Aug. 14, 2007
The matrix-assisted laser desorption ionization (MALDI) time-of-flight (TOF) mass spectrometer analyzes biopolymers such as proteins and large environmental organic molecules which cannot be analyzed by more conventional ionization methods. It will be used to provide insights in the role of arginine methylation in cancer studies, to probe the structure and function of a new class of peptide hormone receptors affecting obesity, to identify novel enzymes for use as biocatalysts in the degradation of biomass and to rapidly identify specific biomarkers from indicator organisms in the Catawba basin. None of these studies are currently feasible at Winthrop and all would couple existing instrumental resources with the proposed instrument to dramatically advance the research capabilities of the university.
Winthrop’s application was one of only 14 chosen to receive funding from 75 proposals submitted by universities with non-Ph.D. chemistry programs. This represents the largest National Science Foundation research grant in Winthrop’s history. The instrumentation will significantly improve Winthrop's faculty-mentored student research and student research training experiences. The submitted proposal estimated that 240 Winthrop students, 17 faculty, and three to five industrial scientists will use or be trained on the instrumentation each year. The acquired mass spectrometry instrumentation will be managed by a bioanalytical mass spectroscopist and three analytical chemists.
The instrument, one of the most heavily used research tools in the biotechnology and pharmaceutical industries, will be incorporated into chemistry and biochemistry courses and will directly impact seven research projects in the Department of Chemistry.