B.A., Wellesley College; Ph.D., Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Nancy Harrison KolodnyNellie Zuckerman Cohen and Anne Cohen Heller Professor Emerita of Health Sciences; Professor Emerita of Chemistry
Authority on nuclear magnetic resonance and its application to problems in medicine and biology.
My research involves the application of multinuclear Magnetic Resonance (MR) spectroscopy and imaging to problems in biology and medicine. MR spectroscopy and imaging are extremely sensitive to the physical environment of nuclei such as protons, nitrogen, sodium or phosphorus. MR spectroscopy enables us to study the structures of complex biological molecules in solution, the concentration of neural metabolites in the brain, or the phosphate metabolism of organisms. MR imaging (MRI) is based on the behavior of water protons in animals or humans and enables us to perform static or dynamic studies of these organisms. All of my projects are collaborative, with faculty members in chemistry, biological sciences and neuroscience at Wellesley and elsewhere, and all involve students in hands-on research. Our magnetic resonance studies are carried out at the NMR/micro-MRI Facility at Wellesley College.
In addition to advanced seminar courses on applications of magnetic resonance, I have taught Intensive Introductory Chemistry, Physical Chemistry, and an interdisciplinary course (now a First Year Seminar) called “The Nuclear Challenge.” This last course examines the development of nuclear weapons and the treaties limiting them, as well as the ongoing danger of nuclear terrorism. It investigates peaceful uses of nuclear energy for the generation of electricity and for medical diagnosis and treatment, as well as the waste disposal problems that result from these uses.
Formerly Chair of the Chemistry Department, I have served as Dean of the College (1992-1999) and on most of the major committees. I was Co-Director of the Computer Literacy Project (1976–1982), Faculty Director of the Science Center (1974–1976 and 2002–2003), and Dean of the Class of 1976 (1972–1974).
I enjoy spending time with my family in the U.S. and Israel. I have been active in the Greater Boston Jewish Community, serving as President of the Corporation of the Solomon Schechter Day School of Greater Boston, President of Congregation Shaarei Tefillah of Newton, MA, was a founding board member of the New Jewish High School of Greater Boston (Gann Academy), and as a member of the Board of the Rabbi Joseph B. Soloveitchik Institute.