Health Center’s new data processing center takes research in right direction


UConn Health is creating a new national data processing and analysis center with the addition of a nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy (NMR). This technology allows researchers and clinicians to analyze the structure of biological molecules. This can be used for diagnostics, drug discovery and metabolomics, according to UConn Health Center. 

However, this biochemical application is not new technology nor is it hard to come by as UConn’s Chemistry department also has it’s own NMR. So one would wonder why it took so long for our health center to acquire an NMR. The health center places a unique emphasis on research and especially now with UConn’s joint pharmaceutical venture with Yale University, an NMR machine would be invaluable to all research and clinical related efforts.

The ability to analyze organic compounds by structure can give way to the characteristics of these compounds as well as their function and reactions with other chemicals. This can be extremely useful in pharmaceutical ventures as drugs can be analyzed for predicted reactions before being tested. Or the technology can be used to determine what a compound is and its origin in the case of diagnostics. 

It is not the biochemical application itself as much as it is the data processing software that comes with a complex machine. The National Institute for General Medical Sciences, a branch of the National Institutes of Health (NIH) awarded Uconn Health Center $6.4 million grant for the software and its main feature the “NMRbox.” This will provide a cloud-based platform to allow collaboration between research facilities as well as allow U.S. investigators access to the files as well. This allows for researchers and clinicians across the country to work on projects together, allowing for the amalgamation of resources and technologies unique to each research center.

The prestige of hosting the server and software for a national data processing and analysis center opens a door to approaching the problems and pitfalls of research in conjunction. Research has often been an exclusive tract, especially in the sciences. The race to publish the most papers comes with the prize of attaining the most grants and funding for research. However, breaking down the competition to work together can ultimately help reach the end goal, one that is not tarnished by the asinine need to outdo one another.

The end goal is to ultimately reach success in the project that will inevitably help people, technology and the environment.

In short, though the emergence of an NMR machine at the UConn Health Center seems a bit delayed, the ultimate consequence of the arrival of that and the NMRbox software are steps needed to be taken in order to develop research and clinical medicine to its fullest potential.

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