Desty award winner and Eksigent expansion

December 1, 2005

LCGC Europe

LCGC Europe, LCGC Europe-12-01-2005, Volume 18, Issue 12
Page Number: 640

Dr Perdita Barran from the University of Edinburgh has won the coveted Desty Memorial Award for Innovation in Separation Science. Her work involved the use of ion mobile mass spectrometry (IM–MS) to analyse proteins and peptides and involved custom-building an ion mobility mass spectrometer. The findings of the research could be useful in helping to develop new classes of antibiotics and drugs to treat diseases of the reproductive system.

Dr Perdita Barran from the University of Edinburgh has won the coveted Desty Memorial Award for Innovation in Separation Science. Her work involved the use of ion mobile mass spectrometry (IM–MS) to analyse proteins and peptides and involved custom-building an ion mobility mass spectrometer. The findings of the research could be useful in helping to develop new classes of antibiotics and drugs to treat diseases of the reproductive system.

Dr. Perdita Barran

IM–MS measures the temperature-dependent collision cross section of ions in the gas phase. As such, it is a separation technique, analogous to electrophoresis, which can garner detailed structural information, particularly when used in combination with molecular modelling. It shows great promise as a gas phase proteomic separator.

Dr Barran, who described her work as ''using physics to do biology in a chemistry department'' said, "I am delighted and honoured to win this prize. It is rather wonderful to be associated with such a great scientist as Denis Desty. I think he would have found building the ion mobility instrument fascinating and I aim to keep my spanners handy for the next project I work on... I am sure he would approve of that!"

Dr Barran worked under the supervision of Sir Harry Kroto and Tony Stace to obtain her PhD in Chemical Physics from the University of Sussex in 1998, before moving to the University of California, Santa Barbara, USA to work with Mike Bowers on IM–MS. She continued working on IM–MS to study the structure and energetics of proteins and peptides at the University of Edinburgh in 2003 and currently heads a research group of five graduate students and one postdoctoral associate.

This was the tenth anniversary of the award and all the lectures this year were delivered by world-class female scientists. Professor Peter Myers organized the event, which celebrates the life of one of the most creative and exciting figures in the world of separation science: the late Denis Desty who has over 500 patents to his name and once admitted that "between1967 and 1974 he spent over £1 million on two projects without getting formal approval for them.'' A true enthusiast for separation science, he also built a laboratory in his house to experiment with whatever took his fancy in his spare time.

The event, which was held at the Royal Institution in London and was sponsored by Waters, highlights how separation science is at the root of major scientific breakthroughs that benefit mankind. Professor Myers said: "Denis loved the Farady Theatre at the RI more than any other and he would be very pleased that Perdita Barran won the award. She has real passion and enthusiasm for the work she is involved in and, like him, has the talent to pass that enthusiasm onto others."

Eksigent moves to expand facilities

Eksigent Technologies has relocated its corporate headquarters to the Creekside Business Park in Dublin, California, USA. The 433000 sq ft facility is double the size of the company's original space, and will accommodate operations, research and development, manufacturing and shipping, sales and marketing, and customer service.

The new headquarters has been designed to meet the company's needs and includes a dedicated customer demonstration centre and research labs for HPLC, medical device and advanced technology product development.

Eksigent Technologies develops microfluidic systems that automate and accelerate proteomics, drug discovery, medical devices and other life science applications. The company's core technologies include microscale pumping, microfabrication and microfluidic system design. The company also offers solutions for nanoscale liquid chromatography, HPLC and microscale pumps.

Industry and academia collaborate

Waters Corporation has made a significant software donation to provide students with the tools to enhance their scientific research and knowledge. The School of Informatics at Indiana University Purdue – University Indianapolis (IUPUI) has been given licences of Water's Empower 2 software, NuGenesis SDMS software and eLab Notebook software, components of the company's Laboratory Informatics suite.

According to Pat Martell, director of informatics at Waters, "The value of informatics is that scientists within a company are able to collaborate with each other. With this donation, today's students and tomorrow's scientists can learn how to collect, analyse, store and share all types of scientific data to advance knowledge about drug discovery, development and manufacture throughout the organization."

The IU School of Informatics was established in 2000 and is the first school in the US to offer a degree in the field of informatics. The school has nearly 1600 undergraduate and graduate students enrolled at programmes in three different campuses.

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