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NMR Centre of excellence for research in biotechnology, pharmacy and the physics of matter

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National Institute of Chemistry with its partners: the Jozef Stefan Institute, Faculty of Chemistry and Chemical Technology of the University of Ljubljana, Krka, tovarna zdravil, d.d., Lek Pharmaceutical Company d.d., Betonal d.o.o., OptaCore d.o.o. and Jeklotehna TEHO d.o.o. formed a NMR centre of excellence for research in biotechnology, pharmacy and the physics of matter.

In the 2009-2013 period the Centre of excellence will focus its knowledge and efforts on two priority fields of research, namely health and science of life and advanced new synthetic metal and non-metal materials. The Consortium of applicants from scientific-research organizations and advanced technologically developed companies ensures a quality multidisciplinary group of researchers from the academic sphere and business sector joining the critical mass of knowledge and adequate research infrastructure and directing to new technology development in priority research fields.

Nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) is a spectroscopic method enabling the research of connections between the structure and sequence of bio-macro-molecules, dynamics and molecular recognition and as such it is the key to obtain insight into biological functions, chemical structure and the interaction between liquid and solid state and the nature of fundamental processes important to the production and development of pharmaceutical preparations and new advanced materials. This knowledge opens new opportunities in biotechnology and biomedicine that help to increase competitiveness, the development of innovative environment, progress in medicine and generate increased added value.

The development and characterisation of new materials are in accordance with the global trends of transition to Hydrogen energy and low-carbon society. Research work is focused on the development of energy efficient products and horizontal objectives of promoting energy efficient economy with the stress on sustainable development.

In 2000, the National NMR centre was the first in Slovenia to become the centre of excellence. This title proved its quality and recognition in a richer and strongly competitive European scientific-research space. This achievement of the NMR Centre relies on close connections with highly developed economic partners in Slovenia including pharmaceutical companies and the chemical industry.

The strategic goals of partners contain deepening of cooperation under 16 development -research projects and better use of the NMR centre capacity and further infrastructure development that will enable partners in academic institutions and industry to achieve the goals set.


By accumulating critical mass of knowledge the centre of excellence aims at the breakthrough and better penetration into international connections with a vision to continue and intensify the cooperation and thus contribute to research excellence, development of innovative environment, competitiveness and higher added value, the transfer of knowledge from research institutions to companies and to contribute to the attainment of objectives Slovenia has in priority fields in research and technological development.


One of the projects is »Structure and analysis of organic compounds using NMR spectroscopy« and includes the research of structure, dynamics, chemical balance and mechanisms of chemical reactions. The findings of the research provide relevant information on the nature and characteristics of organic molecules that are absolutely necessary when planning new products in various industries such as pharmaceutical, food, chemical and other.

Four new methods were introduced in the field of development and introduction of new methodologies and NMR techniques to characterize compounds in solution, namely the 19 1 determination of diffusion coefficient on fluorine, determination of F- H coupling in oriented 1 1 medium from the H- H NOESY spectrum, implementation of proton singlet spectra and the

measurement of diffusion coefficient on the basis of proton singlet spectra.

The project generated a patent application »Analysis of complex structural mixtures of quadruplexes«.

The product was three innovations: a method for determining the nature of organic molecules in only solution and in the presence of 19 1 19 detergents based on the measurement of the diffusion coefficient using F NMR spectroscopy, determining H- F coupling in 1 1 oriented medium on the basis of H- H NOESY NMR spectra and how T-quartets control the exchange of cations.

Twelve projects of structure studying were selected for Krka d.d., the partner company.

Four articles were written and published in internationally renowned journals with a high impact factor.

Within the project, cooperation with the Jub Company was established to research connections between the structure and properties of pastes. They placed attention to the study of difference between various pastes that relied on the search for differences in pigment spectra.

Studies were also carried out for the Melamin d.d. Copmany from Kočevje. The cooperation was focused on the development of modified melamine-formaldehyde resins that can be used in the construction business. These compounds turned out to be superplasticisers improving the properties of concrete, fresh and dry mortar and they are also used for the production of glues for ceramics, glass and other materials.

An important field of research-development activities under the project was the development of methods for studying and proving interactions between active ingredients and polymeric media. Under this part studies of interactions between macro molecule and the active substance in the solution were implemented for a partner company, Krka d.d. This relates to the study of interactions in solid state. In cooperation with the Faculties of Pharmacy of the University of Ljubljana and the University of Trieste a study of interactions was conducted that resulted in findings and methodology development to be used in structural studies in case of concrete development challenges with the partners, Krka and Lek companies.

One of important global scientific-technological projects of the future is the transition to low-carbon society where the CO2 emissions would reduce to minimum. CO is the final product of fossil fuel (oil, gas, coal) and in order to reach low-carbon society 2 fossil fuels need to be replaced by alternative sources. Promising alternative sources are solar energy, wind energy and electricity generated from fuel cells. Hydrogen and Oxygen react in fuel cells generating final products: water and electricity. Electricity propels an electric motor and water is harmlessly emitted into the environment as steam. The fuel cells are the base of the so called Hydrogen economy. Hydrogen energy is observed as an attractive option to prepare economy to the time after the fossil fuel period and to transition to low-carbon society. In the centre of excellence new materials are planned to develop that are in accordance with the global trends accompanying transition to Hydrogen energy and thus also to low-carbon society. The research activities of the centr are already directed into the development of energy efficient products and horizontal objectives to promote energy efficient economy and low-carbon society.


2. projekt
Government Office for Development and European Cohesion Policy, Kotnikova 5, 1000 Ljubljana

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