Lay summary
Electrophoresis is a key technology in genomics, proteomics and metabolomics (areas whose combined information will help to obtain an integrated understanding of cell biology), in clinical, forensic and pharmaceutical analysis, and in many other fields of application. Our research laboratory specializes in the exploration, development and application of novel approaches in analytical and preparative free fluid electrophoresis. Electrophoresis in free solution can be applied to small molecular mass compounds, peptides and proteins. Two projects are currently executed. Project A represents fundamental work dealing with electrokinetic transport and separations using theoretical predictions obtained by computer simulations and, whenever possible, experimental validation in capillaries. It is anticipated that our generalized, dynamic, high-resolution model for electrophoresis is employed to study anodic vs. cathodic electrophoretic salt mobilization in focusing and isotachophoresis in presence of a large number of carrier compounds. The underlying transport processes can thereby be studied and visualized under realistic time scales and complexity that were hitherto inaccessible. The investigated configurations are important for capillary electrophoresis-mass spectrometry (CE-MS) of proteins used in proteomics. Other fundamental investigations will be geared towards finding proper capillary electrophoretic conditions for analysis of alcohol markers in human serum and urine. Project B is concerned with enantiomeric resolution of low molecular mass pharmaceuticals and/or their metabolites. It is planned to apply enantioselective capillary electrophoresis to the exploration of the in vivo and in vitro stereoselectivity of the metabolism of drugs, including the biotransformation of ketamine to norketamine in horses, of mebendazole to hydroxymebendazole in echinoccocosis patients and of hydromorphone to hydromorphol in cancer patients. The data obtained in the two projects will contribute to the better understanding of electrokinetic separations and will pave the way for improved and widespread use of free fluid electrophoretic technology in proteomics, pharmaceutical and pharmacological sciences, clinical analysis and forensic case work. The proposed work will include collaborations with scientists in the Czech Republic, the US, Australia and Switzerland.