Griffin Appointed to the Arthur Amos Noyes Professorship

Danielle Randall
August 31, 2017

The School of Science has named Professor Robert Guy Griffin the Arthur Amos Noyes Professor of Chemistry. A Professor of Chemistry at MIT from 1887-1888 and 1890-1920, Arthur Amos Noyes founded the Research Laboratory of Physical Chemistry in 1903, and directed it for 17 years. He served as the acting president of MIT from 1907-1909. Alongside Willis Rodney Whitney, he formulated the Noyes-Whitney equation, which relates the rate of dissolution of solids to the properties of the solid and the dissolution medium, in 1897. Noyes was devoted to the idea that students should learn the principles of science by solving problems. His research interests focused on the nature of the solutions of electrolytes.

Professor Griffin received his B.S. in 1964 from the University of Arkansas, and his Ph.D. from Washington University, St. Louis, MO, in 1969. He has been at the Francis Bitter Magnet Laboratory since 1972 and a faculty member in the Department of Chemistry since 1989.

A large portion of the Griffin Lab's research is focused on the development of new magnetic resonance techniques to study molecular structure and dynamics.  The motivation behind this research is the possibility to obtain large nuclear spin polarizations, and therefore increased NMR signal intensities.  The second major focus of Griffin's research is the application of the magnetic resonance techniques described above to interesting chemical, biophysical, and physical problems. They currently employ MAS NMR experiments to investigate the structure of large enzyme/inhibitor complexes, membrane proteins and amyloid peptide and proteins.

Recent results that have emerged from Professor Griffin’s lab include atomic resolution structures of a critical part of the M2 protein from influenza-A and fibrils of AB1-42, the toxic species in Alzheimer’s disease.