SCIEX, a global leader in life science analytical technologies, today announced the first grant awarded to an academic researcher as part of its SCIEX Academic Partnership Program that was launched earlier this year. The recipient of the grant is Jeff McDonald, Ph.D., an associate professor in the Department of Molecular Genetics at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center. SCIEX is supporting this academic researcher's lipidomics work to help accelerate advancements toward the realization of personalized medicine.
SCIEX selected Dr. McDonald as the program's first grant winner because of the breakthrough work he is doing to advance lipidomics and metabolomics. Dr. McDonald is a leader in the field of lipidomics, and his work includes directing the mass spectrometry branch of the LIPID MAPS Sterol Core where they recently concluded a sterolomic analysis of the Dallas Heart Study, a 3200+ human subject cohort.
Dr. McDonald has ongoing collaborations with Phil Sanders, a senior research scientist at a leading pharmaceutical company, who pioneered direct infusion techniques using the TripleTOF 5600 platform, which will be the basis for the work at UT Southwestern. With access to extensive collections of biological samples at UT Southwestern, this academic researcher sees an opportunity for significant discoveries. Ultimately, lipidomic and metabolomic analysis of human samples will elucidate new understanding of disease states that will help in the development of treatments of metabolic diseases, such as obesity, hypertension and diabetes.
Prior to the grant from SCIEX, the team at UT was limited in what they could achieve in infusion-based lipidomics research and unable to apply the workflows that Sanders had developed. Funding to acquire the instrument had been a major challenge for Dr. McDonald and his team, who have been focused on lipidomics for the past eight years. The answer was SCIEX's program for academics.
"The SCIEX Academic Partnership program cleared the way for us to bring on campus the TripleTOF 5600+ system, which is exactly the technology needed by the lipid field to advance the study of lipidomics," said Jeff McDonald, Associate Professor at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center in Dallas. "SCIEX instrumentation is second to none, especially the Turbo V ion source, which is tough as nails and allows us to do things that simply cannot be done on other instruments. We wouldn't have the latest innovations in mass spectrometry at UT Southwestern if not for the company's academic partnership program. We appreciate and value SCIEX's support for academic research."
Through the Academic Partnership Program, SCIEX is providing grants to young investigators for promising research that illustrates exemplary use of mass spectrometry. The APP is a multi-faceted program designed to simplify the grant-writing process for researchers and provide access to technical expertise and support for advancing research in proteomics, metabolomics and lipidomics. To help unlock the secrets of diseases and areas of biology that need further exploration, SCIEX is partnering with academic researchers, with special emphasis on up-and-coming, young investigators in universities and non-profit research institutes.
The SCIEX Academic Partnership Program is comprised of three main components:
- A collection of ready-to-use reference material, organized by instrument type and application area, that researchers may cite in their research proposals.
- Direct access to regional technical specialists who can provide a wide range of assistance to scientists in the process of writing grant proposals.
- The opportunity to apply for a limited number of sponsorships when research goals are aligned with SCIEX's areas of focus. (Sponsorships will initially be granted in the U.S. and Canada only.)
"Academic research is critical for continued advancement toward the promise of personalized medicine in a post-genome era," said Ron Bonner, Principal Scientist, SCIEX. "The research that Dr. McDonald is doing at UT Southwestern is a prime example of how lipidomics can contribute to a better understanding of the application of network biology. We congratulate Dr. McDonald on winning this award and are pleased to be part of his efforts. Going forward, we also look forward to evaluating the next round of applications from other forward-thinking scientists who apply for future grants that we will provide several times a year through our partnership program."