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R'Equip grant proposal for a MALDI ToF mass spectrometer

English title R'Equip grant proposal for a MALDI ToF mass spectrometer
Applicant Kilbinger Andreas F. M.
Number 139147
Funding scheme R'EQUIP
Research institution Département de Chimie Université de Fribourg
Institution of higher education University of Fribourg - FR
Main discipline Material Sciences
Start/End 01.04.2012 - 31.03.2013
Approved amount 250'000.00
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All Disciplines (2)

Material Sciences
Neurophysiology and Brain Research

Lay Summary (English)

Lay summary

Matrix Assisted Laser Desorption/Ionization Time of Flight (MALDI-ToF) mass spectrometry is a method that allows the detection of a charged molecule's mass using a precise time measurement.

This technique is particularly useful for the detection of macromolecules, for example natural macromolecules such as proteins and peptides but also synthetic macromolecules such as polymers.

The MALDI ToF MS technique will benefit a large number of groups at the University of Fribourg carrying out research in different areas:

Measuring the precise mass of a synthetic polymer allows not just the calculation/determination of its size but also gives valuable information with regard to the chemical nature of the end groups, i.e. the polymer chain ends. These end groups are often important for attaching the polymer to other molecules or surfaces.

The MALDI ToF MS will be used for the precise identification of proteins, synthetic graphite fragments and supramolecular polymers containing coordinated metals within the main chain.

In addition, mass spectroscopic analysis of peptide analytes immobilized on nanoparticles will help to better understand the molecular mechanisms of the neurochemical processes in the so-called deep brain stimulation, a technique which can successfully alleviate motor disorders in patients with Parkinson's disease.  

Direct link to Lay Summary Last update: 21.02.2013

Responsible applicant and co-applicants

Associated projects

Number Title Start Funding scheme
121813 Neue antibakterielle Oberflächen auf Implantat- Materialien 01.10.2008 Project funding (Div. I-III)
129656 Functional Supramolecular Polymers 01.06.2010 Project funding (Div. I-III)
126055 Conditional triggered drug release 01.07.2010 NRP 62 Smart Materials
156346 Translational neuropeptidomics of major depressive disorder 01.12.2015 China
123373 Advances in Nanoparticle Engineering with a focus on Stability, Surface, and Particle-Cell Interaction 01.10.2009 SNSF Professorships
135405 Metal-Containing Polymers 01.04.2011 Project funding (Div. I-III)
137775 Functional Living Olefin Metathesis Polymers: Methodology Development and Applications 01.10.2011 Project funding (Div. I-III)
137774 Functional nanoscopic objects via polymerisation of sequence-controlled oligoaramides 01.10.2011 Project funding (Div. I-III)


Matrix assisted laser desorption/ionization time of light mass spectroscopy (MALDI ToF MS) is the molecular mass characterization method of choice for synthetic polymers, peptides and proteins due to its high sensitivity, high resolution, large mass range and not at least its ease of operation. At the University of Fribourg, which currently does not own a MALDI ToF mass spectrometer, research groups from Chemistry, Medicine and the Adolphe Merkle Institute would greatly benefit from the local availability of a MALDI ToF mass spectrometer. The research addressed by these groups ranges from mechanistic investigations with regard to stereospecificity/selectivity of ring opening metathesis termination reactions and the synthesis of shape persistent amphiphiles which are expected to show new and unusual aggregation behavior (Kilbinger) to responsive metallosupramolecular polymers containing coordinative metal-ligand bonds within the polymer main chain (Weder) and telechelic polymers with metal coordination sites at their chain ends (Fromm), as well as the characterization of well-defined synthetic graphite fragments and their supramolecular aggregation. In most of the aforementioned projects, the end-groups of large macromolecules are highly important. Therefore MALDI ToF MS is ideally suited to the exact identification of the end-group mass. The group of Fromm additionally investigates the scavenging of silver nanoparticle binding peptides and their characterization by MALDI ToF MS. The groups of Rainer and Fink propose the use of high surface area nanoparticles to immobilize (scavenge) peptide analytes which can subsequently by characterized by MALDI ToF MS. These can lead to a better understanding of the molecular mechanisms of the neurochemical processes in the so-called deep brain stimulation, a technique which can successfully alleviate motor disorders in patients with Parkinson's disease (Rainer).This short overview demonstrates the breadth of research activities being carried out within the faculty of sciences at the University of Fribourg that can significantly profit from the local implementation of a MALDI ToF mass spectrometry facility. The Chemistry Department already has 1.6 technician positions permanently assigned to the service and maintenance of its current mass spectrometers and can provide the space, expertise and manpower for the operation of the new MALDI ToF mass spectrometer. The faculty of science has guaranteed a matching fund of CHF 250.000 to cover 50% of the total cost of the MALDI ToF mass spectrometer.