Two Canadian biophysicists have broken new ground in the innovative use of internet technology for scientific research. University of Lethbridge Physics professor David Siminovitch and National Research Council (NRC) researcher Dr. Harold Jarrell have, for the first time, successfully tested remote operation of an NRC nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) spectrometer. From his laboratory at the U of L, Siminovitch ran NMR experiments on a unique, state-of-the-art NMR spectrometer at NRC's Institute for Biological Sciences in Ottawa. Among the projects Siminovitch is working on with a long-distance colleague is an area of breast cancer research which focuses on a particular type of receptor protein.
"This is a first for the U of L, and a first for NRC," Siminovitch said recently. " To use this state-of-the-art equipment from my own lab here on campus means that I can save time and money. I can also have resources available to me that you don't find at Universities our size. This means that our students will have an opportunity to learn and develop leading-edge NMR techniques using state-of-the-art instrumentation."
Just as astronomers use telescopes to examine the large-scale structure of the universe, condensed matter physicists use "spectroscopic" microscopes such as NMR spectroscopy to study the structure of matter on a molecular scale. Siminovitch, a biophysicist who uses NMR spectroscopy to study bio-molecular structure and dynamics, has a particular interest in the function of proteins and peptides in cell membranes.
Siminovitch said progress in his research program has been slowed by the limitations of his own
"home-built" NMR spectrometer. Now that he will have "remote" access to the NRC spectrometer, with all
of its enhanced capabilities, he expects to be able to tackle much harder and more interesting
research problems. In particular, he will take advantage of remote NMR facilities to advance his
Contact: Sandra Crossfield
National Research Council of Canada