Laboratory of Organic Chemistry, ETH, Zurich, Switzerland
Q: WHAT IS THE FOCUS OF YOUR LAB’S RESEARCH?
A: Our laboratory focuses on the development of small molecules with functions that are fulfilled in nature by large macromolecules. We utilize the power of organic synthesis to access functionalities that nature might not have in the repertoire of building blocks. The focus is both on practical applications and an understanding of the properties on the molecular level. This scope includes the development of bioinspired asymmetric catalysts and functionalisable collagen, molecular scaffolds for applications in supramolecular and biological chemistry (e.g., cell-penetrating peptides and tumor targeting) and the controlled formation of metal nanoparticles.
Q: WHAT WAS YOUR PREVIOUS WORKFLOW OR CHALLENGES?
A: For the synthesis of building blocks and target molecules it is important to efficiently analyze and confirm their chemical structures. We routinely do this by, e.g., NMR spectroscopic analysis of the isolated and purified products. This involves the analysis of small molecules in our asymmetric catalysis projects as well as molecules with molecular weights of up to 2000 Da in our chemical biology and materials science projects. In particular for new reactions, fast and straightforward analysis methods for the newly formed compounds are important but challenging at the same time.
Q: WHY DID YOU INCORPORATE THE EXPRESSION CMS INTO YOUR LABORATORY?
A: The expression CMS allows us to efficiently analyze the mass of newly formed compounds in (almost) real time. We particularly value that the instrument allows us to monitor the reaction progress of crude mixtures. Separated on a TLC, products and potential side products can be identified, which results in an optimized and faster down-stream-processing, e.g. column chromatography, and only desired products are isolated on a preparative scale. Furthermore, the ASAP mode is very helpful and extremely fast, when looking for expected product masses, e.g. in the fractions of preparative HPLC separations – just dip it in and measure the MS… it takes 30 seconds per fraction. The possibility to easily switch between the ionization modes ESI and APCI as well to measure MS spectra in positive and negative mode in parallel is very helpful for a fast and reliable analysis.
Q: WHO WOULD YOU RECOMMEND TO PURCHASE THE EXPRESSION CMS?
A: We recommend the expression CMS in combination with the TLC-Reader Plate Express™ to any group working in the field of synthetic organic chemistry. The reliable and fast identification of molecules is extremely helpful to monitor reactions, to identify the desired products and potential side products, and to simplify downstream processing.