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Duquesne, Agilent Launch Mass Spec Center of Excellence

By a GenomeWeb staff reporter

NEW YORK (GenomeWeb News) – Duquesne University has used two grants from the National Science Foundation and biotech hardware from Agilent Technologies to establish a Center of Excellence for mass spectrometry.

Duquesne said that scientists at the center will use the Agilent tools in a number of studies in the life sciences, biomedicine, bioengineering, materials sciences, and other applications.

The university has used the nearly $1 million in NSF funding to buy Agilent tools and software including a 1200 Series Rapid Resolution liquid chromatograph; 1200 Series HPLC-Chip/MS systems; a 6500 Series Accurate Mass Quadrupole Time of Flight LC/MS; a 6400 Series triple quadrupole LC/MS; a 6200 Series Accurate Mass Time of Flight MS; and the Agilent Spectrum Mill for MassHunter Workstation software for rapid identification of large numbers of proteins and peptides.

Researchers at the COE will engage in a broad range of life sciences and environmental applications, including identifying biomarkers for autism, analyzing toxins in food, conducting environmental proteomics and profiling organisms exposed to different compounds, metabolomics, and research into how the residues of veterinary drugs affect the food chain.

"We are educating the next generation of scientists and it is imperative that their research training incorporates the most current generation of instrumentation available," David Seybert, dean of the Bayer School of Natural and Environmental Sciences at Duquesne, said in a statement. "These powerful tools have become a mainstay for research and teaching in the school."

Skip Kingston, a professor of chemistry and biochemistry, said that the addition of the new instruments has "moved us into an entirely new echelon of research that is now possible at Duquesne."

For example, he said that the university did a study of the epigenetics of immune system responses in autistic children screening 100 children for 70 toxins using the TOF, Q-TOF, and ICP-MS instruments.

Financial details of the instrument purchases were not released.