Mass Spectrometry (MS) is one of the key analytical methods used to identify and characterize small quantities of biological molecules embedded in complex matrices. Although MS has found widespread use, improvements are still needed to extend its application to the grand challenges of this century.
Since starting my position at Georgia Tech in 2004, my group members and I have used an integrated strategy with roots in bioanalytical chemistry, instrumentation development, bioinformatics, and theoretical modeling to focus on questions of great societal and scientific significance. To this purpose, we have integrated with cross-cutting teams devoted to problems that range from explaining the origins of life on Earth and diagnosing cancer at an early stage, to tracking the sources and prevalence of counterfeit pharmaceuticals worldwide. The common theme along these questions is the need for highly accurate tools for quantifying, identifying, and imaging trace chemicals in complex mixtures.
Research in our lab uses state-of-the-art mass spectrometry, ion mobility gas-phase separations, ultrahigh performance liquid chromatography, and new soft ion generation techniques. We investigate the obtained data using machine learning and other powerful bioinformatic approaches. Our group is very dynamic, and each student pursues more than one project at a time, usually in collaboration with other group members or with other research groups at GT or elsewhere. Graduate and undergraduate students are trained in a variety of bioanalytical instrumentation/methodologies, with an emphasis on the fundamentals. We are analytical mass spectrometrists’ at heart, and strive to answer “big” scientific questions or questions with a large societal impact.
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