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Essential Reading

How old is Kyrenia?

The famous Hellenistic-era shipwreck, Kyrenia, was accidentally discovered in the 1960s by a scuba-diver. The exact date of sinking remains unknown – but such information could reveal more about the people of the Classical Period and ancient ship technology. Previous research suggests that Kyrenia sank 296–271 BCE, but Sturt Manning from Cornell University and his colleagues have recently discovered that the shipwreck might have been earlier. The interdisciplinary research team radiocarbon dated wooden materials, along with almonds and other short lived items found within the ancient ship, using accelerator mass spectrometry to revise the radiocarbon calibration curve of Kyrenia. “This revised curve 400-250 BCE now has relevance to other problems that researchers are working on, whether in Europe or China or somewhere else in the northern hemisphere,” said Manning in a press release.

TB drugs on your fingerprints…

Tuberculosis (TB) patients often do not complete the full course of their antibiotics, leading to treatment failure and drug-resistant TB. But doctors might only need a patient’s fingerprint to monitor drug administration – after a research team from the University of Surrey recently demonstrated that finger sweat can be used for convenient and non-invasive testing. The researchers employed liquid chromatography-mass spectrometry to analyze finger sweat samples from TB patients who had previously ingested anti-TB drug, isoniazid – successfully detecting the antibiotic after 1–6 hours of administration.

“Up until now, blood tests have been the gold standard for detecting drugs in somebody’s system. Now we can get results that are almost as accurate through the sweat in somebody’s fingerprint. That means we can monitor treatment for diseases like tuberculosis in a much less invasive way,” said corresponding author Melanie Bailey in a press release.


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Worth Your Time…

James Urban and colleagues introduce CandyCrunch – a deep learning-based platform that can predict glycan structure from tandem MS data – with hopes to democratize glycomics. Link 

Genomic analysis with MassARRAY (mass spectrometry with end-point polymerase chain reaction) could aid in tool development for the conservation of Ninu – a unique Australian marsupial. Link

Analysis of urine samples from pregnant women – using UPLC-triple quadrupole MS – revealed elevated levels of BPA and BPF (known endocrine disruptors), linked with low birth weight in infants. Link 

Researchers discover unique lipid structures that allow comb jellies to adapt and survive under intense pressure – using mass spectrometry. Link 

Community Corner

Congratulations to Carol Robinson! 

With a Damehood, several awards (and Power List entries!) to her name, you’d think Carol Robinson’s career couldn’t get more decorated. And yet, the native MS pioneer has extended her impressive collection with a Lifetime Achievement award from the European Patent Office – just days after receiving an honorary doctorate from Cambridge University!

Robinson’s “innovative approach to mass spectrometry” has changed how researchers investigate proteins – enabling them to preserve their native state during analysis and dig deeper into the dynamics of proteins within their natural environments. Today, native MS has become essential in biochemistry labs, according to Joseph Loo. 

Robinson also broke major barriers in academia, becoming the first female Chemistry Professor at Oxford and Cambridge following an eight-year career break. “Many people doubted that I would return to research because it would be so difficult, but I was determined to try. When I did return, it was no straightforward task – I applied for various posts and eventually had to take a more junior position in which I had next-to-no input into the research taking place,” she revealed in an interview with The Analytical Scientist in 2019.

“I felt a huge responsibility to show that women can flourish in this field, and I would say that I have achieved that. Today, the ratio of male to female professors is more even, and it’s great to see so many women on the programs for key conferences and so on, but – of course – there is still some way to go.”

Our warmest congratulations to Carol Robinson! 

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About the Author
Markella Loi

Associate Editor, The Analytical Scientist

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