Pharmacy School to Acquire New Drug Discovery Tools

Meghan Ross, Associate Editor

The University of Mississippi School of Pharmacy will be installing 3 new nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) spectrometers that aid in drug discovery.

The University of Mississippi School of Pharmacy will be installing 3 new nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) spectrometers that aid in drug discovery.

NMR spectroscopy analyzes the chemical and physical properties of molecules, and it is often useful in fragment-based drug discovery, specifically. The pharmacy school anticipates that the new machines will help researchers gather better quality data in a shorter amount of time. After the 3 NMR spectrometers are installed, the school will have 8 machines in total.

“NMRs are an integral part of the drug-discovery process,” said Charles Hufford, retiring associate dean for research and graduate programs, in a school press release. “They are absolutely essential for the research that we do.”

The cost of the new machines and some upgrades to existing machines totaled about $1.5 million in federal funds, which were approved as part of a recent reconstruction project of a research center under a grant from the US Department of Health and Human Services.

The NMR spectrometers require liquid nitrogen and helium to keep superconducting magnets operating properly, Hufford said in a press release.

“The new instruments will help greatly with time and cost of maintenance due to their longer hold times for both nitrogen and helium,” said Frank Wiggers, principal research and development spectroscopist, in a press release. “The new software, through automation, will also remove some of the user error. This will give the researchers better quality data in a shorter time frame.”