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UT dedicates lab to analyze wide range of research jobs

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Ryan Carlson, left, and Derek Averill, technical support specialists, explain the operation of the mass spectrometer in the Shimadzu Laboratory for Pharmaceutical Research Excellence at the University of Toledo’s Health Science Campus. The lab, opened in 2015, was dedicated Thursday.

THE BLADE/DAVE ZAPOTOSKY
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A laboratory that opened in mid-2015 at the University of Toledo to benefit pharmaceutical, medical, and environmental research and education was dedicated Thursday. 

“We are excited about where it is going to take us,” said University of Toledo President Sharon Gaber. 

“It’s very important. ... We are going to do more studies and it will give us an opportunity and a cutting edge in cancer research and other fields.”

The lab allows monitoring of water quality and detection of dangerous algal toxins in Lake Erie more accurately and faster, according to event organizers. 

Amanda Bryant-Friedrich, UT associate professor of medicinal and biological chemistry, said when the lab was being planned, she talked to UT researchers involved in Lake Erie water studies, and made sure the lab could be used to detect the microcystin levels in the lake.

A Lake Erie algal bloom in the summer of 2014 caused high levels of microcystin that leeched into Toledo’s water, prompting a 56-hour ban on drinking tap water.

The dedication of the Shimadzu Laboratory for Pharmaceutical Research Excellence was sponsored by UT’s college of pharmacy and pharmaceutical sciences

It was held at the Health Education Building on the university’s Health Science Campus in South Toledo.

Shimadzu Scientific Instruments of Columbia, Md. — an analytical technologies corporation and the American subsidiary of Shimadzu Corp. of Kyoto, Japan — donated about $250,000 to UT to help finance the lab.

It opened in June at the Frederic and Mary Wolfe Center.

The centerpiece of the lab is a liquid chromatograph-mass spectrometer, one of the world’s largest according to Ms. Gaber. 

It is used to analyze a wide array of biological and environmental samples.

Liquid chromatography–mass spectrometry is a highly sensitive and versatile technique of identification and quantification of materials that combines the physical separation of the sample into its individual parts with the mass analysis capabilities of mass spectrometry, Ms. Bryant-Friedrich said.

The equipment can be used for teaching, drug discovery, and research of metabolism, disease biomarkers, and damage to DNA, according to event organizers. 

Ms. Gaber said it can be particularly useful in detection of cancer “at much earlier stages” and of low levels of contaminants.

Ms. Gaber said Ms. Bryant-Friedrich, is “at least partly if not fully responsible for the new lab.” 

Its creation was a result of five years that Ms. Bryant-Friedrich has worked with the college in cancer research, including three years of “trying to develop this lab,” according to Ms. Bryant-Friedrich.

“I am very excited,” she said. “This is a wonderful opportunity for UT studies and research.”

Contact Mike Sigov at: sigov@theblade.com, 419-724-6089, or on Twitter @mikesigovblade.

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