In this application, we are requesting an ICP-MS (Inductively Coupled Plasma Mass Spectrometer) for the Metal Ion Core in the Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology at OHSU. An ICP-MS determines the concentration for elements from Li to U with high sensitivity, high mass accuracy and a broad linear detection range for elemental concentration. Because of the high mass accuracy and sensitivity experiments that determine isotope ratios are also possible. Due to these unique properties an ICP- MS is the perfect tool for a variety of biomedical projects that are typically performed at a medical research institution. Being able to reliably determine elemental concentrations in biological material is often crucial in disease related research projects especially if these diseases are caused or involve disturbances in metal metabolism. Accurate measurements of elemental content are also critical also when elucidating the function of metal containing enzymes or performing structural studies on proteins. Over the past 5 years the Metal Ion Core at OHSU has provided services related to metal and elemental concentrations in biological material to multiple researchers. Presently, the available instrumentation to determine elemental concentrations is often a limiting step. An ICP-MS would enable existing and new users of the Metal Ion Core to incorporate necessary but currently unavailable measurements in their research. The specific instrument that we selected is the Elan DRCII from Perkin Elmer. Perkin Elmer has been, by far, the leading manufacturer of ICP-MS instruments for the past 25 years. While instruments from other manufacturers are available they currently have only a very limited footprint in medical school settings like OHSU, where a plethora of different sample materials are typically analyzed. The Elan DRCII offers the best detection limits currently available while effectively eliminating interferences as they typically occur in biological material. Currently, there is no ICP-MS instrument on campus. Available instruments that are capable of determining metal concentrations on campus are limited by the range of linearity, inability to simultaneously measure multiple elements, or their requirements for large sample volumes. However, there is a clear need for an ICP-MS throughout OHSU. Researchers from several schools and departments within the school expressed their interest and strong support for acquiring an ICP-MS.
A variety of severe disorders are either caused by disturbances in metal metabolism or by the dysfunction of metal dependent enzymes. To advance the knowledge about specific disease mechanisms or determine the function of metal dependent enzymes it is crucial to be able to reliably determine elemental concentrations. Only ICP-MS instrumentation offers the necessary high sensitivity and high mass accuracy to successfully perform such measurements.
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