New equipment to support scientific research, teaching

lab workDr. James MacKenzie, an assistant professor of biological sciences, and colleagues in that department and the chemistry department have acquired and set up a new ultracentrifuge for research and teaching.

A “major research instrumentation” grant of $75,618 from the National Science Foundation made the acquisition possible. The ultracentrifuge is in the Molecular Biology and Biochemistry Center in Snygg Hall.

The new equipment uses gravitational force—up to 500,000 times the force of gravity—to “separate mixtures of molecules such as proteins of different sizes and shapes and isolating structures such as viruses and subcellular organelles,” MacKenzie said.

Beginning next fall, all biochemistry students and some students in the biological sciences and chemistry departments will be able to use the ultracentrifuge either in class or assisting professors in research, MacKenzie said.

“Using an ultracentrifuge students will get experience working with biological materials that are so small that they usually have a difficult time conceptualizing their characteristics,” according to the grant proposal.

MacKenzie is the principal investigator on the grant. Dr. Timothy Braun of the biological sciences department and Dr. Webe Kadima of the chemistry department are co-investigators, while Dr. Kestas Bendinskas, also of the chemistry department, is senior staff to the project.

They will use the ultracentrifuge in their research into protein targeting to mitochondria, bacterial motility and insulin chemistry, MacKenzie said, as well as in biochemistry classes.

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PHOTO CAPTION: Centrifugal experience—Senior biochemistry major Greg Miller (left) and Dr. James MacKenzie of SUNY Oswego’s biological sciences faculty work with the ultracentrifuge in the college’s Molecular Biology and Biochemistry Center in Snygg Hall.

CONTACT: Dr. James MacKenzie, 312-2767

(Posted: Feb 20, 2008)

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