BERKELEY, CA -- In recent years, the science of biology has been dominated by genomics the study of genes and their functions. The genomics era is now making way for the era of proteomics the study of the proteins that genes encode. Future proteomics research should see a substantial acceleration with the development of a new device that provides the first monolithic interface between mass spectrometry and silicon/silica-based microfluidic "lab-on-a-chip" technologies. This new device, called a multinozzle nanoelectrospray emitter array, was developed by scientists with the U.S. Department of Energys Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley Lab).
"Proteomics has become an indispensable tool in biological research, be it diagnostics, therapeutics, bioenergy or stem cell research, and mass spectrometry is proteomics enabling technology," said Daojing Wang, a scientist with Berkeley Labs Life Sciences Division who leads the proteomics research group and was the principal investigator behind the development of the multinozzle nanoelectrospray emitter.
"Lab-on-a-chip technology has enormous potential for proteomics research," Wang said, "but for this potential to be fully realized, a major advance in interfacing microfluidics with mass spectrometry is needed. Our device provides that interface."
Wang and Peidong Yang, a leading nanoscience authority with Berkeley Labs Molecular Foundry and Materials Sciences Division, and also a chemistry professor with the University of Californias Berkeley campus, co-authored a paper on this work which is being published by the American Chemical Society (ACS). The paper, which is now available in the on-line version. is entitled: "Microfabricated Monolithic Multinozzle Emitters for Nanoelectrospray Mass Spectrometry."
Other authors of the ACS paper were Woong Kim, a postdoctoral fellow in the Molecular Foundry, and Mingquan Guo, a postdoctoral fellow in the Life Sciences Division.
Contact: Lynn Yarris
DOE/Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory