Dr. Dil Ramanathan's Students Learn to Conduct Mass Spectrometry Research

04.06.15

Biological mass spectrometry (MS), applied to drug discovery and development challenges, provides a powerful means for educating and training undergraduates and graduates in both basic and applied research from many disciplines. 

There is a national shortage of resources available to train students in the development of the experimental protocols needed to conduct studies, process samples, analyze samples, and interpret MS data. With support of the SpF program and under the direction of Dr. Dil Ramanathan, three NJCSTM undergraduate students spent the summer first learning how to use state-of-the-art analytical biological mass spectrometry instrumentation and then developing novel methods to improve and speed up the drug discovery and development processes.

Students performed a series of experiments using various host cyclodextrins (CDs) and organic guest molecules that varied in size. They learned how to interpret mass spectrometry data to understand how each guest will dock inside a particular CD. Students also learned to develop methods to perform Hydrogen/Deuterium Exchange mass spectrometry (HDX-MS) studies. They prepared and rank ordered host-guest complexes that had strong and weak interactions.

In addition, they identified the appropriate organic moiety with the useful size and shape to form the best complex with a particular CD. Finally, students used novel methods (uHPLC- HRMS and HDX) with drugs (paclitaxel, docetaxel, doxorubicine, etc.) as guest molecules to establish a validated method which can be shared with pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies.