Tuesday, August 7, 2007

NIH awards UA nearly $1M for mass spectrometer

[Source: Deborah Daun, BIO5] - The National Institutes of Health awarded a $924,995 High-End Instrumentation (HEI) grant to The University of Arizona for a mass spectrometer that will assist a wide range of UA scientists, from those working on the prevention and cures for diseases such as colorectal cancer and Valley Fever to those researching the atmospheric chemistry on Titan, the largest moon on Saturn.

“This new Fourier Transform Ion Cyclotron Resonance Mass Spectrometer gives the highest mass accuracy available and thus adds tremendous capacity to our mass spectrometry resources at the UA,” says Vicki Wysocki, PhD, BIO5 member and professor, UA Chemistry Department. Dr. Wysocki is the lead investigator on the HEI grant. The new instrument will be located in the UA Department of Chemistry and will be available to researchers through UA’s Chemistry Mass Spectrometry Facility and UA’s Arizona Proteomics Consortium, which is located in the new BIO5 building on the UA campus.

A mass spectrometer measures the masses of individual molecules that have been converted to ions (i.e. have been electrically charged). Mass spectrometry is a powerful analytical technique used to identify unknown compounds, quantify known materials, and elucidate the structure and chemical properties of molecules.

The UA is one of only 14 national recipients of HEI grants for cutting-edge equipment required to advance biomedical research. The grants come from The National Center for Research Resources (NCRR), a part of the NIH. Awarded to research institutions around the country, these one-time HEI grants support the purchase of sophisticated instruments costing more than $750,000.

“These high-performance advanced technologies enable both basic discoveries that shed light on the underlying causes of disease and the development of novel therapies to treat them,” said Dr. Barbara Alving, director, NCRR. “The value of this investment in advanced equipment is greatly leveraged because each of these rare tools is used by a number of investigators, advancing a broad range of research projects.”

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