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BioAnalytical Chemistry

The research of the Division of BioAnalytical Chemistry (BAC) focuses on the development and application of novel, multidimensional analytics for the molecular understanding of biological and chemical processes and the elucidation of biopharmaceutical and drug characteristics.

In order to gain detailed insights in highly complex samples and heterogeneous (macro)molecular structures and networks, methodological innovation is key. We thereby focus on state-of-the-art mass spectrometry combined and/or integrated with molecular spectroscopy, advanced separation techniques, and bioactivity detection. Hyphenation, integration, miniaturization and automation, are important aspects to face demands on selectivity, sensitivity, specificity, speed and data handling. The BAC Division teamed up synergistically with the Analytical Chemistry group of the UvA within the Centre for Analytical Sciences Amsterdam (CASA), the recognized national focus point for analytical chemistry. CASA encompasses strong research collaborations (incl. public-private partnerships), shared facilities, and a highly successful international MSc track in Analytical Sciences. The BAC Division comprises two chairs:

Prof. Dr. Govert Somsen - Chair of Biomolecular Analysis / Analytical Chemistry

The Biomolecular Analysis / Analytical Chemistry (Somsen) group focuses on the development of novel analytical methodologies for the elucidation of sample complexity and molecular heterogeneity. The group’s main interests are: (i) the compositional and conformational characterization of intact (bio)macromolecules using selective and native separation in combination with high-resolution (tandem) mass spectrometry and optical spectroscopy; (ii) the development and application of high-resolution screening technologies enabling simultaneous probing of bio-activity and identity of (unknown) compounds in complex samples; (iii) Toxicological and forensic analysis of drugs and their metabolites in biofluids with particular attention to isomer- and chiral selectivity.

Prof.dr. Anouk M. Rijs - Chair of Analytics of Biomolecular Interactions

The Analytics of Biomolecular Interactions (Rijs) group integrates molecular spectroscopy with (ion mobility) mass spectrometry to understand complex biological processes at the molecular level via characterization of molecular structure, intra/inter-molecular interactions and structural changes. The group is particularly interested in peptide and protein aggregation related to neurodegenerative diseases, but also how aggregation is relevant for biological function, biopharmaceuticals, and bio-engineering of smart materials. Within the recent awarded VICI project, a unique, 4-dimensional IR-MS based technology is being developed to probe both structure and kinetics in one single experiment. This will be achieved by combining droplet-based microfluidics electrospray ionization and ion mobility mass spectrometry with IR spectroscopy. Initially, we will use this novel approach to understand the aggregation mechanism of Parkinson’s disease in order to ultimately control and inhibit the aggregation process. 


The following subgroups are associated with these chairs:

Dr. Jeroen Kool - Integrated bioactivity screening technologies

Dr. Isabelle Kohler - Forensic analytical toxicology and metabolomics

Dr. Rob Haselberg - Characterization of intact and native biomacromolecules

Melissa Bärenfänger - Protein and glycan (ion mobility) mass spectrometry

Isabelle Kohler and Hany Majeed in Atlas

Isabelle Kohler and Hany Majeed in Atlas

Designer drugs are sometimes so similar that it is difficult to distinguish them from each other. This also applies to the designer drug 3-MMC, which has recently been banned. That is why techniques are needed to determine with certainty which drug it is. AIMMS scientists Isabelle Kohler and Hany Majeed were featured in the scientific TV program Atlas (from 5:20 – in Dutch!) to talk about it. Watch the clip here