Graduate Student, Shannon Raab (IU, Clemmer Group) is just one of the many graduate students who will be working on the newly funded CBM projects in 2021.
The Center for Bioanalytic Metrology announced the launch of 10 new research projects to be carried out in 2021 by 13 faculty members and their students across the campuses of the University of Notre Dame, Purdue University and Indiana University. The projects were chosen by, funded by, and will be carried out in close collaboration with CBM’s Industry Advisory Board, which is comprised of AbbVie, Agilent, Bristol Myers Squibb, Corteva Agriscience, ExxonMobil, Genentech, Indiana Biosciences Research Institute, Lilly, Merck, Pfizer, Sartorius and Takeda.
CBM, a National Science Foundation-sponsored Industry-University Cooperative Research Center, is a joint venture that focuses the innovative problem-solving capabilities of faculty and students on the key measurement science concerns of industry members. The funded projects emerged from a yearlong process in which industry members defined urgent needs and faculty members proposed potential solutions.
The ten new projects launched by the center span a wide range of topics including innovations in biomass characterization, development of autonomous analytical instruments, new process analytical technologies for monitoring synthetic chemistry or therapeutic protein manufacturing and new applications of mass spectrometry in studying isolelectric focusing, aggregation of biomolecule therapeutics and high-resolution chemical imaging.
“We’re very pleased to see how the center can adapt to the ever-changing measurement science needs of our industry members” commented Notre Dame professor and Center Director Paul Bohn. “The CBM is building important collaborative bridges between academia and industry. We are familiarizing our faculty and students with the key problems and unmet needs of industry in the measurement science arena, while tackling challenging problems with significant ‘real world’ importance.” Lane Baker, Indiana University Site Director, added, “CBM has been coming together nicely since our launch in 2019. Over this past year, despite interruptions brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic, the group has developed a productive and friendly atmosphere that is mutually benefitting industry and university participants alike.”
“Our students are loving the CBM”, noted Garth Simpson, Purdue University Site Director. “Our first crop of Ph.D. students with experience on CBM projects are finding great positions in industry. They feel that working closely with industry scientists gives them a better sense of what to look for in a career outside of academia.”
At the center’s recent national meeting, held online because of travel restrictions, CBM industry members expressed similar enthusiasm at the opportunity to hire talented new Ph.D. scientists with experience that applies directly to their measurement science problems.
For those interested in learning more about CBM, please visit cbm.nd.edu
Please contact Chris.Welch@ICASE.center to find out more
Two project teams from the NSF Center for Bioanalytic Metrology (CBM) have recently received RAPID funding from NSF to pursue COVID 19-related research. A small team of researchers at IU, PU and ND will be returning to the labs as essential workers to pursue two different COVID research projects:
1) Charged Detection Mass Spectrometry (CDMS) and Ion Mobility Spectrometry (IMS) for essential measurements for characterizing newly developed vaccine and therapeutic candidates for COVID-19.
Martin Jarrold, David Clemmer and students at IU will be employing charge detection mass spectrometry (CD-MS) and Ion Mobility Spectrometry (IMS) to investigate the structure of developmental COVID 19 vaccines and therapeutics. Analytical and measurement science support of vaccine and biomolecular therapeutic research is notoriously difficult - a 'black box' experimental challenge where pieces of evidence from several techniques are assembled to provide limited understanding. The molecules in question are often too big and complex for standard methods, and many questions about heterogeneity, stoichiometry and structure cannot easily be answered. The unique CDMS and IMS tools at IU will allow researchers to directly observe inactivated viruses, 'dummy' viral particles without nucleic acids, bioconjugates containing immunogens on a hapten carrier, oligonucleotides, antibodies complexed to target proteins, antibodies bound to viral particles, etc. These instruments are starting to revolutionize analysis relating to bioconjugation, vaccine development and the development of gene therapies and protein therapeutics (link). By making this unique instrumentation generally available to researchers working on Covid 19 vaccines across the NSF network of government, industry and academic researchers we can speed vaccine development, quickly addressing the challenging measurement science problems that will inevitably arrive during the race to develop a vaccine.
Please reach out to researchers within your organizations to identify opportunities where this unique technology could help to speed the development of COVID 19 vaccines and therapeutics. Initial surveys that will be suitable for inclusion in student research publications can be performed under the auspices of the NSF RAPID project. Please contact Chris.Welch@ICASE.center to find out more about submitting samples for analysis or providing additional funding to help support this research.
2) Point of Care Rapid Quantitation of the Human Immune Response to COVID 19
Merlin Bruening (Notre Dame), Jacqueline Linnes (Purdue) and students and postdocs from their team will develop methods for rapid quantitation of the human immune response to COVID-19. These analyses will be vital for low cost, point of care differentiation between those who have never been infected, those who are currently infected and those who have recovered from infection. Understanding antibody titer over time will be important for investigating the problem of fading immunity and determining if convalescent plasma will be appropriate for therapeutic studies. Bruening and Linnes are a proven team who are currently collaborating on inexpensive point of care assays using a combination of Bruening’s innovative membrane immobilization technology, which provides enhanced signal brightness for point of use assays, and Linnes’ expertise in the development of thin strip microfluidic diagnostic devices. The team will work with industry partners and with the thin film manufacturing center at Purdue to quickly understand costs and options for rapid large-scale manufacturing. Please contact Chris.Welch@ICASE.center to find out more about collaborating with this team or providing additional funding to help support this research.