Svein-Ole Mikalsen, Náttúruvísindadeildin
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Course in molecular analysis and mass spectrometry

A PhD course named ”Molecular analysis: Mass spectrometry and surrounding techniques” has been held at the Faculty of Science and Technology (NVD), University of the Faroe Islands.

The course started the 23. May, and the examination was the 27. June. Four students followed the course, and they are either PhD students, or are presently applying for the admittance to PhD studies at the University of the Faroe Islands or at foreign universities. The participants came from Umhvørvisstovan, Fiskaaling, Atlantic Biotech, and the Danish Technical University.

NVD has invested in a mass spectrometer, as this can strongly facilitate different kinds of molecular studies and research projects in the Faroe Islands. Mass spectrometry is a versatile and sensitive technique to analyse molecules of different kinds, and it can be combined with powerful separation methods like liquid chromatography or gas chromatography. Although such words may not tell the average person anything, the Faroe Islands are presently buying these kinds of analyses in other countries. For example, the blood sample that many Faroese have given in the CTD screening during the last couple of years have been analysed by mass spectrometry in Germany, and several of the pollutants in pilot whales have been analysed by mass spectrometry in Canada. An example of a mass spectrometric analysis of carnitine is shown in the figure. The intact carnitine molecule is indicated by the peak at 162, and fragments of the carnitine molecule are found at the peaks of 103, 102, and 85.

At the present time, there are three projects supported by Granskingarráðið that are planning to use the mass spectrometry facilities. The three projects are:
- “Heavy parallel sequencing of PCR amplicons” (Svein-Ole Mikalsen, NVD)
-  “Bioactive peptides – extraction and processing methods for marine secondary products” (Durita Dahl Djurhuus, Atlantic Biotech)
- “Proteoglycans (PGs), glycosaminoglycans (GAGs) and collagen in the connective tissue of fish muscle” (Ása Jacobsen, Fiskaaling)

Professor Svein-Ole Mikalsen has been the main teacher and responsible for the course. Associate professor Hóraldur Joensen and Dr. Jonhard Eysturskarð, Fiskaaling, have been contributing with lectures. The mass spectrometry facility is supported by a grant (“førleikamenning”) from Statoil. This support is gratefully acknowledged.