Department Seminar

Combining Arrays and Mass Spectrometry for High Throughput Discovery in Chemistry and Biology

Speaker Details:

Milan Mrksich
Henry Wade Rodgers Professor in Biomedical Engineering, Chemistry, and Cell and Molecular Biology
Northwestern University

Lecture Details:

April 13, 2017
12:30 p.m. - 1:20 p.m.
Foege N130A, Wallace H. Coulter Seminar Room


This talk will describe an approach for using mass spectrometry to analyze molecular arrays.  The arrays are prepared by immobilizing small molecules, proteins, peptides and carbohydrates to self-assembled monolayers of alkanethiolates on gold.  This arrays are then treated with reactants—either chemical reagents or enzymes—and then analyzed using the SAMDI technique to identify the masses of substituted alkanethiolates in the monolayer and therefore a broad range of reactivities and post-translational modifications—including kinase, protease, methyltransferase and carbohydrate-directed modifications—and for discovering chemical reactions.  This talk will describe applications to high throughput experiments, including the discovery of reactions, the use of carbohydrate arrays to discover novel enzymes, the preparation of peptide arrays to profile the enzyme activities in cell lysates and high-throughput screening to discover novel reactions and small molecular modulators.  These examples illustrate the broad capability of the SAMDI method to profile and discover molecular activities in the molecular sciences.

Speaker Bio:

Milan Mrksich is the Henry Wade Rogers Professor at Northwestern University, with appointments in the Departments of Biomedical Engineering, Chemistry, and Cell and Molecular Biology.  He also serves as the Founding Director of the Center for Synthetic Biology and as an Associate Director of the Robert H. Lurie Comprehensive Cancer Center.  He earned a BS degree in Chemistry from the University of Illinois and a PhD in Chemistry from Caltech.  He then served as an American Cancer Society Postdoctoral Fellow at Harvard University before joining the faculty at the University of Chicago in 1996.  He began his current position at Northwestern in 2011.  His many honors include the Camille Dreyfus Teacher-Scholar Award, the TR100 Innovator Award, Arthur C. Cope Scholar Award, election to the American Institute for Medical and Biological Engineering and the Illinois Bio ICON Innovator Awardee.


Professor Mrksich is a leader in the science and engineering of materials that contact biological environments.  His laboratory has pioneered several technologies, including strategies to integrate living cells with microelectronic devices, methods to enable high throughput assays for drug discovery, and approaches to making synthetic proteins for applications as therapeutics.