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U of L Proteomics Core Wins $375K from VA to Add Mass Spec; Eyeing Thermo's New Orbitrap Elite

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By Adam Bonislawski

The University of Louisville's Proteomics Biomarkers Discovery Core laboratory said this week it has been awarded $375,000 by the US Department of Veterans Affairs for the purchase of a new mass spectrometer.

According to Jon Klein, director of the lab and principal investigator on the grant, the instrument will be used for qualitative and quantitative protein assessment and protein sequencing as well as glycomic and lipidomic analysis and mass spectral tissue imaging. He told ProteoMonitor that while no decisions regarding a machine have been made yet, he and the lab's technical director Michael Merchant "will certainly be looking at the new [Thermo Fisher Scientific] Orbitrap Elite or equivalent instruments."

"Our goal is to buy the very best in terms of resolution and scan speed that we can find, and so based on the announcements at ASMS this week, we think that level of instrument is what we're going to be interested in checking out and demoing," Klein said.

The Elite, which is the new flagship of Thermo Fisher's Orbitrap line, features a maximum resolving power at 1 Hz of 240,000 FWHM and offers a four-fold improvement in scan speed compared to previous Orbitraps (see story this issue).

"This is primarily focused on translational work in human samples, some animal work, biomarker discovery, quantitative proteomics," Klein said. "So we're interested in total cycle time, scan speed, and then, above all, mass accuracy. Certainly there are competitors to the Elite that are out there, but that's certainly one we're going to be looking at."

The U of L core lab currently has three mass spectrometers. The new one, which is scheduled to be installed in September, will be used initially by roughly a dozen of the school's faculty who provide care to VA patients. Six of these faculty members currently have VA-funded grants covering research into areas including kidney, lung, and liver diseases.

The instrument will also be used to provide proteomic services to other VA-funded researchers in the Lexington and Cincinnati areas, Klein added.

Funding for the instrument is provided through the VA's Shared Equipment Evaluation Program, which is designed to provide common resources and equipment to support biomedical research supporting veterans.

An additional $125,000 for purchase of the instrument has been provided by the U of L School of Medicine, and, Klein said, the core has "additional institutional funds" it can use to make the purchase.


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