- Bioanalytical mass spectrometry (MS)
- Ion Mobility, particularly high-field asymmetric waveform ion mobility spectrometry (FAIMS)
- Metabolomics and metabolism
- Emerging MS technologies
Development of small molecule quantification methods using liquid chromatography – mass spectrometry (LC-MS). These methods fall into one of two areas: (A) Methods required to answer pertinent research questions, or (B) methods for routine use in diagnostic testing. A main part of this research involves the need to improve (or create new) diagnostic methods to test veterinary drug residues at the CFIA. In some instances, the methods will involve the implementation of FAIMS to improve detection limits (research area 2), and may also require the use of untargeted or metabolism workflows to identify the most suitable analytes (research areas 3 and 4).
Advancing high-field asymmetric waveform ion mobility spectrometry (FAIMS) and implementing FAIMS to improve quantification methods. This research area involves a collaboration with Thermo Fisher, a prominent MS instrument manufacturer, to further develop FAIMS and the utility of FAIMS in small molecule research. FAIMS is being used primarily to reduce chemical background and is being implemented in methods that suffer from a high chemical background.
Development and implementation of LC-MS untargeted and semi-untargeted metabolomics methods. My research uses accurate mass instrumentation (Thermo Q-Exactive) to develop/modify untargeted metabolomic workflows. A major part of the development of these workflows includes collaborations with other research groups at the University of Saskatchewan. Notably, in collaboration with the Plant Sciences department, we have been investigating polyphenol profiles of pulse crops. Our work has provided important information for breeding and pulse crop improvement. The workflow is also being used to look for key differences between healthy and disease states.
Adapting a metabolism workflow to discover metabolites of veterinary drugs to improve the Canadian Food Inspection Agency’s (CFIA) diagnostic methods. Some diagnostic analytical methods at the CFIA rely on the detection of analytes that were discovered based on older technologies that are now outdated. The metabolism workflow is based on Thermo’s Compound Discoverer software, and we implement powerful tools to search for unexpected metabolites, especially in rapidly metabolized drugs. These metabolites can be used as more suitable biomarkers for quantitative methods.
In addition to these projects, my research focuses on the creation and/or evaluation of new/emerging knowledge and technology for use with mass spectrometry, particularly in metabolomics and small molecule quantification.