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Evaluation of the capabilities of 2-dimensional mass spectrometry in a variety of molecular systems

Warwick Centre for Doctoral Training in Analytical Science

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Prof P O'Connor No more applications being accepted

About the Project

This is an industrially funded PhD project in collaboration with Verdel Instruments, Ltd., a spinout company from the University of Warwick.

2-dimensional mass spectrometry (2DMS) is a type of tandem mass spectrometry in which fragment ions are measured for each precursor ion. In traditional tandem mass spectrometry, also called MS/MS, each precursor ion within a mixture of molecular species must be individually isolated prior to fragmentation. If isolation does not occur or is incomplete due to experimental or instrumental limitations, then it is extremely difficult to determine which fragment comes from which precursor ion.

2DMS borrows an idea from 2-dimensional NMR to generate MS/MS data for all precursor ions in a mixture of species, simultaneously, and still determine which fragment comes from which precursor with no need for isolations.

Verdel Instruments, Ltd., is a spinout company from the University of Warwick and has licensed some 2DMS technologies from the university. Verdel has currently designed and built a 2DMS instrument using a modified quadrupole-time-of-flight mass spectrometer, and we aim with this project to fully explore this instrument with a range of molecular compound classes and samples to show how 2DMS works in many different fields. This project will aim to generate this data, and from them Verdel will produce application notes to explain this technology to future customers and investors.

Additionally, this project will involve corresponding research in the University of Warwick Ion Cyclotron Resonance laboratory at Milburn house where the 2DMS technology has been developed.

The key points of this project will be:
1. Learn how mass spectrometers work at the most fundamental, instrumental level in order to fully understand the experiment.
2. Learn how the data is acquired in the Verdel and Warwick ICR instruments, and how to convert the raw data into mass spectra.
3. Learn how to interpret mass spectra, to extract the maximum chemical knowledge from the samples.
4. Test 2DMS on both the Verdel and Warwick ICR instruments for a variety of compound classes using a variety of fragmentation methods. Compound classes will include:
a. Lipids
b. metabolites (either biological or environmental)
c. oligosaccharides and glycans
d. peptides
e. proteins
g. complex mixtures such as biofuels and petroleum.

The student will be expected to acquire data for these types of samples, understand the resulting spectra, and present these results in posters, presentations, and papers. It should be straightforward to achieve a number of publications from this work.

How to apply:
Please direct informal enquiries and requests for further information to Professor Peter O’Connor, email: [Email Address Removed]

This PhD studentship advertisement is also available here: https://warwick.ac.uk/fac/sci/as/study/phd/po-2020-vi

Apply here: https://warwick.ac.uk/fac/sci/as/study/apply/

Funding Notes

The project is fully funded for 4 years with all fees paid and a yearly stipend of at least £15,000 from 2020/21.

The position is part of the Warwick Analytical Science CDT and will also offer training in 60 CATS of MSc modules during the first year of the PhD (leading to a certificate).

Funding is only available to UK/EU students.
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