Biomolecular mass spectrometry

Mass spectrometry technology is at the heart of current biochemical analysis. Mass spectrometry enables the identification and characterization of proteins and their metabolic products and, with appropriate data handling systems, can be configured for global analyses  (proteomics and metabolomics).

These “omic” approaches have developed rapidly in the past decade and continue to expand as interest grows in systems biology approaches that have the potential to model living systems. Mass spectrometry (MS) is now central to analysis of all the products of the genome.

Proteins and metabolites are chemically and structurally diverse. Many are found at low concentration in biochemical systems, yet play critical roles in biology. We are interested in developing strategies for biochemical separation and MS analysis that enhance coverage of this biochemical diversity and enable biological inference to be drawn.

We are interested in a range of applicants to help us develop technologies associated with mass spectrometry and biochemical separation, and to develop data handling approaches that can contribute to systems modelling and omic data analysis and integration.

Research themes

  • The development of high resolution biochemical separations that permit relative quantitation between isogenic samples, potentially enabling connections to be made between molecules and phenotypes.
  • The development of improved methods for the analysis of proteins involved in metabolite transport and cellular communication. Such proteins are typically very hydrophobic and of relatively low abundance, and are thus frequently underrepresented in proteomic analyses.
  • The establishment of mass spectrometry approaches that enable spatial resolution of biological systems, to reveal tissue architecture through molecular analysis.
  • Analysis of cell products that act externally to the cells (“secretomics”), a ubiquitous mechanism by which an organism or cell modifies it’s biological niche through the projection of phenotype beyond the boundaries of self. Our interests in this area range from milk to intercellular communication in nerve tissues.