Promoting Science Education in Pittsburgh and Nationwide

Grand Prize Poster Award Winners

Pittcon is partnering with NOBCChE for the first time this year to sponsor a Poster Competition for research involving analytical chemistry or progress made in chemical measurement science development or application. There will be awards for an outstanding undergraduate and graduate student with work in this general area. The Award will include a prize and support for the student to attend and present their work at the Pittcon 2017 Conference in Chicago, Illinois. The Poster Awards will be granted upon judgement of the posters at the NOBCChE annual conference.

Joseph Mwangi

University of North Carolina at Greensboro (UNCG) – Grad Student

Joseph Mwangi is a 4th year PhD candidate in chemistry and biochemistry department at University of North Carolina at Greensboro (UNCG). His research involves development of new mass spectrometry based analytical methods for analysis of disease biomarkers. After completing his undergraduate studies in Chemistry (major) and Physics (minor) at Moi University, Eldoret and Masters at Kenyatta university, Kenya, he taught in Murang’a High school before earning a Japanese Government (Monbukagakusho) scholarship to Kobe University in Japan in 2009. He later moved to the US and worked briefly in developing online high school curriculum before joining UNCG for graduate studies in the Fall of 2013.

Jasmine Daniels

Texas Southern University – Undergraduate

Jasmine Daniels is a senior at Texas Southern University and will graduate in May with her B.S. in chemistry. She completed summer research at the University of Pittsburg in the SURF program under advisor of Dr. Renã Robinson. The RASR lab developed a technique called cPILOT, used enhance sample multiplexing and Jasmine’s task was to further proof this method. In the future, Jasmine plans to continue her education to receive a doctorate in chemistry and pursue a career in developmental research.

Victoria Norman

North Carolina A&T – Undergraduate

Victoria Norman is a third year Chemistry student at North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University from Upper Marlboro, Maryland. She is currently conducting research in the analytical laboratory of professor and mentor, Dr. Sayo Fakayode. Her research includes a purity analysis of adulterated natural and essential oils and most currently, an antibacterial study of natural and essential oils. This past summer she had her research entitled “Purity Analysis of Adulterated Essential Oils by FT-IR Spectroscopy and Partial-Least-Squares Regression “ published in the journal of Spectroscopy. In the future, Victoria plans to continue her education to receive a doctorate in chemistry and pursue a career as a research scientist.

Joseph Mwangi’s Abstract

Variation in the extent of ion fragmentation in traveling wave ion mobility mass spectrometry

Ion mobility spectrometry is an analytical technique that separates molecular ions in gas phase according to their size, shape and charge states. Ions travel at a velocity inversely proportional to their collisional cross section (CCS) which is a parameter describing the orientational average of collision rates between the ions and the buffer gas molecules, thus giving an insight into the molecular structure of the ions of interest. Besides identifying the shapes of ions, the coupling of ion mobility to mass spectrometry generates a synergistic outcome that enables separation of isobaric ions. The millisecond time for ion mobility separation makes it easy to be hyphenated with LC separation (mins) and mass filtering (μs).

Ions are heated at the desolvation stage in ESI or during the laser ablation in MALDI. Since ion mobility separation occurs under certain electric fields, ions are further heated. One of the commercially available instruments using this technique and widely used in research is Waters Synapt G2 which employs Triwave technology. Besides ion mobility separation, tandem mass spectrometry in either of the collision induced dissociation (CID) cells i.e. Trap and Transfer which sandwich the ion mobility (IM) cell, is possible. In this instrument, a helium gas flow cell is inserted just before the IM cell and it has been reported that the gas cools down the molecular ions. The extent of cooling by the helium gas is not known in the literature. In this study, using 10μM deoxycytidine monophosphate (dCMP) and 1μM berberine as molecular probe ions, we determined the extent of ion cooling as they traverse the ion mobility cell. The findings from this study have implications on the future applications of the Traveling wave technology as well as the ongoing efforts to further develop the ion mobility technique.

Jasmine Daniels’s Abstract

Christina King, and Renã A. S. Robinson, University of Pittsburgh
Novel Tags for Enhancing Sample Multiplexing

Quantitative proteomics analyses can consist of the use of heavy isotope containing compounds to tag peptides. Through isotopic labeling or isobaric tagging techniques, multiple samples are tagged, mixed, and analyzed simultaneously using mass spectrometry. Recently, our laboratory developed a technique that combines precursor isotopic and Isobaric tagging (cPILOT). cPILOT enhances sample multiplexing, reduces experimental costs and data acquisition times, and accommodates analysis of different sample types. Global cPILOT takes advantage of primary amine tagging with dimethylation at an acidic pH followed by tandem mass tagging (TMT) at a more basic pH. Overall, the goal of this project is to improve the efficiency of the labeling process and to reduce sample clean-up steps. Here we discuss a one-step tagging process through the generation of novel cPILOT reagents.

Victoria Norman’s Abstract

Use of FTIR Spectroscopy and Multivariate Regression Analysis for the Determination of Adulterated Wintergreen and Lemon Eucalyptus Oil Compositions

High therapeutic properties as well as high nutritional and market values of essential oils (EOs) make them ideal candidates for potential counterfeiting and adulteration with low quality, cheap oils by unscrupulous drug traffickers, cartel members, or individuals. The sale of EOs was approximately $5.5 billion in 2014 and is projected to reach $11.6 billion by the year 2022. The development of a low-cost analytical protocol that is capable of rapid and accurate detection of authenticity of counterfeited consumer goods continues to be an active research area of heightened interest to major stakeholders from various industries and government to enforcement agencies. This study reported a combined utility of an ordinary Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy (FTIR) and partial-least-square (PLS) multivariate regression for accurate determination of the % compositions of two EOs (wintergreen oil (WO) and lemon eucalyptus oil (LEO)) that were adulterated either with lemongrass essential oil (LO) or peppermint essential oil (PO). The FTIR of the calibration sample sets of known compositions of adulterated WO and LEO, with LO and PO were measured and subjected to PLS multivariate regression analysis. The developed PLS models were used to subsequently predict the % compositions of independently prepared validation samples of adulterated WO and LEO, with LO and PO. The figures-of-merit of the PLS regression models were excellent with good linearity (R2>0.999275) and limit-of-detection as low as 0.05 wt/wt%. A similar validation study for independent adulterated WO and LEO with LO resulted in low root-mean-square-relative-percent-errors (RMS%RE) of 0.81 % and 1.38%, with an average RMS%RE of 1.10%. The PLS regression models also correctly predicted % compositions of independent adulterated WO and LEO with PO with low RMS%RE of predictions of 2.10% and 2.52%, with an average of 2.31%. The simplicity, low-cost, high accuracy, and sensitivity of the reported protocol in this study is appealing with practical applications for routine consumer food products, quality control and quality assurance in the food, cosmetic, pharmaceutical, and agrochemical industry.

Keywords: Food-analysis, Essential-oils-adulteration, FTIR, multivariate-regression-analysis, Food-quality-assurance.