Westmont has installed a new Nuclear Magnetic Resonance (NMR) spectrometer in the Whittier Science Building thanks to a $383,000 grant from the Fletcher Jones Foundation. The new 400 MHz spectrometer, which replaces a 300 MHz spectrometer that had reached the end of its 14-year life expectancy, allows researchers to peer into the molecular world and determine the structure of molecules.
“The chemistry department is feeling energized with the new spectrometer and a recent grant challenge match from the Stauffer Charitable Trust to endow our summer research program,” says Niva Tro, Westmont chemistry professor. “The new Fletcher Jones NMR will be an essential tool in our vital research program.”
The spectrometer is housed in the Fletcher Jones Foundation NMR Laboratory on the second floor of the Whittier Science Building. Since 1984, Fletcher Jones has given about $1.3 million in grants for other technology upgrades and research equipment, which have enhanced Westmont’s biology, chemistry, engineering and physics, and psychology departments. The foundation has also contributed $1.5 million toward the endowment of the Gaede Institute for the Liberal Arts and to establish the rotating Fletcher Jones Foundation Endowed Chair in the Social Sciences.
The Fletcher Jones Foundation was established in 1968 by Fletcher Jones, cofounder of Computer Sciences Corporation, a worldwide leader in business technology. Following his untimely death in 1972, the foundation received the bulk of his estate. The primary mission of the foundation has been and still is the support of private, independent degree granting institutions of higher education in California.
Kristi Lazar, assistant professor of chemistry, has used NMR extensively and has published her research in scientific literature. She uses the NMR with students in organic chemistry laboratories and in her research group to check the purity of chemicals in protein synthesis and purification. Westmont obtained the current spectrometer when Lazar was a student at Westmont. “We used the NMR frequently in class and during my undergraduate research,” she says. “When I entered graduate school, I was able to use the NMR there with little training, and I was thankful for the time my professors at Westmont invested to teach me this invaluable technique.”