Fall 2008

Seminar: Medical and Biological Applications of Magnetic Resonance

Class meets Mondays — 1:30 to 4:00 — Room 104 SC

Nancy H. Kolodny

Chemistry 306 presents the fields of magnetic resonance spectroscopy and imaging. We will study applications of magnetic resonance in chemistry, biology and medicine, which range from the determination of structures of macromolecules using multi-dimensional nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy (NMR) to the observation of brain activation using functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI). We will approach these topics by learning about the theoretical and instrumental basis of MR spectroscopy and imaging. Examples of applications of these techniques will be taken from the current scientific literature. Guest speakers will present their work in various areas of applications of magnetic resonance. The seminar will be participatory, with each student making formal class presentations.


  1. Ray Freeman, “Magnetic Resonance in Chemistry and Medicine” (paperback), Oxford University Press, New York, 2003 (required)

  2. Ray H. Hashemi, William G. Bradley, Jr., and Christopher J. Lisanti, ”MRI: The Basics” (paperback), Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Philadelphia, 2004 (required)


You will present three pieces of oral and written work in the course.

  1. During the semester, you will present two oral and written reports (with a partner) on NMR and MRI techniques of particular interest to you.
  2. As your final piece of work, you will create a “grant proposal” (alone) using NMR spectroscopy or MRI to solve a medical or scientific problem.

Your final grade will be determined by these pieces of work and by your overall class participation as follows:

Technique presentations and papers 28%
Final presentation and paper 20%
Class participation 8%

Note: Class participation includes attendance and participation during class meetings
Any missed labs must be made up.


Date Topic
9/8 History and Basic Concepts of NMR
Public speaking tutor presentation: How to lead a class discussion
9/15 MR Instrumentation
Chemical Shift; Spin-spin coupling
9/22 Relaxation
Guest speaker on clinical MRI: Dr. Rebecca Schwartz, Radiology Department,
Caritas St. Elizabeth’s Hospital
9/29 MRI contrast and pulse sequences
Public speaking tutor presentation: How to make an effective PowerPoint presentation
10/6 2D NMR Spectroscopy
Guest speaker on NMR of biomolecules: Dr. Gerhard Wagner, Harvard Medical School
10/20 Student presentations on NMR/MRI techniques
10/27 Field trip to Novartis, Cambridge, MA
11/3 NMR spectroscopy
Guest speaker on MRI and autism: Dr. Helen Tager-Flusberg,
Boston University School of Medicine
11/10 Student presentations on NMR/MRI techniques
11/17 Guest speaker on “Human Pulmonary Gas Exchange with Hyperpolarized 129Xe”: Dr. Sam Patz, Harvard Medical School In vivo NMR spectroscopy
11/24 NMR spectroscopy and MRI wrapup;
12/5 Student final presentations
12/12 Student final presentations