Operations and Maintenance Support for the BioZone MS Facility

Funding Details
Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada
  • Grant type: Research Tools and Instruments
  • Year: 2016/17
  • Total Funding: $150,000
Keywords
Principle Investigator(s)
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Project Summary

The BioZone mass spectrometry facility (BMSF) is associated with the Department of Chemical Engineering and Applied Chemistry at the University of Toronto and is part of the BioZone Centre for Bioengineering. The BMSF provides services and training to internal and external researchers and students in all aspects of mass spectrometry (MS) analysis including method development, sample preparation, and analysis of both small molecules and polymers. The instrumental base of BMSF includes five top-of-the-line MS systems well suited for quantitative analyses in a wide variety of chemical engineering and biotechnology projects. This equipment was acquired by the co-applicants (Edwards, Evans, Chan, Mahadevan, Savchenko, and Yakunin) using recent CFI, Genome Canada, and MRI funding. Due to a high level of technical complexity of modern MS systems, most researchers cannot use them autonomously and require a help from a MS specialist. The BMSF is operated and maintained by the two MS specialists: Andrei Starostine (PhD) and Robert Flick (MSc), with extensive expertise in mass spectrometry fundamentals, biophysics, and biochemistry. During the last year, BMSF has processed over 1,500 individual MS samples, 50% more than the previous year, indicating a high and rapidly growing demand for this service. The total number of academic and non-academic users of BMSF amounted to almost 20 labs. In addition to regular operations and maintenance support for BMSF, both our MS specialists are actively involved in the training of researchers and students in diverse MS techniques established in BMSF and dissemination of protocols among users by means of hands-on training and seminars. To date, the BMSF has established and developed over 25 protocols for MS sample preparation and analysis including the identification of various xenobiotics, reaction products, vitamins, antibiotics, fatty acids, as well as glycans and glycoproteins. Last year, the BMSF trained over 20 graduate students and postdocs in MS sample preparation and analysis. Thus, the BMSF is serving to a broad base of academic and non-academic users in Canada. By continuing the BMSF operation as a user-friendly, cutting-edge MS facility, we will ensure uninterrupted services to the present and new users in MS analysis and training. In addition, university labs and companies in Canada will benefit from recruiting skilled students, postdocs, and HQPs trained in modern methods of MS analysis, bringing new research knowledge and expertise to them.