Lab Product News

New health research facility houses sensitive MNR equipment

Halifax, NS – A new Biomolecular Magnetic Resonance Facility (BMRF) at the National Research Council Institute for Marine Biosciences (NRC-IMB) opened this week. It houses the world’s most sensitive magnetic resonance equipment for small samples, allowing universities, health-care providers, and private industry to cooperate on research.

The BMRF is located in a newly renovated, 2,500 sq-ft research space and houses the high-sensitivity solution-state magnetic resonance spectrometer, a new 700 MHz Bruker Avance III. Given the extreme sensitivity of the instrument, the laboratory was constructed above a layer of solid bedrock to minimize external interference and vibration that could negatively affect results. The new spectrometer is also outfitted with two cryoprobes and an automated sample changing system, which complements an existing Bruker Avance 500 MHz instrument.

These instruments will allow researchers to investigate molecular and drug interactions that were previously thought impossible to clearly identify. The fine details of these interactions will help guide rational drug design, in which drugs are developed based on specific knowledge of their chemical behaviour in the target organism.

New magnetic resonance-based approaches to diagnosis, and understanding of mechanisms of disease, drug and environmental effects on target organisms, will also be developed using innovative profiling techniques that have the potential to reveal important information from biofluids such as blood or urine and tissues.

The equipment will also determine the chemical structures of natural products and help regional industries improve their presence on world markets by establishing the composition, active ingredients and product consistency of complex substances such as functional foods, nutraceuticals and extracts produced from marine and plant material.

The new facility is part of a magnetic resonance research network represents three highly collaborative regional research facilities in Halifax, with specific expertise and capabilities in a variety of fields related to magnetic resonance. By aligning the regional NRC-based magnetic resonance technologies at the National Research Council Institute for Marine Biosciences (NRC-IMB) and the National Research Council Institute for Biodiagnostics (NRC-IBD) towards a common goal, NRC says it is now positioned to further enhance the support it provides to industry and the research community.

– Neuroimaging Research Laboratory (NRL) at the NRC Institute for Biodiagnostics (NRC-IBD) in Winnipeg.This collaborative lab includes a high-field 4-Tesla (T) magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) system, which is fully equipped for high-resolution anatomical, functional, and spectroscopic imaging. The lab also incorporates electroencephalographic (EEG) technology and transcranial magnetic stimulator (TMS) for multimodal rapid imaging capability.

– Biomedical MRI Research Laboratory (BMRL) is located in the Izaak Walton Killam (IWK) Hospital in Halifax. This multi-user lab hosts a 7T vertical bore magnet for micro imaging studies and a 3T horizontal bore magnet for small animal MRI. The lab is equipped for a wide array of MRI studies, including drug development and delivery, and cellular/molecular imaging.

– Biomolecular Magnetic Resonance Facility is the newest laboratory in the network. The facility is located at NRC-IMB in Halifax and houses a high-resolution 16.4 T (700 MHz 1H frequency) MR spectrometer with two cryoprobes and an automated 510 position cooled sample changer. It is also home to a high-resolution 11.7 T (500 MHz 1H frequency) MR spectrometer with low temperature and broadband detection capability and a high-resolution magic angle spinning (HRMAS) probe for enhanced spectra of tissues and semi-solids. This laboratory is equipped to conduct analyses of a wide range of complex materials to find chemical composition, active ingredients, molecular and drug interactions, and to monitor product quality and consistency.