18.10.2014
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Course in molecular analysis by mass spectrometry

NVD will organize the course “Molecular analysis: Mass spectrometry and surrounding techniques” (course number 3603) in November –December 2014. The course is at Master and PhD level.


Mass spectrometry is a versatile and sensitive technique to analyze molecules of different kinds. Mass spectrometry has been used in the large screening for CTD in the Faroese population during the last few years, but the actual analyses of the blood samples were performed in Germany. Mass spectrometry is also used in the surveys of pollutants, whether in organisms like humans and pilot whale, or in the environment. These pollutants have abbreviations such as PCB, dioxin, PAH, POPs, PFOA, PFOS, etc. The two latter compounds belong to the class of compounds that Pál Weihe and collaborators recently found to decrease the efficiency of vaccinations (Grandjean P et al., Serum vaccine antibody concentrations in children exposed to perfluorinated compounds. JAMA 307, 391-397, 2012). Several Faroese institutions have for some time been working with the aim of performing such analyses here in the Faroe Islands (see this link), because these compounds of toxicological interests for humans as indicated by the paper of Grandjean et al., and because it ought to be of interest for the Faroese fish industry. This spring Granskingarráðið decided to support an application from a consortium consisting of several public research institutions and fish industry companies (see this link and this link at page 7) aiming at analyzing perfluorinated compounds in fish. On a more daily basis, such compounds are used for the impregnation of shoes and modern rain clothes ("Gore-Tex"), and they are related to non-stick surfaces of cooking gears (Teflon). As a part of this project, Fróðskaparsetur Føroya will run the course "Molecular analysis: Mass spectrometry and surrounding techniques" during November-December. The theoretical part of course will describe how mass spectrometers work, how to interpret mass spectra, and there will be overviews of some techniques used in conjunction with mass spectrometry. In the practical part of the course there will be some hands-on experience with mass spectrometry and methods for sample preparation.  

The planned start of the course is 5th November, and lectures will be on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays. The course will give 7.5 ECTS, where 1 ECTS corresponds to 25 to 30 h of estimated workload of the student. During the course, each student must write an obligatory essay about use of mass spectrometry in their field of work, and what they potentially would be interested in using mass spectrometry for. There will be a 4 h written examination, but examination day has not been settled yet, but is likely to be either in the week 15-19 December or in the week 5-9 January. The cost of the course is 4000 DKK/participant.

Professor Svein-Ole Mikalsen, NVD, is the main instructor and responsible for the course. Associate professor Hóraldur Joensen, NVD, also contribute with lectures. Questions can be directed to Svein-Ole Mikalsen at sveinom(at)setur.fo. The course description is found here and the preliminary time schedule is found here.

The textbooks, which must be obtained by the students themselves (from Amazon, publisher or bookstore), are:

Edmond de Hoffmann and Vincent Stroobant: Mass Spectrometry – Principles and Applications, 3rd ed. Wiley 2007, ISBN 978-0-470-03311-1

and

Ingvar Eidhammer, Kristian Flikka, Lennart Martens, Svein-Ole Mikalsen: Computational Methods for Mass Spectrometry Proteomics. Wiley 2007, ISBN 978-0-470-51297-5.

Recommended supplementary textbook is: Jürgen H Gross: Mass Spectrometry – A Textbook, 2nd ed. Springer 2011, ISBN 978-3-642-10709-2.

Additionally, supplementary hand-outs will be used.

The number of participants will be limited to 4 due to limited laboratory facilities. The participant should have solid background in knowledge of molecules and/or molecular cell biology, like: 3512 General and inorganic chemistry, 3513 Organic chemistry, 3514 Biochemistry, 3518 Cell biology, 3516 Genetics and molecular biology and 3517 Microbiology; or equivalent courses. Experience in laboratory work exceeding the mentioned courses is strongly recommended. The application form is found here. The applications will be handled as they are received, and the latest accepted date of receival is 31st October. The application with relevant documentation is sent to NVD at helenah(at)setur.fo and with a copy to sveinom(at)setur.fo.

The mass spectrometry facility at NVD is supported by a grant (“førleikamenning”) from Statoil. The support is gratefully acknowledged.