Marywood Science Department Receives Sanofi Pasteur Grant

Dr. Deborah Hokien proudly displays the new Liquid Chromatograph-Mass Spectrometer (LC-MS) purchased through a grant from Sanofi Pasteur, Inc. Photo Credit: Alison Trautmann

By Alison Trautmann
News Editor

In early fall of 2008, the Marywood Science Department was awarded a Sanofi Pasteur Grant.  The money received was used to purchase a Liquid Chromatograph-Mass Spectrometer (LC-MS).  The instrument purchased will be used by researchers and graduate students at Marywood.   In order to receive the grant, Dr. Peter Cimbolic and Dr. Lisa Antoniacci had to give a presentation to a Sanofi committee on how the instrument would benefit the science department and how it would be used.

According to Dr. Deborah Hokien, the LC-MS can be used in many different areas of science such as chemistry, pharmaceuticals and biology.  When asked about what the LC-MS does, Hokien said that “you can do things from looking at pollutants in the environment to analyzing medicines.”  The Liquid Chromatograph portion of the instrument separates compounds by solubility.  Then the Mass Spectrometer portion identifies the particular compounds found in the sample.  In simple terms, the instrument, if it was given a salad, would first separate the different portions of the salad and then tell the user that there were ten leaves of lettuce, five tomatoes, and six onions.  Due to the fact that the instrument is a Liquid Chromatograph it will be easier to use.  Liquid Chromatographs do not require a lot of preparation in order to be used.

The LC-MS is not a tiny instrument, it is about the size of a desk and a chemical hood is needed in order to vent it properly.  An entire room in the Center for Natural and Health Sciences is devoted to housing the LC-MS.  The LC-MS was purchased in November but it took a while for the room to be renovated so that it could be used.  The instrument was up and running in early March.  Shimadzu, the company that sold Marywood the instrument, will come back in June and train people in the use of the instrument.

Sanofi Pasteur, Inc. has previously given the science department money in order to build a new biotechnology laboratory.  The LC-MS will not be inside the new laboratory.  The LC-MS is reserved for the use of researchers and graduate students.  However, it is probable that it will eventually be available for undergraduate students in upper level classes to use.

Marywood is currently the only college in the local area to own an LC-MS.  As a result, Hokien said that acquiring the LC-MS “has given us a lot of visibility in the research community and we are anxious to begin using it for research.  We are very grateful to Sanofi for giving us this absolutely fantastic opportunity.”