An initiative of the Research School of Chemistry and Research School of Biology in partnership with CSIRO Black Mountain Campus
The Joint Mass Spectrometry Facility (JMSF) was created in 2016 by the Research School of Chemistry and Research School of Biology to consolidate and grow mass spectrometry facilities at the ANU. In partnership with the CSIRO Black Mountain campus, the JMSF is supporting research in the greater Canberra region as an important aspect of the Science and Industry Endowment Fund (SIEF) supported Analytical Precinct.
The JMSF is focusing on three main application areas using a variety of mass spectrometry instruments. These application areas include:
- Synthetic (single) molecule characterisation
Dr Adam J. Carroll
Manager, Joint Mass Spectrometry Facility
Dr Carroll has been engaged in mass spectrometry-based research since 2005. His PhD, awarded in 2010, was completed at the University of Western Australia under the co-supervision of plant scientist and proteomics specialist, Prof Harvey Millar, and the late natural products chemist, A/Prof Emilio Ghisalberti. His PhD research focused on mass spectrometry based proteomics, metabolomics and mass spectrometry data analysis software development. During his PhD, he developed MetabolomeExpress (https:///www.metabolome-express.org) – one of the world’s first online mass spectrometry data processing pipelines and public data repositories to facilitate the efficient and transparent processing, sharing and re-use of mass spectrometry metabolomics datasets. These tools were applied to: 1) the proteomic characterisation of plant ribosomes, including the elucidation of novel post-translational modifications; and 2) the metabolomic analysis of plant responses to environmental and genetic perturbations, particularly focused on abiotic stress and perturbations of aerobic respiration pathways. Dr Carroll moved to the ANU as a post-doctoral plant scientist in the laboratory of Professor Murray Badger where he set up the ANU’s first high throughput GC/MS metabolomics platform, established a cutting-edge robotics facility for high-throughput preparation of biological samples and integrated forward genetic screening, next-gen genome sequencing and metabolomics to hunt for novel genes involved in plant photorespiration. An output from this project was PhenoMeter – the world’s first metabolome database search using metabolic phenotypes as queries to identify similar phenotypes in other studies (like a BLAST search for metabolic phenotypes). In 2015, he moved to the laboratory of Prof Guillaume Tcherkez to study plant biochemical responses to CO2, O2 and light using a range of techniques including metabolic labelling with 13CO2. He began as Manager of the JMSF in May 2017 where he continues to provide training and support and develop hardware and software tools to facilitate cutting-edge mass spectrometry-based research.
Ms Anitha Jeyasingham
Head, RSC Mass Spectrometry Facility
Mrs Anitha Jeyasingham did her B.Sc. (Honours) at the University of Jaffna, Sri Lanka. After working as an academic in Sri Lanka, she was awarded the prestigious NZODA scholarship to do her M.Sc. at the University of Waikato, New Zealand followed by employed as an Organic Analyst at Hill Laboratories. Shortly after she was promoted to analytical division, which introduced her into the world of Mass spectrometry.
After migrating to Australia in 2004, she joined the Mass Spectrometry unit at the Research school of chemistry. Stemming from her work in New Zealand, Anitha specializes in synthetic small organic molecule analyses. She provides and maintains a high ratio of comprehensive analytical support to over 20 research groups in RSC, RSB and surrounding area, in particular in reaction monitoring, identification, accurate mass measurements, purity checks and characterisation of synthetic compounds.
The research interests of RSC varies extensively and synthesize very small, volatile and unstable organic compounds to very big macro-cyclic compounds.
Dr Thy Truong
Mass Spectrometry Officer
Dr Thy Truong completed her PhD (Analytical and Environmental Chemistry, 2001) at RMIT University focusing on lipid biomarkers to distinguish sources of faecal pollution in contaminated waters and sediments around popular tourist hotspots in the East Gippsland Lakes, Victoria. She also developed new optimised analytical techniques for analysing and quantifying lipid markers using multidimensional GCxGC with cryogenic trapping and GC-MS. She undertook a postdoctoral research associate position (substituting for a Senior Research Scientist as the head of the research project and the organic chemistry laboratory) at the Stroud Water Research Center in Pennsylvania investigating the use of molecular tracers for monitoring sources of contamination in streams and rivers associated with the New York City drinking water system (Safe Drinking Water Act grant funded by the U.S. EPA and the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation). In 2003 she worked as a postdoctoral fellow at RMIT University to derive a holistic approach to managing dairy processor waste streams before working as a postdoctoral fellow at the University of Melbourne investigating the environmental inorganic chemistry of phosphorus and arsenic in aquatic and terrestrial ecosystems using flow injection analysis with membrane separation and spectrophotometric or chemiluminescence detection. She then decided to gain experience in commercial FDA/NATA accredited chemical testing laboratories as an analytical chemist at Cardinal Health (pharmaceuticals), and OMIC Australia (food). Her position at CSIRO Materials Science and Engineering (April 2008 - July 2010) as an Environmental Analytical Chemist and Deputy Laboratory Manager in the Environmental Analysis Group (EAG) reignited her interests in research and method development/validation in analytical chemistry, separation science and mass spectrometry, which in turn has led her to her appointment as RSB Mass Spectrometry Officer (February 2011 - present).
The Joint Mass Spectrometry facility is equipped with a number of instruments to facilitate the analysis of a variety of compounds:
Synthetic (single) molecule characterisation
Waters LCT Premier
Description: The LCT Premier orthogonal acceleration time-of-flight (OA-TOF) mass spectrometer features a Z-Spray source with electrospray ionisation (ESI) and modular LockSpray interface. The TOF analyzer utilizes W-Optics, a novel method for enhancing resolution.
Uses: This system is used for accurate mass measurements of organic and inorganic compounds and the intact mass measurements of proteins and peptides.
Description: The Waters/Micromass ZMD is a single quadrupole benchtop Mass spectrometry detector that couples to an alliance HPLC system. The system uses electrospray ionisation to transfer ions into the gas phase.
Uses: This system is used for the low resolution analysis of organic and inorganic compounds in an open access environment.
Micromass/Waters AutoSpec Premier
Using Electron ionisation (EI) or Chemical ionisation (CI) this system analyses non-polar synthetic compounds in low and high resolution to obtain elemental compositions and accurate mass measurements.
Agilent GC-MS (5073)
Description: One dimensional Gas phase Chromatography inlet with Electron Ionisation and tandem low resolution quadrupole analyser.
Uses: This instrument is currently used as a walk-up instrument for synthetic chemist to screen products from synthetic molecule reactions.
Agilent GC (7890A)/MS (5975) with Gerstel MultiPurpose Sampler
Description: One dimensional Gas phase Chromatography inlet with Electron Ionisation (EI) or Chemical Ionisation (CI) and tandem low resolution quadrupole analyser.
Uses: this system is used for a variety of metabolomics applications which harness the Gerstel system for automation in sample preparation and delivery to the GC-MS.
Agilent 7010 GC-MS/MS
Description: One dimensional Gas phase Chromatography inlet with Election Ionisation and tandem low resolution quadrupole analyser.
Uses: This instrument is able to undertake MS2 experiments, multiple reaction monitoring (MRM) and Pseudo MS3 experiments to add specificity to complex samples.
Agilent 6120 single Quad with Agilent 1260/1290 LC
Description: One dimensional Liquid Chromatography inlet with electrospray ionisation and a low resolution single quadruple analyser.
Use: This instrument is currently being used for natural product analysis to monitor enzymatic reactions.
Thermo Q Exactive Plus with UHPLC
Description: This instrument couples an analytical flow UHPLC with Orbitrap technologies. Mass selection with the quadruple analyser of the Q Exactive plus facilitates tandem (MS/MS) analysis to better characterise and target analytes of interest.
Uses: This system is used for metabolomics applications in both discovery and targeted modes of operation.
Description: Matrix Assisted Laser Desorption Ionisation (MALDI) – Time-of-Flight – Time-of-Flight Mass spectrometer.
Uses: This instrument offers a platform of simple proteomics experiment including in-gel spot identification or protein sequencing using bottom up approaches. Polymer analysis is also conducted with this system.
High resolution LC-MS system for proteomics applications.