Assistant: Apr. R. VAN DRIESSEN

Liquid chromatography Mass spectrometry and metabolomics

The most recent 'omics' technology applied to marker discovery is metabolomics, which can be defined as the study of the collection of small molecule (<1000 Da) metabolites in biofluids to elucidate differences in population groups due to genetic modification, disease state and environmental stress.
Spectroscopic techniques such as H-NMR have been applied in a number of studies but also complementary MS technology, especially exact-mass LC-MS, has bees introduced. The main purpose of my project, is the development of an LC-MS tool to differentially detect, identify (accurate mass using Q-Tof), and quantify in a relative way metabolites. Arabidopsis thaliana metabolites of different classes were chosen as representative compounds for evaluation of the operational parameters. In terms of LC separation, we will use a combination of a HILIC-column with a reversed phase- column in a two-dimensional setup. Different fractions will, after a first dimensional separation, be separated in a second reversed phase dimension. The greatest advantage of two-dimensional chromatography is the extreme increase of separation efficiency. This will be coupled to full scan high resolution mass spectrometric detection. Chemometric principles will then be applied for data treatment. Differentially diagnostic compounds will finally be identified using various mass spectrometric approaches (accurate mass, MS/MS, …).

By Apr. Reinhilde Van Driessen