Doctoral fellow - Atomic & Mass Spectrometry – A&MS research unit (Faculty of Sciences, UGent)
Principal investigator: prof. Frank Vanhaecke (PhD)
Proteins and metabolites are the key biomaterials in life systems, but many need the aid of trace metals to exert their biological functions. In addition, essential metal(loid)s can also be toxic or hazardous to organisms, affecting their biological systems depending on their concentration and chemical form. Thus, a metal(loid) fingerprint of organs, cells and secreted cellular fragments (extracellular vesicles) may provide new insights in cancer biology and new biomarkers for cancer progression (prognostic biomarkers) and treatment responsiveness (predictive biomarkers).
Inductively coupled plasma – mass spectrometry (ICP-MS) is the most powerful technique for (ultra-)trace elemental analysis in a large variety of sample types. ICP-MS instrumentation has been improved continuously and significantly over the last years, allowing absolute detection limits down to the attogram level (10-18 g). Next to unprecedented detection capabilities, recent developments in this field, such as the introduction of instrumentation capable of providing full elemental mass spectra at a very high data acquisition speed, have rendered ICP-MS ideally suited for trace element determination in a biomedical context and for analysis of discrete entities, such as single cells.
The ultimate goal is to establish a basis for a future integration of the metal(loid) signature as a prognostic and/or predictive biomarker in cancer.
In 2020, I received my Master of Science in Chemistry degree and joined the Atomic & Mass Spectrometry - A&MS research unit at the University of Ghent, led by Prof. Dr. Vanhaecke, to start my journey as a PhD Student.
Contact & links
- Lab address: Atomic & Mass Spectrometry – A&MS research unit, Ghent University, Department of Chemistry, Campus Sterre, Krijgslaan 281-S12, 9000 Gent