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  • SCIEX UPLC/QTOF mass spectrometer

    New mass spectrometer to replace aging equipment

A new state-of-the art mass spectrometer will soon replace an old and failing piece of equipment in the Department of Chemistry's Mass Spectometry Laboratory (MSL). Funding for the new mass spectrometer was included in the Office of the Vice President for Research's 2020 Research Infrastructure Investment Program awards. On behalf of the Department of Chemistry, MSL Director Joseph Dalluge, Ph.D., spearheaded the award request. Matching funds for the new spectrometry will be provided by the Medical School, College of Pharmacy, and College of Science & Engineering.

The SCIEX Ultraperformance Liquid Chromatograph-Quadrupole Time-of-Flight (UPLC/QTOF) mass spectrometer will replace a 21-year-old, failing electrospray/time-of-flight mass spectrometer employed by 315 users from the University of Minnesota, other colleges and universities, and corporations. This platform will expand the capabilities of the MSL and the entire University for the detailed structural characterization of a wide range of chemical species from small molecules and therapeutic agents, to proteins and synthetic polymers. The combination of high-resolution, high-speed, high-sensitivity, and high mass accuracy UPLC/MS analysis with tandem mass spectrometry (MS/MS) capability will provide structure confirmation, compound identification, compound screening, and protein mass confirmation on an open-access platform to externally funded principal investigators representing more than five departments, four colleges, Medical School, and three interdisciplinary centers at the University of Minnesota. Additional researchers will be recruited assuring long-term maximum usage and impact of the proposed instrument in advancing research at the University of Minnesota and beyond. The requested platform will foster interdisciplinary and intercollegiate collaboration that promises to advance our understanding of the chemical mechanisms of disease, accelerate development of next-generation therapeutic, diagnostic, and environmental agents, and lead the way to accelerate the design, synthesis, and characterization of new materials.

"For more than 25 years, the Department of Chemistry Mass Spectrometry Laboratory has been the leading laboratory at the University of Minnesota (and beyond) in providing accurate mass MS and UPLC/MS analyses as a core capability," said Dalluge. "As the MSL’s 21-year-old platform for high resolution accurate mass analysis (the Bruker BioTOF II) has become increasingly unreliable, expensive to maintain, and unsupported by the instrument vendor, this capability was in danger of being discontinued. The new Sciex X500 UPLC/QTOF-MS procured with this award will not only act as an eventual replacement to the BioTOF ESI instrument for open-access accurate mass measurements, but will offer new and exciting capabilities to support a variety of collaborative research projects."

The new mass spectrometer will go online once training is completed and standard operating procedures for its use developed.

The University of Minnesota’s Office of the Vice President for Research's Research Infrastructure Investment Program awards funding to projects supporting transdisciplinary research and collaboration across the U’s colleges and campuses. Nearly $2.3 million was awarded to 12 research projects, reaching 12 departments, units, and centers, six colleges, and two campuses. Supporting colleges or centers provide one-to-one matching funds for each award. Including matching funds, more than $6.5 million in total funds were awarded this year. Awards support research infrastructure, facilities, and support services over a variety of University research areas.