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Grant to help build knowledge in North

By Leanne Miles

Dr Martin Boland said that having the equipment based in Northern Australia would allow local investigation of natural medicines in a culturally appropriate manner Dr Martin Boland said that having the equipment based in Northern Australia would allow local investigation of natural medicines in a culturally appropriate manner

Charles Darwin University will soon have access to a new teaching and research instrument that could potentially assist in the design of new pharmaceuticals.

CDU, in collaboration with James Cook University, has secured an Australian Research Council Linkage – Infrastructure Grant, which will provide CDU with a Nuclear Magnetic Resonance (NMR) spectroscopy instrument.

CDU Medicinal and Pharmaceutical Chemistry lecturer Dr Martin Boland said that Nuclear Magnetic Resonance Spectroscopy worked on the same principle as MRI body scanners.

“It allows us to analyse anything from plants to fish to find out more about the organic, inorganic and biological compounds,” Dr Boland said.

“Once we have a better understanding of what the samples contain, we can then begin to characterise the compounds and their potential uses.”

Dr Boland said that having the equipment based in Northern Australia would allow local investigation of natural medicines in a culturally appropriate manner.

“The ability to locally acquire, process and analyse samples will give local researchers more control over the samples and the analysis conducted, particularly where there are cultural sensitivities when using Indigenous knowledge,” Dr Boland said.

“Removing the need for transport will also ensure that any potentially unstable molecules are able to be accurately identified.”

CDU also signed a Memorandum of Understanding with James Cook University that will give CDU researchers access to another more powerful machine.

“The purchase of a state-of-the-art instrument at James Cook University and a lower resolution instrument at CDU are required to support productive existing research projects, and nurture future projects, in organometallic chemistry,” Dr Boland said.

“This is a great collaboration between Australia’s two most northerly universities. When complex molecules need to be analysed at a higher resolution, arrangements have been made with JCU to send samples to Townsville to relieve much of the concern around degradation.”

Dr Boland said that a number of research programs at CDU depended on routine and also state-of-the-art NMR facilities.

The NMRS machine is valued at $100,000 and will be delivered to CDU mid-year.