New Chemistry Instrument Vastly Expands Research Capabilities

The College of Arts & Sciences’ Center for Regulatory, Environmental and Analytical Metabolomics (CREAM) just installed a cutting edge instrument that will be used by researchers in the departments of Chemistry, Biology, Bioengineering, and Biomedical Sciences, as well as those from other universities around the country.
New Chemistry Instrument Vastly Expands Research Capabilities

The instrument was funded with a $600,000 National Institute of Health award given to Dr. Xiang Zhang and a $284,000 contribution from the UofL EVPRI Office. It will primarily be used for biomedical studies to understand disease mechanisms at the molecular level – with a focus on liver disease, cardiovascular disease, lupus, and cancer.

The Two Dimensional Ultra Performance Liquid Chromatography Q Exactive HF Hybrid Orbitrap Mass Spectrometer is able to measure both proteins and metabolites, and researchers at CREAM will mainly use it for analysis of metabolites.

The new instrument is complementary to the center’s existing analytical capability and will be integrated with the existing comprehensive two-dimensional gas chromatography mass spectrometry (GCxGC-MS) platform. The newly integrated analytical platform’s system will enable researchers to identify numerous organic chemicals from complex samples with high accuracy and reproducibility.

“The experimental data acquired from this system can be used to decipher the molecular mechanisms of interaction of nutrients and other substances, disease progression, and drug treatment,” said Prof. Xiang Zhang, CREAM’s director. “It can also be used to discover efficient approaches to utilizing renewable resources, such as coproducts from grain processing to produce biofuels.”

The liquid chromatography part of this instrument dramatically increases our separation power by at least five-fold and enables us to detect low abundance molecules in the complex samples,” “The mass spectrometer part of this instrument has excellent mass accuracy (< 1 ppm) with high mass resolution (R= 240K). Its MS/MS scan speed is up to 18 Hz, and has the capability of polarity switching within one second.

Zhang said, “By coupling the UPLC with MS, we expect to increase our analytical capability up to 10 times.”