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Integrating high performance mass spectrometry tools with application in life science

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Collaboration with North America on mass spectrometry

To understand cellular and molecular processes, we need tools that allow us to infer what is happening on these small scales. Collaboration between scientists in the EU and North America has improved our understanding of one such tool: mass spectrometry.

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The building blocks of life are biological molecules too small to be seen with the naked eye, such as proteins and DNA. To study these molecules and how they interact, we need specialised tools and people who know how to use them. One technique for characterising, identifying and quantifying molecules is mass spectrometry. Recent advances in mass spectrometry have allowed new applications of this technique, particularly in the life sciences, such as the large-scale study of proteins. EU-funded scientists from the MSLIFE (Integrating high performance mass spectrometry tools with application in life science) initiative collaborated with researchers in North America to share knowledge and expertise about these emerging applications for mass spectrometry. Researchers from the two regions collaborated on six research projects involving mass spectrometry techniques. The topics they investigated included characterising protein structures, understanding proteins involved in disease and explaining interactions between biological molecules. To carry out these research projects, scientists from the two regions embarked on a staff and student exchange programme. They also held joint conferences, tutorials and workshops to share knowledge. Through this collaboration, the scientists and students have improved their understanding of mass spectrometry. They have also developed new applications for this technique in the life sciences and improved cooperation between laboratories on the two continents. MSLIFE has generated knowledge in the understanding of disease, among other areas. And because of skills development, more such knowledge will be generated in the future through this initiative.

Keywords

Mass spectrometry, molecules, proteins, life sciences, MSLIFE

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