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2020 Günther Laukien Prize

Warren Warren, PhD (James B. Duke Distinguished Professor of Chemistry) has been awarded the 2020 Günther Laukien Prize for his contributions to nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy (NMR) and its cousin, magnetic resonance imaging (MRI).

MRI, which uses magnetic fields and radio waves to measure signals from spinning protons, has been used in medicine since the 1980s as a noninvasive way to create pictures of the inside of the body without using radiation like X-ray or CT scans do. One of the challenges in using this technique, however, is the difficulty to detect molecules that are fleeting or only present in trace amounts.

For the past five years, Warren has been developing simple, low-cost ways to boost magnetic resonance signals and solve this problem. And now, he is being recognized with one of the most prestigious prizes in the field.

The technique they developed, called X-SABRE, can create a 100,000-fold jump in signal strength with results that last for over an hour, for 1% of the cost of current methods.

Warren is one of three winners of the 2020 Laukien prize. This year’s other recipients are Simon Duckett of the University of York in England and Konstantin Ivanov of Novosibirsk State University in Russia.

They received the award on March 9 at the 61st Experimental Nuclear Magnetic Resonance Conference in Baltimore, Maryland.