With this award from the Chemistry Research Instrumentation and Facilities: Multi-user (CRIF:MU) program, Professor Arthur Bull and colleagues Ferman Chavez, Roman Dembinski, Greg Felton and John Finke from Oakland University will acquire a benchtop microfocus electrospray ionization time-of-flight (TOF) mass spectrometer with atmospheric pressure chemical ionization (APCI) capabilities. The award will enhance research training and education at all levels, especially in areas of study such as (a) Josiphos-catalyzed homodimerization of ketoketenes having beta-lactones, (b) synthesis of modified nucleosides and their studies in short oligonucleotides, (c) probing the mechanism for cysteine dioxygenase through synthetic model studies, (d) structural studies of protein assemblies with hydrogen-deuterium exchange, (e) studies of damaging effects of radiation on DNA, and (f) electrocatalysis for alternative energy.
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. The time of flight (TOF) mass analyzer has high sensitivity and mass accuracy to assist the analyses and interpretation of the resultant data. This open access instrument will be available for training students in several departments in the use of this analytical tool. It will be used by undergraduate students in research and in laboratory instruction courses and in outreach to nearby institutions in southeastern Michigan such as Kettering University, the University of Michigan at Flint, Macomb Community College, Oakland Community College and Lawrence Technological University.
In July 2011 Oakland University purchased an Agilent Liquid Chromatography-Mass Spectrometry (LCMS) system with the support of the National Science Foundation. Since that time the instrument has been heavily used by undergraduate student researchers, graduate students, faculty, and occasionally, local small businesses. Undergraduate students participating in our Summer Research Program are particularly heavy users of the instrument. These students are engaged in studies in environmental science and monitoring, organic synthesis, inorganic synthesis, and biochemistry. The undergraduate student researchers are given hands on experience with an important technology for today's science and technology workforce. The more advanced undergraduates eventually become proficient enough to operate the instrument without supervision. Many of these students give formal presentations in which they must explain the technology and data obtained to a wider audience. We believe this experience is one of the more valuable opportunities we can offer our students. Once or twice a year we offer local high school chemistry classes (usually AP classes) tours and demonstrations with an emphasis on the use of LCMS relavent to their lives. Drug testing applications, food safety monitoring, and similar topics are considered. Avondale High School and Waterford ACE students have been hosted this past calendar year. Graduate students and faculty use the instrument for a wide range of investigations including, the elucidation of metabolic pathways, water quality monitoring, characterization of newly synthesized compounds, and elucidation of reaction pathways. These activities have resulted in 12 publications or presentations in the past two calendar years. The LCMS system was essential to these publications and presentations. About twice a year we are asked by local small businesses to analyze a sample to assist with a production problem or quality control issue. If the instrument is not currently being used for teaching or research purposes we try to accommodate these requests. Oakland University has contacted local community colleges, colleges, and universities and offered shared use of the LCMS system. To date we have not had significant use from these institutions but we remain willing and able to assist other educational institutions.