PhD Research Project at Sheffield Hallam University

Published on 13 May 12, under FAIMS, Science & Research

Using ion mobility mass spectrometry to investigate the distribution and affect of dosed compounds on endogenous molecules.

Mass spectrometry imaging (MSI) provides a powerful route for observation and quantification of the spatial distribution (including depth) of key chemical entities in tissue. Comprehensive knowledge of the location and spatial arrangement of drugs and their metabolites as well as their effect is crucial to gain improved understanding of biological events. Imaging via Matrix Assisted Laser Desorption Ionisation (MALDI) mass spectrometry was pioneered in 1997 and is proving to be a powerful tool for profiling a variety of different molecules directly in a wide range of sample types, as evidenced over the last few years by a growing user population.

Despite recent advances in instrumentation and software there are still a number of key issues that need addressing, including sample preparation, (to reduce ion suppression, improve spatial resolution and identify less abundant endogenous molecules) and bio-informatics to maximise data interpretation.

To address several of these issues, this study will investigate technology development in MS imaging around three key areas: (i) Sample preparation including tissue digestion, matrix optimisation and matrix free technologies; (ii) Ion mobility MS as applied to compound distribution and protein identification from tissue; (iii) IT solutions for storing and comparing images.

For any informal enquires, please email either Dr S. Francese ( or Prof. MR Clench (

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