilize information relevant to processes of cellular regulation. As of September 2008, Science Signaling is adding original research articles to the weekly journal. Science Signaling publishes research that represents a major advance in cell signaling, including key research papers in the rapidly expanding areas of signaling networks, systems biology, synthetic biology, computation and modeling of regulatory pathways, and drug discovery.

More about Science Signaling:

Climate warming and soils: NMR paper in Nature Geoscience (November 25, 2008)

A research team from the University of Toronto Scarborough led by Myrna Simpson reports an accelerated rate of decomposition of some soil organics and accumulation of others due to soil warming.

X. Feng, A.J. Simpson, K.P. Wilson, D.D. Williams and M.J. Simpson, "Increased cuticular carbon sequestration and lignin oxidation in response to soil warming," Nature Geoscience (2008) online. http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/ngeo361

This paper has generated considerable media attention including a feature interview "Soil Alert" with Myrna on Daily Planet (aired on Nov 27, 2008).





web : Myrna Simpson's Group (external link)

NanochemistryNanochemistry: A Chemical Approach to Nanomaterials

Authors Geoffrey A. Ozin, Andre C. Arsenault and Ludovico Cademartiri
Hardcover: 770 pages
Publisher: Royal Society of Chemistry; 2nd Revised edition (January 2009)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 184755895X
ISBN-13: 978-1847558954

RSC: “… The global success of the 1st edition of "Nanochemistry", and exceptionally rapid change in the field, has necessitated the publication of a 2nd edition after only three years. This truly major update highlights the latest breakthroughs using over 80 new case histories, more problem sets, and more teaching principles. Written for teachers and students, the book catapults the reader to the forefront of the field. Using simple language, and focusing on the concepts, it covers all chemistry techniques commonly used to synthesize nanomaterials. In this book, case histories enable readers to 'connect the dots' and understand the possibilities ahead whilst problem sets encourage students to think creatively and laterally about what they have learnt. The extensive bibliography will satisfy those hungry for more detail.”


web: Geoffrey Ozin (University of Toronto)