Skip to main content

Word Wide NMR

Final Report Summary - WW-NMR (Word Wide NMR)

WW-NMR is a World Wide Nuclear Magnetic Resonance (NMR) initiative bringing together research groups and institutions specialised in all aspects of NMR spectroscopy in Europe with newly developed research groups in five other countries. It builds on several EU-funded infrastructure networks and will enable the creation of strategic and sustainable links between these European infrastructures with nine Partners from outside Europe.

All Partners share strong research programmes in core topics of NMR applications, using liquid state and solid state NMR spectroscopy, and metabolomics. The European sites have built laboratories with unique cutting edge instrumentation and have developed a broad range of methods in the field of NMR. Though other EU-funded initiatives, we have now built the world's strongest distributed and cohesive continental NMR infrastructure, linked by shared technology, expertise, training and research excellence. The WW-NMR consortium is therefore in an excellent position to build mutually beneficial relationships with global partners, which have entered into NMR driven research more recently.

The scientific activities pursued in WW-NMR are centred around these key areas of expertise, sharing scientific developments in the context of staff exchanges and workshops. In this context WW-NMR provides access to high field instrumentation and advanced computational resources in order to build international collaborations. WW-NMR supports staff visits to key facilities in Europe and reciprocal visits from European researchers in Partner countries to share expertise in NMR and to develop joint scientific projects.

The key milestones in the project include:
> Increasing awareness among researchers worldwide of the potentials of NMR spectroscopy in all areas of Life Sciences.
> Building of joint collaborative projects for liquid-state and solid-state NMR investigations by providing access to NMR instrumentation, focussed on investigations of a panel of drug targets.
> Training in the field of metabolomics research. Building a world-wide agenda for the role of metabolomics in diagnosis, predictive and individualised medicine supporting human health programmes and in fundamental research in the context of a mechanistic systems biology view to cellular function.

The website detailing the project is available at http://http/beregond.bham.ac.uk/wwnmr/World_Wide_-_NMR/Home.html

Work Performed since the beginning of the project.

Since the start of the project, more than 40 months of secondments have been carried out. In addition, workshops have also been held in Beijing, China, Hyperbad, India, and Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.

The first workshop to be held was in Beijing, and covered the subject “Recent Advances in NMR Methods”. This was attended by representatives of 13 of the WW-NMR partners, as well as approximately 200 members from Asian Biophysics laboratories.

A second workshop with a broader focus was held in Hyberbad, organised by WW-NMR member Prof. Chary based at TIFR in Mumbai. This workshop gave an in-depth review of the current field status and on determining new directions and cutting edge technology in NMR.

The third workshop was held in Rio de Janeiro on the19th May 2014, organised by CNRMN and focused on metabolomics.

Description of the main results achieved so far.
UBham have sent senior staff members Prof. Guenther, and Prof Overduin on secondments to WIPM, China, TIFR, India, ABTLuS, Brazil, and CSIR, South Africa to establish collaborative links with the institutions there. Dr. Whittaker undertook transfer of knowledge activities at ABTLuS, to share experience and knowledge in the latest NMR technologies. This exchange also included the study of protein (Citrus cyclophilin) interactions though the implementation of relaxation dispersion methods at ABTLuS. Researchers from ABTLUS, IBR, and WIPM undertook Metabolomics research, receiving training in the use of the latest NMR spectrometers, NMR analysis software (NMRlab) as well as training in data collection techniques.

BMRZ have undertaken exchange visits with USTC and CNRMN to build collaborative links with these institutions.

Scientific exchanges of staff include the work between CIRMMP at the University of Florence, and the researchers at both the Tata Institute of Fundamental Research (TIFR), in India, and at the Institute of Molecular and Cell Biology of Rosario, Argentina. These exchanges resulted in the development of protocols for the structure and dynamic characterisation of protein molecules through paramagnetism-assisted NMR. This work has already resulted in 12 publications.

The Utrecht NMR facility (SONNMR) coordinates the e-infrastructure for NMR biocomputing, WeNMR (www.wenmr.eu). A prime activity at the Utrecht NMR facility is the development of software for docking biomolecular complexes, Haddock. Via hands-on workshops in Asia, India and South-America, wiki-materials and visits to Utrecht students and researchers have been trained in computational docking and using the Haddock software. WeNMR is a fast growing e-infrastructure community at the frontline of biomedical research. Its growth promotes increased and better usage of computational facilities in life science research. This assists the search of molecules and drug development to defeat disease. As a result of interactions between partners in the project, 50 individual users from the Third Country Partners of WW-NMR are now registered with the Haddock Web server, hosted and run by the Utrecht NMR Center for Biomolecular NMR Spectroscopy. Several online user manuals for the Haddock web server are also available.

Researchers from CNRS-CRMN have worked with the researchers from CNRMN to determine protein structures using the recently introduced J-UNIO protocals for automated NMR data analysis. In addition, CNRS-CRMN granted access to their Unique 1GHz NMR spectrometer to researchers from WIPM undertaking work exploring the Human urinary metabolome.

In the field of Metabolomics, both the UBham and CNRS-CRMN have carried out staff exchanges with the Wuhan Centre of Magnetic Resonance (WCNR, China). In the exchange with the University of Birmingham, Wuhan staff received training in the use of NMR analysis software (NMRlab), developed by University of Birmingham staff, as well as training in data collection techniques by NMR, with the aim of developing new analytical tests for inflammatory bowel diseases. In addition, the visits between CRMN and WCNR have allowed the scientists from WCNR to access the 1GHz spectrometer currently running at CRMN.

Expected final results and their potential impact and use.
The expected outcome of WW-NMR is to build new collaborations between European and Third Country Partners, in order to strengthen NMR-based research. This is of significant importance for Europe as the research leaders in Third Country laboratories have often been trained in European or United States groups, but have now started to develop their own research facilities and programmes. For European science, it is important to link with progress in other parts of the world. This is well achieved by exchanging staff members and by holding joint scientific workshops. For the European Partners this adds a level of international visibility and strength that could not be achieved otherwise.