The group’s projects are largely focused on lipids. These compounds are characterized using chromatography and MS with the aim of understanding their biologic roles. Our workflows encompass extraction of the biological material,fractionation, isolation of a lipid class of interest, and comprehensive characterization of lipid species. Ingenious MS approaches are used to elucidate lipid structures, including, for example, establishing double bond position(s).
The current projects are mostly concerned with rather non-polar lipids having long aliphatic chains. Such lipids are found on human skin and in the vernix caseosa, which covers the developing fetus. Our long-term involvement in vernix caseosa research has led to the discovery of several new lipid classes. MS imaging is used for visualizing the spatial distribution of various lipids on the surfaces of insect and plant samples, or in tissue sections. For instance, MALDI imaging is used to study lipids in the brains of mouse models of neuro- degeneration. We are also involved in numerous projects requiring identification, characterization, and quantification of other biomolecules such as proteins or nucleic acids. In addition to routinely used classical workflows, methods relevant for structural biology, including native, crosslinking, and hydrogen exchange MS, are being implemented to study noncovalent protein complexes. As regards instrumentation, we try to develop new types of ion sources for sensitive detection of various analytes.