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AB SCIEX and University of Wollongong Collaborate

Published: Thursday, September 20, 2012
Last Updated: Thursday, September 20, 2012
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Parties announce a research partnership to develop lipid analysis capabilities, including the most definitive and comprehensive identification of double bond position in lipids.

This collaboration is part of AB SCIEX's new Academic Partnership Program, which helps support academic researchers to push the limits of biomedical research.

The agreement provides AB SCIEX, a global leader in life science analytical technologies, with an exclusive license to UOW's "OzID" intellectual property, a patented technology which allows scientists to understand lipid structure faster and with better granularity than currently available alternatives.

Funded by an ARC Linkage Project grant, the research plan will see a multi-disciplinary UOW research team working with AB SCIEX to develop a standardized procedure for determining double bond position in lipids. This will include exploring lipid functions within the human body, such as energy storage, cell membrane structure and hormone signaling.

"Altered lipid metabolism has been linked to such global health concerns as obesity, type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease and various cancers," explained Principal Investigator, Dr Todd Mitchell from UOW's School of Health Sciences.  "Recent advances in mass spectrometry have spawned the field of lipidomics which, together with proteomics, metabolomics and genomics, focuses on the systematic study of complex interactions in biological systems."

"Ozone induced dissociation, or OzID, first harnesses the power of mass spectrometry to separate one lipid compound out of literally hundreds on the basis of mass, and then uses ozone like a pair of scissors to cut the molecule at a particular position, namely a double bond," says Principal Investigator, Associate Professor Stephen Blanksby from UOW's School of Chemistry.  "This allows an unambiguous assignment of the compound structure and, importantly, differentiates molecules that vary only by the position of their double bonds."

"Learning more about the molecular distribution of lipids in complex biological samples may provide a greater understanding of lipid metabolism, its role in health and disease, and potential ways to prevent or manage diseases," added Dr. Blanksby, who will be presenting results of his work with OzID at the IMSC conference this week.

Ron Bonner, Principal Scientist at AB SCIEX and sponsor of the AB SCIEX Academic Partnership Program, said, "Lipid research is a fast-growing area in need of new breakthroughs to advance the impact that lipidomics can have on biological studies.  We see a great opportunity of applying cutting-edge intellectual property by working with the forward-thinking researchers at the University of Wollongong to take innovative ideas such as OzID from the idea phase to market.  This is the benefit of academics working with industry leaders such as AB SCIEX."

AB SCIEX is partnering with academic researchers, including up-and-coming scientists, to lower the barriers to advancements and breakthroughs in medicine and the advanced study of biology.  The new wave of biological studies known as "network biology" and the -omics fields require advanced scientific techniques and powerful technologies.  The Academic Partnership Program is designed to provide access to technical expertise and support in mass spectrometry and chromatography.

The agreement was facilitated with the assistance of UniQuest Pty Limited, UniQuest Managing Director, David Henderson, said the license agreement highlighted the growing interest from international companies in the work of Australian university researchers addressing global health issues.

"Protecting the intellectual property and securing US patents helped to boost the value of the OzID technology for industry partners like AB SCIEX," Henderson said. "This joint development project is likely to draw more attention to the way Australian lab-based discoveries impact positively on emerging fields of science as well as translate into a better understanding of health and disease."

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