Molecular research has taken a major step forward with Griffith University’s Eskitis Institute for Drug Discovery the hub of a nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) regional network for South-East Queensland and Northern New South Wales.
“With an emphasis on drug discovery, synthetic chemistry, supramolecular chemistry, polymer science and plant science, the NMR network will support collaborative cutting-edge research across the region,” says the Director of Eskitis, Professor Ronald Quinn.
“This is exciting and important news for small molecule chemistry research.”
NMR spectroscopy is a technique used to study the structure of molecules, the interaction of various molecules and the composition of mixtures of molecules.
With numerous applications, it has become crucial to research seeking and advances in the areas of natural products chemistry, glycobiology and chemical, material and biomolecular sciences.
The new regional network features five universities–Griffith University, Queensland University of Technology (QUT), University of New England (UNE), University of the Sunshine Coast (USC) and Southern Cross University–and came about through a $2 million Australian Research Council (ARC) Linkage Infrastructure, Equipment and Facilities grant to support the purchase of high-field NMR infrastructure.
The ARC grant and support from the individual universities allowed the installation of a 600 MHz spectrometer at QUT, a 500 MHz spectrometer at UNE and a 400 MHz spectrometer at USC.
However, it is the recently completed installation at Eskitis of an ultra-high field 800 MHz spectrometer, complete with cold probe and auto-sampler changer, which is creating such anticipation regarding individual and collaborative research.
“The higher magnetic field strength allows for a more sensitive and more detailed analysis of extracts from natural products,” says Eskitis NMR manager Dr Wendy Loa.
“Here at Eskitis, as well as significantly upgrading our existing 500 MHz spectrometer, we have replaced our 600 MHz with a new 800 MHz spectrometer. In terms of magnetic field strength, it is one only four 800 MHz spectrometers with cryoprobe technology currently available in Australia.
“Furthermore, while universities have different research interests, everyone will have access to the NMR facility and that can only encourage scientific collaboration and thus expand the research capacity of Australian science, particularly in the field of drug discovery.”