Modular high-end mass spectrometer for ultrasensitive quantification and imaging of small organic molecules in cross-health research - MSsmall-XH

01 May 2022 → 30 April 2026
Research Foundation - Flanders (FWO)
Research disciplines
  • Medical and health sciences
    • Neonatology
    • Pediatrics
    • Non-clinical studies
    • Pharmacokinetics
    • Analytical toxicology
mass spectrometric imaging ultrasensitive quantification small molecules cross health mass spectrometry
Project description

The current high-throughput multi-omics technologies, complemented with revolutionary micro- and nanoscopic imaging tools, offer amazing opportunities for holistic investigation and pathophysiologic understanding of diseases in both man and animals. However, the accurate and specific quantification of small organic molecules currently faces two major challenges: 1) the increasing availability of microsamples from biological origin having ever smaller sizes requires the increasing need for ultrasensitive quantification up to sub-pg/g (mL) level; 2) the unmet need for imaging and spatial distribution mapping of these small molecules in complex biological matrices. The proposed modular and nanoscale ultra-high performance liquid-chromatography tandem mass spectrometer holds the unique features to simultaneously fill both gaps in the current multi-omics workflow. We target the analysis of drugs, toxins and endogenous compounds, as well as their metabolites and biomarkers in in vitro and in vivo samples of human and animal origin. This unique instrument is currently not available in Belgium and will be embedded as shared facility within the UGent MSsmall Expertise Centre, established in 2017 with the ambition to support high quality life science research with state-of-the-art mass spectrometry equipment and expertise. Broad interest in this high-end technology is evidenced by the support of 23 promoters from several (bio)medical faculties of 3 Flemish universities.