High Resolution Nuclear Magnetic Resonance (NMR) Spectroscopy


Ronald Venters, PhD

Associate Director


The Duke Cancer Institute’s High Resolution Nuclear Magnetic Resonance (NMR) Spectroscopy Shared Resource is an integral part of the Duke Magnetic Resonance Spectroscopy Center (DMRSC). This Shared Resource provides members of the Duke Cancer Institute (DCI) with cost-effective access to state-of-the-art high field NMR instrumentation for the characterization of biomolecules, metabolites, and molecular assemblies and enables the study of molecular mechanisms of biomedical interest. For structural biology, a full suite of methods for the determination of protein and nucleic acid structures and dynamics is provided and supported by experienced senior scientists. The resource maintains an interactive, hands-on environment for investigators interested in using advanced as well as routine NMR methods in their cancer research and encourages interdisciplinary collaborative efforts. The resource also provides access to training in the use of NMR methods, and expert consultation on advanced NMR applications


  • Cost effective access to state-of-the-art NMR instrumentation.
  • Expert training in the use of NMR instrumentation and methods.
  • Assistance in planning and implementing experiments and in data analysis.
  • On-site consultation and collaboration with three full-time PhD level scientific staff members and an electronics engineer/instrument specialist who are all expert in advanced applications using these techniques for biochemical and biomedical research.
  • Development of new methods and implementation of new techniques for acquiring and analyzing NMR data.


  • State-of-the-art ultra-high field 800MHz Varian/Agilent DirectDrive2 spectrometer fully configured with four RF channels, two receivers, and 1H/13C/15N cryogenic and room temperature triple probes with pulsed field gradients.
  • Recently installed Bruker Avance III 700MHz spectrometer with both liquids and solids capabilities fully configured for biomolecular studies with room temperature triple resonance probes. The liquids probe is capable of 19F detection with 1H decoupling and vise versa.
  • Bruker Avance III 700MHz spectrometer fully configured for biological research with four RF channels and 1H/13C/15N cryogenic and room temperature triple probes with pulsed field gradients.
  • 600MHz Bruker Avance III NMR spectrometer with four-channel capability and 1H/13C/15N/31P cryogenic and room temperature quad PFG probes.
  • 500MHz Varian/Agilent VNMRS spectrometer with five-channel capability and dual receivers. Probes available include a recently purchased 1H(19F)/13C/15N triple, 1H/13C/15N triple, 5mM PFG inverse and a 10mM broadband.
  • Second fully configured three-channel 500MHz Varian VNMRS spectrometer with 5mM HFC indirect pulsed field gradient, 1H/19F and 1H/13C/15N triple probes for chemical applications.
  • 400MHz Varian Inova spectrometer with a 4-nucleus PFG probe and a PFG inverse probe.

For more information see: http://sites.duke.edu/nmrcenter/instruments/

Scheduling and Training

NMR time for all instruments is allocated to users of the NMR Center using the CoreResearch@Duke reservation calendar. Six hundred, 700, and 800 MHz spectrometer time requests are reviewed by NMR Center staff, at a weekly meeting.

The spectrometers in both NMR Center locations are available on a 24 hour-a-day, 7 day-a-week basis. Scheduling requests and hands-on use of the instruments in the NMR Center is restricted to trained operators who are able to function safely and effectively without supervision particularly during the evening and weekend periods. Submitted samples from research groups, that do not have trained and approved operators, are scheduled by Center staff as time becomes available. Each sample submitted for NMR analysis should be accompanied by the Analysis Request Form obtained in the LSRC NMR Center location.

Training for new users is provided by the Center’s staff. Research programs are encouraged to designate one or more members to become trained operators. Training sessions for small groups and individuals are scheduled according to demand. The hands-on part of the training will preferably be associated with experiments of research interest to the individual, and the instrument time needed will be charged to the project. The extent of training will depend on the complexity of the experiments required for the project. Each person requesting operator status will be required to demonstrate competence on the instrumentation to DMRSC staff members before being permitted unsupervised access to the spectrometers.

For more information see: http://sites.duke.edu/nmrcenter/policy/ and http://sites.duke.edu/nmrcenter/schedules/


Rooms B 138-147 Levine Science Research Center (Main Facility)
Rooms 1240-1241 French Family Science Building (Satellite Facility)

The High Resolution NMR Spectroscopy Shared Resource/DMRSC is physically located in roughly 5,000 sq. ft. of modern, custom designed space on the ground floor of the Levine Science Research Center.  There are currently ~29 active user groups of the facility. Designed specifically for the equipment and support personnel housed there, the Shared Resource provides an integrated environment that encourages maximum productivity. In addition to environmentally controlled instrument rooms, there are offices for the professional staff, a shared wet laboratory, and a conference room. The design is intended to provide maximum opportunity for investigators to communicate with one another and to share experiences and knowledge of value in studying the, often complex, systems associated with cancer biology projects. Additionally, one of the 700MHz instruments and a 500MHz and a 400MHz instrument are located in an 850 sq. ft. facility in the French Family Science Building adjacent to Levine Science Research Center. This location is particularly useful to DCI members in the Chemistry and Biology Departments, which are located in the same building.