The central theme of our research is the development of new methods and techniques for rapid and sensitive analysis of organic environmental pollutants. One way we make our methods easy and fast is to exploit multi-dimensional selectivity through the use of molecularly imprinted polymers (MIPs) as selective uptake materials coupled with desorption ionization mass spectrometry methods (e.g. DESI-MS and MALDI-MS). We have a new Waters Xevo TQ-S UPLC-MS/MS equipped with a Prosolia 2-D Omnispray DESI source. We are also in the process of finishing the construction and commissioning of a clean room (ISO 6) for environmental control of the MIP fabrication process. Our methods have been applied to a range of environmental pollutants, including petroleum-related pollutants, drinking-water wastewater contaminants, and metabolites of nicotine.
We also have a new capillary electrophoresis (CE) system that to develop new method of analysis for polar analytes, particularly those associated with mining and industrial processes. This work has been funded by Vale (formerly INCO) and by Suncor.
Students involved in research in my group will employ a variety of analytical instrumentation, including HPLC-MS, GC-MS, UV-vis, NMR, etc., use experimental design approaches to optimized methods and may be expected to carry-out some rudimentary organic or inorganic syntheses. We are also involved in collaborative research, e.g. studying of thiosalts in mining waste, with a goal of developing strategies to minimize environmental impact of human activities and improve the quality of the environment.