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Multimodal Imaging Mass Spectrometry: Advanced Technologies for Molecular Mapping of Biological Tissues

Cellular interactions within the tissue micro-environment form the basis of health and disease for all organisms. Exposure to nutrients, toxins, and neighboring cells trigger coordinated molecular responses that impact cellular function and metabolism in a beneficial, adaptive, or detrimental manner. Acquiring molecular information at cellular resolution is thus crucial for developing a comprehensive understanding of the biology in an organism. Matrix assisted laser desorption/ionization (MALD) imaging mass spectrometry (IMS) is an emerging technology capable of addressing this need by combining the spatial fidelity of classical microscopy with the molecular specificity of a mass spectrometer.

This presentation will highlight our work developing new, high-performance technologies for improving spatial resolution, sensitivity and specificity of MALDI IMS. This will include the utilization of high mass resolution FT-ICR MS and high spatial resolution Q-TOF platforms to address the molecular complexity associated with direct tissue analysis. Further, I will describe recent advances in integrated, multimodal methods that enable molecular signals to be paired to specific biological tissue features. These technologies will be demonstrated through applications that include understanding the molecular drivers of host-pathogen interactions and the construction of comprehensive molecular atlases of tissue microenvironments.