Close Menu

Whitworth University Celebrates the Opening of the Crystallography Center

April 24, 2019
Whitworth is proud to announce the opening of the university’s crystallography center in Robinson Science Hall.

This is the first integrative applied crystallography center in the Spokane area, open to faculty and students of small colleges and universities supporting undergraduate research activities.

Funding for the center was made possible through a $325,000 grant from the National Science Foundation (NSF) and a $122,000 grant from the Health Sciences and Services Authority of Spokane County (HSSA).

Whitworth’s Hugh W. Johnston Professor of Chemistry Kraig Wheeler spearheaded the establishment of the center and was joined by professors from Gonzaga and Eastern Washington universities as well as Washington State University Spokane in applying for the NSF grant. Students and faculty from those institutions will be using the single-crystal X-ray diffractometer located inside the center free of charge. Wheeler says he hopes the center will also be used by faculty and undergraduate students from across the country.

“The tangibles are huge for students,” Wheeler says. “This equipment is not typically available to undergraduates across the country. They have no idea what it means for them. But, they will in time. It’s an opportunity to explore areas they’ve never dreamt of.”

The X-ray diffractometer is currently helping chemists and scientists determine how molecules recognize one another and is already being used for the purposes of drug delivery and to determine how viruses bind cells and cause infection. Scientists hope it may one day be able to assist doctors in such efforts as curing the common cold.

Whitworth invites the community to tour the new crystallography center. An open house will be held Thursday, April 25, from 4-6 p.m. in Robinson Science Hall, Room 240.

Located in Spokane, Wash., Whitworth is a private liberal arts university affiliated with the Presbyterian church. The university, which has an enrollment of more than 3,000 students, offers more than 100 undergraduate and graduate degree programs.


Trisha Coder, media relations manager, Whitworth University, (509) 777-4703 or