An Eye on Mobility
Sitting Down With… Erin Baker, Associate Professor, Department of Chemistry, North Carolina State University, Raleigh, California, USA.
Where does ion mobility fit into your research?
We like to combine multiple analytical techniques to gain answers to complex questions. Ion mobility is great for separating molecules of the same molecular weight and studying their structures – this structural information can then be used in combination with other separations to improve molecular identifications. We work across omics fields -proteomics, lipidomics, metabolomics, exposomics, glycomics - and ion mobility is invaluable when it comes to separating isomers in these studies.
For example, in lipidomics, we’re trying to determine if different double bond positions are related to disease states by comparing samples from healthy patients with those suffering from a given disease. Our main focus, however, is the combination of different omic analyses – or multiomics. Here, we try to gain a more systems-level (holistic) view of the protein, lipid and metabolic changes to paint a more complete picture of the impact of a disease. When studying toxins, for instance, we can use exposomics to quantify toxin levels in a patient, and then proteomics to study potential changes in protein levels, which gives a more rounded view of how that toxin makes a person sick.
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