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The University of Southampton
Biological Sciences

New grant to fund innovative NMR methods to study nitrogen-14

Published: 22 June 2015

Biological scientist Dr Phil Williamson and chemists Dr Ilya Kuprov and Dr Marina Carravetta are leading for the University of Southampton on a £600,000 three year grant from the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC). The award will finance interdisciplinary work bringing together quantum simulations with novel nitrogen-14 NMR nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) methods to study biomolecules.

“Nitrogen is one of the most abundant atoms in biomolecular systems, but the naturally occuring isotope, nitrogen-14 has to date proved challenging to study by NMR,” explains Phil. “In one example that demonstrates the potential for these new technologies, we are combining Southampton’s sophisticated NMR equipment with scientific techniques from basic physics to structural biology to examine amyloid deposits such as those evident in patients with Alzheimer’s disease.”

Another innovative collaboration with academics at the University of Quebec and Montreal will use these new NMR methods to find out how the structure of a specific protein enables mussels to cling on to rocks at sea; trying to understand nature’s secrets to develop flexible yet strong biomaterials.


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