As part of the Ocean Medicines program, Jatro Kulani Mhlongo one of the IMBM PhD students went on a four month exchange to the University of Aberdeen (Marine Biodiscorvery centre) in Scotland. The main purpose of the exchange was to learn about purification and structure elucidation of natural products. A number of techniques and processes were presented during the course of the exchange program such as solid phase extraction (SPE), Liquid–liquid partitioning, Size exclusion liquid chromatography, reverse phase high pressure liquid column chromatography (HPLC), nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy (NMR), and High resolution mass spectroscopy (HRMS). Data processing software training such as the use of Mestrenova and Xcalibur for processing of NMR and HRMS data, which are essential for successful structural elucidation of organic compounds, was also provided. Kulani was further fortunate enough to attend two workshops on NMR for structural elucidation and HPLC for the purification of chiral compounds during his stay there.
Exchange programs such as these enable the transfer of expertise to the specific student, but also those in the laboratory involved with similar research back home. Having just returned in early January 2017, Kulani will now be in a good position to help those in IMBM working on related projects and to elucidate those ever elusive structures.