Center for Life Science Technologies
NMR Facility Director
Hideaki Maeda, Ph.D.

The NMR facilities at RIKEN's Yokohama Campus, opened in 2000, were designed and built as part of the drive to create a structural biology research center that would act as a center of excellence (COE) for structural biology research in Japan by linking with the Spring-8 synchrotron radiation facility opened in 1997. The Yokohama Campus NMR facilities are now equipped with 30 high-performance NMR devices or more, the largest collection of NMR devices in the world.

Our NMR devices are organically linked with other equipment and facilities to create a pipeline for three-dimensional structural analysis using NMR. The pipeline comprises all the steps from protein sample preparation to the determination of three-dimensional structures. This has allowed us to perform structural analysis on some 300 proteins per annum, or a total of 1,300 proteins or more, as part of the national Protein 3000 Project. Since fiscal 2007, non-RIKEN researchers have been able to use these facilities as part of our efforts to share with the wider society our experience, knowledge, and expertise built up through the processes used to achieve these results.

NMR is used in a wide range of fields beyond three-dimensional structural analysis of proteins and other biological macromolecules. There have been startling new developments in the technology in recent years. We hope that the active use of our facilities by industry or academia will promote research and development in a wide range of fields, not just the life sciences, and accelerate scientific progress and innovation in Japan.