August 08, 2006

Mass spectrometry expert to speak at SIUC

by Tim Crosby

CARBONDALE, Ill. -- An expert in using a scientific technique known as mass spectrometry to identify molecules will speak on the subject during a visit to Southern Illinois University Carbondale this week.

Richard Knochenmuss, head of the Metabonomics Mass Spectrometry Laboratory at the Novartis Institutes of Biomedical Research in Basel, Switzerland, will hold three talks on the chemistry and physics of the matrix-assisted laser desorption/ionization, also known as MALDI. Knochenmuss' visit is part of the 2006 Boris Musulin Lecture Series, sponsored by the departments of chemistry and biochemistry and physics at SIUC.

Knochenmuss will speak at 4 p.m. today (Aug. 8), Aug. 9 and 10 in room A111 in the Engineering Building on the SIUC campus. Each lecture will discuss a different aspect of the processes involved in the technique, which scientists in many different disciplines can use.

The presentations are aimed at both scientists and the public, said Boyd Goodson, assistant professor of chemistry and biochemistry. Knochenmuss will describe the process, which uses lasers to convert solids to gas molecules. Once in the gas state, the MALDI process can examine the molecules to determine their mass. He also will discuss the underlying chemistry and physics of the process, Goodson said.

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