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February 2019:
Congratulations to Jihyun Kim for winning Best Poster Award at the Minerva-Gentner Symposium on MR Spectroscopy & Molecular Imaging

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Cellular Metabolism

Real-time NMR of Metabolic Pathways
Schematic of cellular metabolismAfter introduction of a hyperpolarized metabolite into cells, downstream metabolic products are readily observed. Thereby, hyperpolarization not only provides the sensitivity to observe metabolites at low concentration, but also introduces a contrast of several orders of magnitude towards the non-hyperpolarized background. Metabolites of interest can therefore be selectively observed, and the time course of signal evolution can be used to characterize metabolic flux within the cell, membrane transport, and other phenomena. We are developing methods for the quantitative characterization of these processes using hyperpolarized metabolites, which are applicable to cell lines involved in diseases including cancer.

Metabolic Studies with High Resolution and Ultrahigh Sensitivity
NMR spectrum of lipid extract High-resolution DNP-NMR enables a rapid analysis of small quantities of biological molecules. Using fractional isotope incorporation, it is further possible to determine metabolic pathways. If biomolecules are synthesized by culturing microorganisms in a medium where a fraction of the carbon feedstock is labeled, coupling patterns observed in carbon spins in the synthesized molecule can be used to deduce the incorporation patterns of the carbon precursor.Schemiatic of NMR signals from fractionally labeled sample Additionally, the incorporation of atoms is also tracked by using partially labeled precursor molecules. The usage of a fractionally labeled feedstock also adds a quantitative dimension to dissolution DNP by enabling the comparison of the intensities of the observed multiplet to that of the singlet. The intensity ratios observed are indicative of the extent of label incorporated and is useful in determining the flux of the carbon precursor towards incorporation into the product molecule.