News Medical's "Thought Leaders" series is a selection of articles written by national and
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written by experts who have been invited as recognised leaders in their fields to provide
a "state of the art" contribution.
In this interview, Tim Cross, Director of the NMR and MRI programs at the National High Magnetic Field Lab (NHMFL) in Tallahassee, Florida, talks about his research into protein structures in viruses and bacteria, and how the findings will affect medical research into disease prevention.
My research these days is generally classified as structural biology, although as I trained in chemistry. I specialize in nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) applied to biological problems. Our lab is very interested in studying mammalian proteins, particularly systems involved in cancer, in order to try to understand mechanisms to provide that information for our collaborators, and for the general knowledge of the community as well.
The biological mesoscale range includes biological structures that range from 10 to 100 nanometers (billionths of a meter). Structures in this size range include viruses, cellular organelles, large molecular complexes, and any other internal cellular environments within that range.
The most common form of diabetes is sometimes referred to as metabolic diabetes, which is the diabetes most people are very familiar with, type 2 diabetes. This form of diabetes is most prevalent in people that are overweight or obese. Historically, it has been confined to adults or older patients but it has been on the rise as the global obesity problem has continued to worsen.
Can you give us a brief overview of the work you presented at ENC 2014 (Experimental Nuclear Magnetic Resonance Conference)?
DNP, or dynamic nuclear polarization, is an NMR technique which transfers polarization from the electron spins onto the nuclear spins, using constant microwave irradiation to enable the transfer.
The Phenome Center developed out of the Olympic drug testing facility, and we've adapted it so that we use NMR spectrometry, which we have three spectrometers, and mass spectrometry, to take blood and urine from hundreds and thousands of people and profile them to get a biochemical fingerprint of every person.
Molecular imaging aims at the visualization of molecules or molecular events that occur at the cellular level. Clearly it also allows the possibility of looking inside the biochemical pathway at the cellular level and therefore enables us to look at the onset of diseases well before they are resolved into structural change.
These particles are all classed as inorganic particles, which can all be utilised in biomedical applications. They differ in terms of their inherent material and size dependent physiochemical properties, for example, their optical and magnetic properties.
Nanogels are synthetic particles that can be used for drug delivery. They are approximately 100 nm to 200 nm in diameter, and are made from safe, biocompatible materials: a gel-like interior and a lipid exterior.
Gold nanoparticles are tiny spherical particles made out of gold atoms with sizes on nanometre scale. This is around 1,000 times smaller than the thickness of human hair.
This is a new research centre led by the University of Limerick that supports the pharmaceutical sector in Ireland. The centre will carry out research on the key aspects of what it takes to synthesise the pharmaceutically active molecule to isolate a pure material and to formulate this into a medicine.
The reason Children’s Medical Research Institute (CMRI) exists is to find ways to treat or prevent childhood disease. Our research programs are focussed on the areas of cancer cell growth, nerve cell signalling, embryology and gene therapy. These four programs have a shared aim of translating novel findings into new treatments for the benefit of families everywhere.
Automated DNA synthesis has been around for almost three decades. The key difference between the established methodology for making oligodeoxynucleotides (short stretches of single-stranded DNA) and our method is the template strand.