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National Biomedical Resource
for Advanced Electron Spin Resonance Spectroscopy

Our research is supported by grant 1R24GM146107 from the National Institute of General Medical Sciences (NIGMS), part of the National Institutes of Health.


last update:   July 24, 2022

Jack H. Freed
Frank and Robert Laughlin Professor of Physical Chemistry, Emeritus
Director & Principal Investigator


Prof. Freed has been on the Cornell faculty since 1963. He is a world leader in the ESR field and has received many national and international awards for his work in this field. Under his leadership, the laboratory has pioneered many of the theoretical and instrumental technologies that serve as the basis for the Resource. He provides the overall direction of the Resource and actively participates in all facets of its scientific programs, and its administration.

Brian Crane 
George W. and Grace L. Todd Professor, and Chair, Dept. of Chemistry & Chemical Biology


Co-PI Brian Crane has a long-standing collaboration with ACERT having incorporated ESR spectroscopy into many aspects of his research. He brings an application perspective regarding the techniques developed at ACERT. He investigates the structure, function, and mechanism of protein systems that underlie signal transduction, with particular emphasis on processes mediated by redox and photochemistry, and those dependent on highly cooperative macromolecular assemblies. His own research areas include understanding circadian clock light sensors, bacterial transmembrane signaling, nitric oxide enzymology, and general aspects of protein electron transfer. He also has interest in the development of spin-labeling methods for both in vitro and cellular experiments.

Petr P. Borbat
Senior Research Associate
Associate Director



Dr. Borbat joined the Freed Research Group at Cornell, in 1995. His research interests are centered at pulsed ESR, in particular at the development of Multiple-quantum coherence ESR spectroscopy and related techniques relevant to distance measurements in biological applications, and the development of 2D-FT ESR and its applications to study molecular dynamics, including transient phenomena. He manages Resource activity in distance measurements in biological systems and in two-dimensional FT ESR. 

Curt R. Dunnam
Director of Operations
Engineering Physics


Mr. Dunnam is presently Director of Operations for the ACERT National ESR Resource and Senior Electronics Engineer. His areas of professional expertise are EM physics, electrical engineering and business management. He joined the Freed Research Group in 1995, after 17 years with the Laboratory for Elementary Particle Physics (formerly LNS), Cornell, employed as an engineering physicist and electrical engineer. Mr. Dunnam has authored and co-authored several papers on particle accelerator instrumentation and beam diagnostics, ESR spectroscopy and imaging, and rapid signal acquisition and processing. He also holds 6 U.S. patents relative to microwave and magnetic field instrumentation. Mr. Dunnam's primary responsibilities at ACERT are centered on instrumentation for c.w. and pulsed millimeter-wave ESR spectroscopy and high-resolution ESR microimaging.

Alex L. Lai
Research Associate


Dr. Lai joined ACERT in 2012. His focus is on biomedical applications of ESR. Dr. Lai's experience includes cellular biology, biochemistry, biophysics and structural biology. He is an expert on membrane protein expression, purification, reconstitution and characterization using DLS, SLS, FTIR, CD, DSC and ITC, as well as membrane protein structural determination and dynamics using ESR and NMR. Prior to joining ACERT, Dr. Lai had been doing research on various membrane fusion systems for a number of years. Dr. Lai has been conducting research on interaction between interfacial peptides and lipid bilayers in membrane fusion systems using advanced High Field CW and Pulse ESR techniques. Dr. Lai is an expert on distance measurements using Pulse Dipolar ESR.

Madhur Srivastava
Assistant Professor of Research


Dr. Madhur Srivastava is an Assistant Research Professor in the Department of Chemistry and Chemical Biology at Cornell University and at ACERT. Coming from a signal-processing background, he has specialized in using advanced data processing methods for a variety of ESR-based biomedical applications, as well as other fields of magnetic resonance. At ACERT he has concentrated on applying wavelet-based denoising to 1D and 2D signals for both cw- and pulse-dipolar ESR. His algorithms now allow us to reliably recover ESR signals from raw inputs with signal-to-noise ratios on the order of unity, thus permitting greatly reduced data acquisition times, and SVD processing algorithms for distance determinations in PDS. He is engaged with a number of ACERT collaborators to help them on their various projects. In addition, Dr. Srivastava is deeply committed to science outreach--he regularly does hands-on workshops for regional K-12 groups--and mentoring students from populations underrepresented in STEM fields.

Art Samplaski
Administrative Manager



Dr. Art Samplaski joined ACERT in 2015. He provides administrative support for the group, including manuscript/grant submissions, editing, purchasing, and travel/event logistics; and he serves as point of contact for internal and external scientists, collaborators, and visitors. An independent music cognition researcher, he brings to ACERT an extremely diverse educational and professional background, with extensive experience in event coordination, office management, editing for non-native English speakers, and science public outreach, including helping to run public viewing at Cornell's Fuertes Observatory since August 2005.

Diane Patzer



Walt Ford



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