A Unique constellation of Facilities
At Cornell, biophysics students use the most sophisticated research facilities
devoted to X-ray crystallography, optical, laser and magnetic resonance spectroscopy
The Cornell Center for Advanced
Computing houses a high-performance computing facility that has
major biophysical applications, including computation of the energetics
of protein folding, molecular dynamics simulation of macromolecules and
novel uses of computer graphics. The CAC provides over 700 computing nodes
in a variety of serial and parallel configurations to Cornell researchers
and is connected to the national NSF-supported Teragrid high-end computing
resource. The Computational Biology Service Unit within the CAC maintains
an extensive suite of computational biology software and consults and collaborates
on Cornell research projects requiring expertise in genomics, proteomics,
data mining, or structural and computational biology.
The Cornell High Energy Synchrotron Source or CHESS, produces intense
X-ray beams useful for scientific studies ranging from solid-state physics
and chemistry to biology. The facility is capable of wide- and small-angle
scattering, XAFS (X ray absorption fine structure) and macromolecular crystallography.
With X-ray beams compressed to one-thousandth the diameter of a human hair,
CHESS can characterize materials at an unprecedented resolution. A national
resource built and operated largely with funds from the National Science Foundation,
CHESS attracts distinguished visiting scientists from all over the world.
MacCHESS, the Macromolecular Diffraction Facility at the Cornell High Energy
Synchrotron Source, is used by investigators throughout the world for
research on novel applications of synchrotron radiation to problems involving
physical biochemistry and biomedical research. Its specialties include multiple
wavelength anomalous diffraction (MAD), ultrahigh resolution X-ray diffraction
and the development of new apparatus and techniques. Crystallographic studies
of pathogenic viruses and toxins can be done in the high-level biohazard
containment facility. One of MacCHESS's highly successful advancements is
the development and utilization of ultrafast and highly sensitive CCD (charge-coupled
device) detectors. Solution scattering studies allow determination of the
size and shape of proteins and nucleic acids in solution. MacCHESS is funded
by the National Institutes of Health.
The Developmental Resource for Biophysical Imaging Opto-Electronics
uses and develops new technology in physical optics, lasers and computation
to develop innovative experimental methods in optical microscopy for studying
molecular mechanisms in cellular biophysics. One of the Resource's breakthroughs
is in the application of two-photon spectroscopy and imaging to biological
systems. The facility is supported by grants from the National Institutes of
Health, the National Science Foundation, and the Department of Energy.
The Center for Advanced Technology in Biotechnology, also known as the
Biotechnology Center, is equipped with support facilities for research
in biophysics, including automated DNA and peptide synthesis; amino acid
analysis and sequencing; computerized protein DNA and RNA sequence analysis;
matrix-assisted laser desorption mass spectroscopy and fluorescence imaging,
confocal microscopy and video microscopy services-plus a fermentation center
and a plant cell culture and transformation facility. The center funds research
on campus, provides a venue for students and faculty members to interact
with representatives of industry and sponsors seminars and workshops of interest
to biophysics students.
The Nanobiotechnology Center functions as the core of a rapidly advancing
area of scientific and technological opportunity that applies the tools and
processes of nano/microfabrication to build devices for studying biosystems.
Researchers learn from biology to create new micro-nanoscale devices to better
understand life processes at the nanoscale. The Nanobiotechnology Center
(NBTC), a National Science Foundation, Science and Technology Center is characterized
by its highly interdisciplinary nature and features a close collaboration
between life scientists, physical scientists, and engineers. We also share
a commitment to education and outreach, taking the discoveries from the laboratory
and realizing their potential benefit to society.
The NBTC shared facility is a user-oriented research and education facility,
designed to advance interdisciplinary programs in nanobiotechnology. It is
open to NBTC faculty, staff, students and affiliates, the Cornell community,
and researchers from other academic institutions and industry. The industrial
access is enhanced and promoted with funding from the New York State Office
of Science, Technology and Academic Research (NYSTAR).
The facility has equipment located in Duffield and Clark Hall and offers a
full range of capabilities and services for design, fabrication, and characterization
of substrates and devices for nanobiotechnology. NBTC cleanroom tools (see
below for details) process and fabricate novel materials and substrates. Chemical
and bio-processing labs on the second floor provide capabilities required to
functionalize and charcterize substrates and materials for nanobiotechnology
The Biomolecular NMR Center is dedicated to the study of the architecture
and internal motions of biological macromolecules (proteins, RNA and DNA).
Housed in the Biotechnology Building, the center features a 14.1 tesla (600
MHz) NMR spectrometer fully capable of performing the most challenging, high-resolution
NMR experiments. The spectrometer, a Varian Unity INOVA, embodies the latest
advances in NMR technology, including four radio frequency channels and pulsed