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Duquesne University and Agilent Technologies Establish Mass Spectrometry Centre of Excellence

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The facility enables a wide range of research in the life sciences and environmental analysis, including:

? metabolomics and trace lipid analysis, the effects of chronic exposure to heavy metals;
? how residues of some veterinary drugs affect the food chain;
? analysis of toxins in food;
? identifying biomarkers for autism;
? factors affecting the immune system;
? researching inherited “knock-out diseases” like Fabry’s disease; and
? an area of study called “environmental proteomics” (e.g. the protein profiles of organisms as they’re exposed to different environmental compounds).

“Researchers at Duquesne University are doing fascinating work aimed at solving important problems, and we’re very pleased to be part of the team,” said Gustavo Salem, Agilent vice president and general manager, Biological Systems Division.

The university received two National Science Foundation grants totalling nearly $1 million. The grants were used to acquire the following Agilent instrumentation and software:

? 1200 Series Rapid Resolution liquid chromatograph (LC);
? 1200 Series HPLC-Chip/MS systems;
? 6500 Series Accurate Mass Quadrupole Time of Flight LC/MS;
? 6400 Series triple quadrupole LC/MS; and
? 6200 Series Accurate Mass Time of Flight MS.

The Duquesne scientists also use Agilent Spectrum Mill for MassHunter Workstation software for rapid identification of large numbers of proteins and peptides.

“These powerful tools have become a mainstay for research and teaching in the school,” said Dr. David W. Seybert, dean of the Bayer School of Natural and Environmental Sciences at Duquesne. “We are educating the next generation of scientists and it is imperative that their research training incorporates the most current generation of instrumentation available.”

Under the leadership of Dr. Mitchell Johnson, associate professor, and Dr. H.M. “Skip” Kingston, professor in the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry, the school has forged a partnership with Agilent, a leading supplier of mass spectrometers.

The centre will serve as Agilent’s regional showcase for the latest technologies in mass spectrometry, where researchers can see Agilent equipment in use investigating real problems. The centre will provide a forum for the development of new applications and the testing of new ideas in search of important advances in life sciences, biomedicine, bioengineering, materials sciences, and other fields.