#PhDaily Day 13+14 26-27/08/2015

Hi everyone!

Same routine for the past two days, in before 9.30, lunch at 1, home at 5! Still been processing data, and also getting my head around some concepts still. So not much to tell!

So what is NMR?

I realised I have been talking about NMR, but haven’t really explained actually what it is. NMR stands for Nuclear Magnetic Resonance, although the abbreviation is commonly used as a term for the spectroscopy that is done using NMR (if that makes sense – Nuclear Magnetic Resonance is a physical phenomenon, and it is used as a form of spectroscopy).

It is a fairly difficult and heavy concept, so as an opening one-line explanation, it is essentially similar to an MRI scanner, like the ones used in hospitals to scan inside peoples bodies. Except NMR (as a technique) is used to look at the individual atoms in molecules, instead of into bodies!

Going into slightly more detail, the phenomenon of NMR is where the nuclei (centre) of atoms (think of water or H2O, which contains 2 hydrogen and 1 oxygen atoms per molecule) exposed to a magnetic field, absorb then re-emit electromagnetic (EM) radiation. Using isotopes (different versions) of certain elements, usually hydrogen, carbon and nitrogen (due to their presence as primary components of biological molecules), this absorption and re-emission of EM radiation can be measured. Through both complex experiments and data processing, this allows for the determination of the position of each specific amino acid in a protein sequence.

Why should you care?

Huge leaps in medicine have been made through knowing the structure of proteins. As they are one of the major macromolecules that make up our bodies, they are involved, in some way, in the majority of human diseases! And even when the disease is called by an external factor such as a bacteria or virus, knowing the structure of proteins involved in crucial processes in them has provided insights into drugs which can be used against them, to cure people!

That is my attempt at basically explaining what NMR is and what it is used for!

I am on holiday tomorrow, then it is a public holiday here in England on Monday, so i will not be posting again until Tuesday now.

Thanks for reading, and enjoy your weekend!

Microbe Stew


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