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Automated Biosystems Core

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Omni-Omics System

The VIIBRE Automated Biosystem Core's Omni-Omics system is built around a Waters Synapt G2 Ion Mobility-Mass Spectrometer (IM-MS), an automated Nikon Eclipse microscope and other real-time instruments and microfabricated bioreactors for sensing and controlling small populations of cells in microfluidic devices.

IM-MS System

This system was developed specifically to monitor the cellular secretions, or exometabolome, of microfluidically trapped cell colonies in near real-time using online sample processing prior to nESI-IM-MS analysis. Temporal resolution of up to 2 minutes is achievable through online solid phase extraction (SPE) on a dual column configuration. Capture times are customizable to provide flexible temporal resolution or sensitivity. Significantly, column packing material is equally customizable for diverse analyte capture. Additionally, inverted optical or fluorescent microscopy can be performed simultaneously. This platform provides the ability to capture comprehensive dynamic metabolic profiles.

The IM-MS has nanoelectrospray (nESI), matrix-assisted laser desorption ionization (MALDI), and ultraperformance liquid chromatography (UPLC) and gas chromatography (GC) sample preprocessing with automated sample handling. This source and separation diversity allows for customizable analysis for analyte classes of interest. For operating in nESI mode, an automated chromatographic desalting system uses a four-channel Exigent HPLC pump and allows us to conduct a proteomic / metabolomic screen every ten minutes – a major advance enabled by the replacement of slow, liquid-phase high-performance liquid chromatography with the millisecond separations provided by a gas phase-ion mobility system.

  Synapt G2


Synapt G2 with computer controlled microformulator that is able to prepare in one minute a µL of custom cell media delivered to cells in a multitrapnanophysiometer (MTNP) on a fully automated inverted fluorescence microscope (Nikon Eclipse) with a long-travel sub-micron resolution stage interfaced to an attached fluid-handling robot; real-time electrochemical sensing of cellular metabolites, including glucose and oxygen consumption, lactate production, and acidification; custom 96-wellplates with internal microfabricated cell traps and microfluidic perfusion control; and a computer-controlled microliter formulator to create microliter volumes of custom perfusion solutions in a minute or two.



 Principle of Operation  Chemical class-specific separation

Principle of operation of size-based separation for the ion mobility experiment.

Illustration of chemical class-specific separation of molecules in 2-dimensional IM-MS analysis. This forms the basis for performing nearly simultaneous integrated omics.


Microfluidic-coupled LC-IM-MS


A flow diagram of the current microfluidic-coupled LC-IM-MS experiment. Top to bottom: Viable cells stored and maintained in a microfluidic device are perfused with a custom cocktail of chemicals from a microformulator. Resulting cellular excretions are directed to a multiplexed UPLC setup, where salts are removed and sample is directed to the IM-MS in real-time. The IM-MS acquires simultaneous IM-MS and tandem IM-MS/MS data. Data is processed by multivariable statistical analysis in order to identify, quantify, and validate significant metabolic signatures. This combined with expression mapping (GEDI) of the entire system state generates a comprehensive list of metabolites for each time point.

For more information or to setup a consultation, please contact our Developmental IM-MS manager Cody Goodwin or Core Co-Manager Stacy Sherrod.

For more general information regarding mass spectrometry, please visit one of the following pages:
The McLean Group - Theory  
American Society for Mass Spectometry (ASMS)