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Professor Jim Scrivens, University of Warwick

Prof. Jim Scrivens and the scientists at Waters not only share a lot of history, they also share a vision of the future.

Jim and his group at the University of Warwick currently utilise ion mobility enhanced mass spectrometry in a range of projects covering large and small molecule research in the biological sciences. Ion mobility, however, is only one of several MS- related innovations that Prof. Scrivens has influenced in his history of collaborating with Waters during which period they have generated 25 peer reviewed joint publications and over a 100 conference presentations.

Together, Prof. Scrivens and Waters saw the future of MS-related work in the industry as incorporating not just the measurement of mass, but also shape. In collaboration, they created the SYNAPT® High Definition Mass Spectrometry (HDMS™) System, the first commercial shape-selective mass spectrometry instrument. Originally intended to study misfolded proteins, it allowed the collection of 200 high quality mass spectra in 18 milliseconds.

Working together with the research team at Waters, Prof. Scrivens and Waters scientists developed an ion mobility mass spectrometer based on travelling wave technology (Thalassinos et al 2004, Pringle et al 2007). This approach has been shown to provide significant advantages in enhancing the information content of proteomics experiments. Recent research into the utilization of ambient ionization experiments has resulted in a number of highly cited publications (Williams and Scrivens 2005, Williams, Patel et al 2006, Williams, Nibbering et al 2006, Williams, Lock et al 2006).

Cementing their relationship, Waters Inc. and Warwick University have entered into a research agreement aimed at supporting the growth, development and adoption of novel mass spectrometry technologies, such as HDMS. The agreement includes the establishment of the Waters Centre for BioMedical Mass Spectrometry and Proteomics at the University of Warwick, to assist researchers and analysts worldwide in the effective use of biomedical mass spectrometry.

Biological mass spectrometry with its speed, sensitivity and high information content can give us insights into complex biochemical pathways that simply isn’t possible with any other approach,” says Prof. Scrivens. “Working with Waters, I see a great future in biomarker discovery and the development of mass spectrometry-based medical diagnostic approaches, especially in blood disorders and dealing with diseases related to pregnancy, such as preeclampsia and Down syndrome.”

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