With this award from the Major Research Instrumentation (MRI) program, Professor Michael Carrasco from Santa Clara University and colleague Amelia Fuller will acquire an electrospray inonization tandem (ESI-MS/MS) mass spectrometric system. The award will enhance research training and education at all levels, especially in areas such as (a) identification of foldamers that mimic proteins, (b) chemoselective glycosylation of peptides that protection from proteolysis, (c) synthesis of glycolipopeptides, (d) aptamer selection for glycopeptides and glycoproteins, (e) characterization of release of biogenic amines from the pericardial organs of cancer borealis, (f) characterization of interactions between proteins and silver nanoparticles, and (g) identification of the ligand-binding properties of porphyrin assemblies.

Mass spectrometers (MS) are used to identify the chemical composition of a sample by measuring the mass of the molecular constituents in the sample after they are ionized and detected by the mass spectrometer. This instrument couples a high-resolution liquid chromatography system with the mass analysis ability of mass spectrometry. A liquid chromatograph located at the mouth of the spectrometer separates mixtures into their molecular components. These components then flow into the mass spectrometer where they are ionized using an electrospay source. The tandem mass spectrometer (MS/MS) involves multiple steps with some form of fragmentation occurring between stages. In this way their masses, and those of their fragments, are measured. The instrumentation will be used not only for research but also in laboratory courses to train significant numbers of students in the use of this important analytical technique.

Project Report

This award was made for the purchase of a liquid-chromatography-mass spectrometry instrument at Santa Clara University (SCU) for the separation and analysis of complex chemically- and biologically-derived samples. This system has been purchased and is the only instrument of its kind in operation at SCU. Having access to this instrument has enabled progress in various research projects guided by faculty in the Department of Chemistry & Biochemistry. Results from these projects have been widely disseminated to the communities of interst through publication in the scientific literature and presentations and national and regional conferences. Research projects that make use of this instrument investigate such aims as: 1. Synthesis and study of molecules that mimic biological structures 2. Synthesis and study of potential therapeutic molecules 3. Study of chemical components involved in nervous system signalling in crabs 4. Synthesis and study of molecules that might act as biological antifreeze agents 5. Study of protein interactions with engineered nanomaterials Additionally, access to the instrument funded through this grant has enriched the curriculum offerings available at SCU to majors in chemistry and biochemistry. Because SCU does not have a graduate program in chemistry or biochemistry, undergraduate researchers are the primary users of this instrument. In addition to its use in research projects, the instrument has been used by students at both the introductory and advanced levels of instruction. Through these applications, undergraduates are exposed to rich teaching and training experiences that expose them to modern instrumentation similar to what they may use in future careers as practicing chemists.

National Science Foundation (NSF)
Division of Chemistry (CHE)
Standard Grant (Standard)
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Carlos A. Murillo
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Santa Clara University
Santa Clara
United States
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