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There are now three members of staff in the NMR Facility, with Dr Peter Gierth joining the team as Senior NMR Specialist. We welcome Pete from Bruker UK, as the former head of their applications laboratory where he dealt with all manner of NMR requests and problems in both solution and solid state arenas. We hope this will usher in a new era of even greater productivity and endeavour down in the basement, where we look to expand the offering we provide to our research groups as well as implement new ways of working with data in this digital informatics age and improving the fault finding and knowledge transfer we can give to our departmental colleagues. Picture of Pete coming soon......!

Duncan Howe

Dr Peter Gierth heads up the NMR Facility as our Senior NMR Specialist. Pete joined the team in September 2021 after nearly three years with only Duncan and Andrew running the facility, to bring much needed support and a wealth of experience in both solution and solid state NMR. Pete obtained his PhD in 2005 from the University of Cambridge with Professor Melinda Duer, here in the department following his MSCi, Natural Sciences (Chemistry) also here in Cambridge. His thesis, entitled Relaxation-based signal seperation in solid-state NMR Spectroscopy gave him a strong theoretical grounding along with practical experience in a research solid-state environment. From 2005 to 2021, Pete worked in the applications laboratory at Bruker UK Ltd (the UK arm of our instrument supplier), first as an Applications Scientist and then from 2010 as NMR Applications Team Leader, where he was responsible for the technical support of all the UK spectrometers supplied by Bruker. In this role he gained further practical experience with a wide variety of experiments, nuclei and pulse sequence development/troubleshooting. Working in this manufacturer role, Pete is familiar with a vast array of hardware, and experience in diagnosing and rectifying a variety of system faults. He is constantly looking to improve his knowledge and understanding of NMR, and enjoys disseminating that to the wider NMR community.

Duncan Howe and Andrew Mason are NMR specialist technical assistant-staff with 24+ years experience each on the departmental instruments.  Duncan has a joint Chemistry/Computing degree from the University of St Andrew's and generally runs the 500MHz Cryoprobe instrument, Aberlour in B28.  He can advise on all aspects of NMR, and specialises in computer related queries and the implementation of new techniques and experiments on our spectrometers.  Particular strengths include Non Uniform Sampling, the use of the Dynamics Centre for DOSY processing and kinetics. Duncan is the NMR Facility training lead, standardising the way in which new users are taught the safe and correct way to operate a high field spectrometer. Why not have a look at Duncan's NMR Blog!

Andrew gained his Chemistry degree at the University of York and can usually be found on the 400MHz QNP Cryoprobe spectrometer, Cragganmore also in B28.  He deals with the majority of the external samples that require preparation prior to analysis and is responsible for the safe disposal of these materials and other contaminated waste.  He is responsible for the accounts, administration, trained user recording, consumable ordering and price negotiation and implementation of the booking system. He can help with all general NMR enquiries, is in charge of the facility website, social media, general housekeeping in the section and is the lead on the NMR training/tutorial video production. He is very interested in implementation of the LEAN process in an academic environment in order to reduce cost, improve efficiency and productivity and eliminate mistakes and failure modes.

The NMR Facility team run the NMR Service spectrometers in B28, and operate the other instruments for researcher workers without access to a group user.  We also look after the day to day requirements of the magnets such as nitrogen and helium fills, and are able to fix most of the smaller problems that can occur with these systems.  We liaise with the manufacturer of our instruments - Bruker - to arrange engineer visits and coordinate repairs as required.  If you require NMR solvents or tubes, then see us in B28 where we will be delighted to help you.  We can also help you to choose experiments to solve your particular problem, and can offer advice when your spectra are not what you expect.  We deal with requests for NMR experiments from researchers in other University departments, collaborate on research projects*, and coordinate work with scientists from external companies.  To send an email to both of us at once, please use the address nmr@ch.cam.ac.uk.
 
If we are not in B28, you can probably find one of us in the other rooms on the basement corridor.  Please come and see us if you need information or assistance with anything NMR related.  We don't bite and it may save you some time! We like to provide a friendly face when things are not going to plan with your NMR research, or share a joke and impart some knowledge to you while hearing about your day or even your nights out! Many of our research workers become friends and even customers in the fullness of time!
 
* Collaborative research papers published in 2014 and 2018:
Ibrahim Jalloh, Adel Helmy, Duncan J. Howe, Richard J. Shannon, Peter Grice, Andrew Mason, Clare N. Gallagher, Michael P. Murphy, John D. Pickard, David K. Menon, T. Adrian Carpenter, Peter J. Hutchinson, and Keri L. H. Carpenter   A Comparison of Oxidative Lactate Metabolism in Traumatically Injured Brain and Control Brain Journal of Neurotrauma.Sep 2018.ahead of print
 
Keri L. H. Carpenter, Ibrahim Jalloh, Clare N. Gallagher, Peter Grice, Duncan J. Howe, Andrew Mason, Ivan Timofeev, Adel Helmy, Michael P. Murphy, David K. Menon, Peter J. Kirkpatrick, T. Adrian Carpenter, Garnette R. Sutherland, John D. Pickard, Peter J. Hutchinson   13C-labelled microdialysis studies of cerebral metabolism in TBI patients Eur J Pharm Sci  Volume 57, 16 June 2014, Pages 87–97