Principle Investigator


John M. Franck

John completed his PhD thesis under the guidance of Prof. Alex Pines at Berkeley, studying sophisticated methods of NMR pulse design and the development of portable and transportable NMR instruments. He worked as an Elings Prize Postdoctoral Fellow (California NanoSystems Institute) at the University of California, Santa Barbara, under the guidance of Prof. Songi Han. There, he developed new, sensitive technologies for investigating the properties of water at the surfaces of proteins, polymers, lipids, and DNA. He completed further postdoctoral studies and served as a research associate at the Advanced Center for the ESR Technology Center (ACERT) at Cornell University, under the guidance of Prof. Jack Freed. There, he participated in studies that advanced the forefront of high-field high-frequency pulse ESR; techniques that provide detailed dynamic characterizations of proteins and other biomolecular systems. These technologies are challenged only by difficulties with probing samples that generated short-lived signal; while at ACERT Prof. Franck pioneered work that enabled detection of shorter-lived species than could be proved previously. After joining Syracuse as a PI and setting up his lab, he received the NSF CAREER award (2022).

Graduate Students


Alexandria Guinness

Alex Guinness

Alex has automated large portions of the ODNP experiment and data processing, and performs detailed investigations to improve the sensitivity of the ODNP measurement. Currently, she applies these techniques to the study of hydration water on the surface of Ras.


Romana Shathy

Romana Shathy

Romana is a 1st year graduate student. She synthesizes small molecule spin labels that allow her to probe the microviscosity (via ESR) and the local diffusivity (via ODNP) of small pockets of water. Beginning with reverse micelles, she plans to expand her studies to a variety of (especially energy-relevant) porous materials.


Warren Kincaid

Warren Kincaid

Warren has two projects: In one, he develops efficient protocols for site-directed spin labeling and expression of the light-activated proton pump proteorhodopsin, and investigates sites with anomalous hydration along the surface or proteorhodopsin. In the other project, he employes Ansys Electronics to design dual NMR-ESR resonators with improved sensitivity. He focuses on developing new simulation protocols that apply broadly to the design of couple microwave resonators.



Graduates and Postdocs

Alec Beaton (PhD)

Alec employed both ODNP and 2H NMR to observe confined water inside reverse micelles.

He also pioneered the DCCT technique for the display of maximally multiplexed information about the various coherence pathway signals present in an NMR experiment; he applied this technique to identify faint signals in low-field NMR and to perform mean-field-averaged correlation alignment to dramatically improve signal to noise and signal quality in the presence of variable magnetic fields.

Alec currently works at Bruker Biospin.

Farhana Syed (Postdoc)

Farhana performed site-directed spin labeling on the protein K-Ras.

Samantha Betts (MS)

Sam refined a protocol for the expression and site-directed spin labeling of Proteorhodopsin, and also worked on overmodulation reconstruction. Sam currently works at the Aldon Corporation as a Product Developer.


Natasha Prince Natasha helped to refine our protocol for trans-membrane protocol expression, and worked on customized dialysis devices to precisely control the solvent environment. She graduated with distinction in chemistry, and has proceeded to graduate studies of Art Conservation and Forensics.
Conal Gallagher Conal worked on the synthesis of small molecule spin labels. After graduation, he joined a small startup in the Bay Area, followed by graduate studies in Forensics.
Jessica Khuc Jessica worked with Farhana on generating multiple SDSL mutants of Ras.
Eldon Hard Began our project on the simulation of microwave resonators. Graduated and enrolled in the PhD program at USC.
Heta Desai (REU 2017) Synthesized the small molecule spin label Cat-1, demonstrated its capture inside lipid vesicles, and demonstrated its saturation performance relative to aminotempo.
Isabela Ramirez Worked briefly to initialize a project on mechanical automation of rf tuning and sample mixing.
Soliloquy Rhodes Soliloquy (graduated 2019) worked on the synthesis of small molecule spin labels as well as the design of an automated temperature control system for use with saturation-level microwaves.
Michelle Sahagian (Graduated 2019) worked on the synthesis of small molecule spin labels.