Center for Magnetic Resonance (CERM), Sesto Fiorentino, Italy

CERMDescription of organization

CERM is the NMR lab of the Consorzio Interuniversitario di Risonanze Magnetiche di Metalloproteine (CIRMMP). One of the research fields is NMR based metabolomics (both solid state and solution) eventually integrated with MS. Then CERM is a research infrastructure for NMR structural and cellular biology. The center (70-80 people; 3500 m²) hosts a large number of NMR spectrometers from 400 to 900 MHz for solution and solid state. CERM also hosts the da Vinci European Biobank, a biobank of biological samples and biomolecular resources. CERM is an e-infrastructure and as such it is a core center of the European Integrated Structural Biology Infrastructure (INSTRUCT). Financed by the Italian government as a public-private laboratory, CERM has been involved in many EC-funded projects: it currently provides transnational access through Bio-NMR and EAST-NMR, is organizing an e-infrastructure for biomolecular structure calculation (e-NMR, WeNMR), and is involved in the definition of strategies to maximize the benefits of research infrastructures for economic development (EPISODE).


Previous experience

CERM has a well-established expertise in metabolomics and in its applications in medicine and pharmacology. It has developed standardized protocols for handling biological fluids and their extraction from tissues and cells, and has developed innovative software for data handling and multivariate statistical analysis. It is a partner of the SPIDIA project aimed at the standardization and improvement of pre-analytical tools and procedures for in vitro diagnostics, and of the newly funded EC project CHANCE, where it has a role in the investigation of the metabolic profiles of individuals following a poor diet. CERM has a long tradition of expertise in the characterization through NMR of the structure and dynamics of proteins in solution as well as in the solid state. It also has extensive experience in the development of new computational and experimental high-throughput screening methods and drug candidate optimization, as well as in the application of the abovementioned methodologies to selected disease targets. Furthermore, CERM has significant IT experience. It has been a core partner in the e-NMR e-Infrastructure project and it is now a core partner in the new We-NMR project. It runs the bioinformatics section of a European Biobank (da Vinci European Biobank), where various biological samples are stored in agreement with European standard procedures (SOP). Finally, it has a long- standing expertise in bioinformatic analysis of genome sequences, and in the development of databases.


Profile of staff members

Prof. Ivano Bertini (Director of CIRMMP), Director of CERM has published over 600 articles, features nearly 200 entries in PDB, and consistently has ca. 1000 citations per year. He has received a variety of honors and awards, notably three Lauree Honoris Causa (U. of Stockholm, U. of Ioannina, U. of Siena). He has been a member of the Academia Europaea since 1994, and of the Academia Nazionale dei Lincei since 2000. Prof. Claudio Luchinat has more than 450 publications, and four books on NMR and relaxation. He is an expert of biophysics and metabolomics. Prof. Paola Turano is an NMR expert of metalloproteins and of metabolomics. Other scientific staff members involved in the project are: C. Andreini, L. Tenori and S. Cacciatore.



Center for Magnetic Resonance



Recent publications relevant to the project

1. Banci, L., Bertini, I., Ciofi-Baffoni, S., Kozyreva, T., Zovo, K., and Palumaa, P., Affinity gradients drive copper to cellular destinations, Nature, 465, 645-648, 2010 (IF 31.434).


2. Andreini, C., Bertini, I., and Rosato, A., Metalloproteomes: a bioinformatic approach. Acc.Chem.Res., 42, 1471-1479, 2009 (IF 12.176).


3. Bertini, I., Calabro, A., De carli, V., Luchinat, C., Nepi, S., Porfirio, B., Renzi, D., Saccenti, E., and Tenori, L., The metabonomic signature of celiac disease. J.Proteome Res., 8, 170-177, 2009 (IF 5.684).


4. Assfalg, M., Bertini, I., Colangiuli, D., Luchinat, C., Schaefer, H., Schuetz, B., and Spraul, M., Evidence of different metabolic phenotypes in humans, Proc.Natl.Acad.Sci.USA, 105, 1420-1424, 2008 (IF 9.598).


5. Claudino, W. M., Quattrone, A., Biganzoli, L., Pestrin, M., Bertini, I., and Di Leo, A., Metabolomics: available results, current research projects in breast cancer and future applications, J.Clin.Oncol., 25, 2840-2846, 2007 (IF 11.810).