Prof. Peter Belton from University of East Anglia visited WIPM

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On March 21st, 2012, Prof. Peter Belton fromUniversity of East Anglia, had delivered an excellent report entitled NMR Studies of Soft Solids-Proteins and Sugar Glasses. Prof. Peter Belton was invited by Prof. Wang Yulan to visit our institute, who carried out an academic exchange for approximate two months.

In the report, Prof. Peter Belton described in detail that molecular motions of two saccharides, -L-rhamnopyranose monohydrate (Rha) and methyl -L-rhamnopyranoside (Me-Rha) in the crystalline and glassy states have been investigated using proton spin lattice relaxation time, T1 and T1, and transverse relaxation measurements over the temperature range 110-360 K. The results showed that, in all cases, threefold rotational motion of the methoxyl and methyl groups dominate their proton spin-lattice (T1 and T1) relaxation processes at low temperatures. In the crystalline solids the only other process observed to affect T1 was water rotation. In the glasses both water rotation and anisotropic rotation of whole sugar molecules was observed. Subsequently, lysozyme from bacteriophage T4 and human B-crystallin were used as exemplars for studying the response to hydration of the internal protein dynamics by means of solid state NMR relaxation and magic angle spinning exchange techniques. The most important result was a demonstration of a qualitatively different response to hydration of the internal dynamics in different frequency ranges. The amplitude of the fast (nanosecond time scale) motion gradually increases with increasing hydration, whereas that of the slow (microsecond time scale) motion increases only until the hydration level 0.2-0.3of water/g of protein and then shows almost no hydration dependence.

At the end of the report, Prof. Peter Belton carried out productive communication and discussion with research staff and students. Later, he visited the experimental platform of metabonomics, amazed by the development of our institute. And he hoped in-depth exchange.

Prof. Peter Belton graduated in chemistry from Chelsea College London, where he also obtained his PhD in 1972 for work on transport properties in liquids. His post-doctoral research was on NMR and was carried out at UEA with Prof. KJ Packer FRS.Current research activities are to understand the nature of the interactions of biopolymers, water and sugar glasses in pharmaceutical applications and the use of photothermal methods for analysis.

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