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About

The Molecular Education, Technology and Research Innovation Center (METRIC) is the premiere facility at NC State for high-end molecular analysis. By combining our three platform technologies in one core (mass spectrometry, magnetic resonance, and X-ray crystallography), we are able to provide the appropriate techniques for researchers looking to better understand their molecular systems. And with a presence on both Main and Centennial campuses, we aim to support researchers across all of NC State and beyond.

History: Beginning in late 2016, a convergence of institutional planning identified molecular characterization of simple and complex chemical and biological systems requiring strategic investments by NC State. With strong support from the Chancellor, the Provost, the Vice Chancellor for Finance, and the Vice Chancellor for Research, detailed planning for the development of METRIC commenced and was announced formally in November of 2017. METRIC encompasses three key platform technologies: mass spectrometry, magnetic resonance (NMR and EPR), and X-ray crystallography.

Facility and Equipment: METRIC provides NC State researchers access to a world-class measurement science facility that includes mass spectrometry, nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy, electron paramagnetic spectroscopy, and X-ray crystallography of small molecules and macromolecules. The center is housed in Dabney Hall, Polk Hall, Partners III, and the brand-new Plant Sciences Building (opens April 2022). METRIC space totals more than 12,500 ft2 including offices for 18 scientists, instrumentation rooms with UPS and back-up power, bio-specimen and general-purpose storage (-80°C and -20°C freezers) with back-up power, and wet laboratories for sample preparation. Space renovations (~$2.75M+) to accommodate METRIC produced state-of-the-art laboratories with independent climate control, galleys to isolate noise and vibration, chilled water, DI water, and appropriate power. Laboratories are equipped with data analysis hardware and software as well as sample preparation instrumentation, including a state-of-the-art LMD system with live-cell imaging capability, Leica CM 1950 cryostat, HTX TMSP-M3 TM-Sprayer, Bead Ruptor, and Geno Grinder tissue homogenizers, Teflon coated block digestion system for ICP-MS samples, muffle furnace for ashing ICP-MS samples, Nanodrop spectrophotometers, plate readers, pH meters, refrigerated centrifuges, speed-vacs, and nanopure water purification systems. In addition, all personnel in METRIC have personal PCs with access to networked printers, a color copy machine, and several 40 TB RAID data storage systems.

Technical Expertise: The expertise in METRIC is significant. NC State has committed considerable resources (>$14M in capital investments, including service contracts on instrumentation to reduce downtime) and state-funded, highly qualified personnel; the latter includes a Director (David C. Muddiman, Jacob and Betty Belin Distinguished Professor of Chemistry) and Associate Director (Joseph Barycki, Professor of Biochemistry). The mass spectrometry platform is led by Allison Stewart, Research Scientist with 15 years of experience in mass spectrometry (expertise: targeted and untargeted metabolomics, LC-MS and CE-MS), Dr. Jeff Enders, Senior Research Scholar (expertise: small molecule quant, ion mobility, metallomics), Dr. Rebecca Weed, Research Scholar (expertise: PFAS / Emerging Contaminants of Concern), Dr. Yu-Chun Chiu, Post-Doctoral Researcher (expertise: plant metabolomics), Leonard Collins, Research Assistant (expertise: small molecule targeted assays, GC-MS, and proteomics), Dr. Whitney Stutts, Senior Research Scholar (expertise: MALDI, mass spectrometry imaging, lipidomics), Dr. Taufika Williams, Senior Research Scholar (expertise: discovery and targeted proteomics). Two additional Ph.D. level scientists with mass spectrometry expertise are currently being recruited. Collectively, including the Director, the METRIC MS platform has over 125 years of experience. The magnetic resonance program is led by Dr. Jennifer Sun, Research Scholar (expertise:  small molecular NMR), and Dr. Peter Thompson, Research Scholar (expertise: macromolecular NMR). Together they have over 30 years of experience. Finally, Dr. Paul Swartz (research scholar with expertise in macromolecular crystallography) leads the X-ray crystallography program. A Ph.D. level scientist with expertise in small molecule X-ray is currently being recruited. Collectively, including the Associate Director, the METRIC X-ray platform has nearly 75 years of experience.

METRIC is a university-wide Shared Core Research Facility administered by NC State’s Office of Research and Innovation and governed by an active and engaged Executive Committee, Faculty Advisory Committee, External Advisory Committee, and three User Committees. Access to METRIC instrumentation to schedule use and/or training and billing for services is managed using a cloud-based LIMS that was customized at NC State University by the Office of Information Technology based on MENDIX.

METRIC Provides Access to Instrumentation

Researchers can now schedule access to mass spectrometry instrumentation through an online system offered by METRIC, the university’s new Molecular Education, Technology, and Research Innovation Center. Nuclear magnetic resonance and X-ray crystallography instruments will be fully integrated into the system this summer.

METRIC Equipment

Partnerships

  • External Academic and Industry Partnerships
    • 20 External Academic Partners
    • 40 Industry Partners

Future Growth