TAPs for Thermo Fisher

Company and U.K.’s U of Birmingham become Technology Alliance Partners to advance LC-MS techniques in life-science research

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SAN JOSE, Calif.—Thermo Fisher Scientific Inc. has enteredinto a Technology Alliance Partner (TAP) agreement with scientists at theUnited Kingdom's University of Birmingham, with whom it will work to accelerateresearch in high-resolution accurate mass and triple quadrupole liquidchromatography-mass spectrometry for life-science applications.
The partnership builds upon the University of Birmingham'sSystems Science for Health initiative, which focuses on introducing a varietyof life-science technologies into clinical research. It follows almost a decadeof collaboration between the two organizations, and includes engaging inresearch, sharing samples and data that could lead to development of bettertechniques, exchanging ideas for improving instrument and software performance,ongoing conversations about current technology issues, promoting the trainingof graduate students and publishing new methodology and scientific advances.
The alliance will focus on two research areas. In the first,metabolomics, the Thermo Fisher Scientific team will work with the laboratoriesof Prof. Mark Viant and Dr. Warwick Dunn to develop and test new hardware andsoftware approaches for metabolite detection and identification for environmentaland clinical research. In the second, proteomics, the company will work withDr. Helen Cooper's lab to exploit high-resolution mass spectrometry andgas-phase ion chemistry for top-down and bottom-up analysis of proteins.
"Top-down analysis uses MS/MS to analyze intact proteins,"explains Martin Hornshaw, Thermo Fisher's European marketing manager oflife-science mass spectrometry.
This is, Hornshaw says, inherently a sensitivity issue.Bottom-up analysis involves digesting proteins into peptides, which are used assurrogates for the proteins and for which MS provides very sensitive analysis.
"The University of Birmingham scientists share our drive tomake the world healthier, cleaner and safer," says Iain Mylchreest, vicepresident, research and development at Thermo Fisher Scientific. "We lookforward to a very productive collaboration with this innovative, creative groupfor advancing metabolomic and proteomic research."
"We are excited to become Thermo Fisher Scientific's firstTechnology Alliance Partner within Europe," says Prof. Adam Tickell, theuniversity's pro vice chancellor for research and knowledge transfer. "Weanticipate that innovations from this research will translate directly intoimproved healthcare and environmental diagnostics. We are particularly excitedby Thermo Fisher's commitment to supporting graduate research."
Thermo Fisher Scientific's TAP program is an ongoinginitiative to drive innovation through the sharing of ideas and expertisebetween a number of academic research laboratories and the company.
"TAP is basically a mechanism to formalize a relationshipwith scientists who are our good customers," explains Hornshaw. "Maybe theywant to build larger, better capabilities or access cutting edge technology.Maybe we want to beta test something new and their expertise is important tous. In general, we provide hardware, software and/or consumables. Projects aredefined by the university scientists. An example might be measurements of thebiomarkers of disease. Also, they are looking at the biomarkers ofenvironmental damage detectable in microorganisms." 
In the United States, Thermo Fisher Scientific has similarprograms in place with the Barnett Institute at Northeastern University inBoston and scientists at Princeton University.
"The University of Birmingham is our first Europeanpartner," Hornshaw notes, "and we are actively looking for others."

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