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The MinnMass Winter meeting will be held on February 20th at 7pm (food at 6:30pm).  We will meet in the Food Science and Nutrition Building on the St. Paul Campus of the University of Minnesota, room 23.  Parking is available in front of the building for $4. Dinner will be provided.

Speaker:  Dr. Silvia Balbo, Assistant Professor, Division of Environmental Health Services, University of Minnesota

Title:  High resolution mass spectrometry-based approaches for the investigation of carcinogenesis

Abstract:  Characterizing chemical exposures and their health effects in humans remains a significant challenge. This is due in part to the difficulties related to capturing the complexity of exposures and their interaction with biological systems, and to the fact that markers that can help disentangle this complexity are often at trace levels. Improved tools providing greater analytical sensitivity, combined with more comprehensive screening, are needed to move this field of research forward.  Our laboratory is focusing on developing state-of-the-art high-resolution mass spectrometry-based methods to characterize the exposome and determine how it may interact with cellular targets which play key roles in carcinogenesis. We have recently developed a neutral loss screening and relative quantitation strategy to characterize reactive carbonyls in biological fluids and a metabolic profiling method for the tobacco-specific carcinogen NNK. In parallel, we are working on establishing a DNA adductomic approach based on a  data dependent-constant neutral loss-MS3 (DDA-CNL/MS3) methodology as a comprehensive screening method to characterize all covalent DNA modifications (DNA adducts), induced by various exposures. These methods are based on the use of high-field orbital trap instrumentation (Thermo Scientific Orbitrap Fusion) which is very well suited for the analysis of challenging low-abundance, high-complexity samples. These instruments provide rapid high resolution accurate mass scanning features, allowing for a high MS2 sampling rates, and efficient quadrupole isolation of ions resulting in high quality MS2 and MS3 spectra. Here we present examples of applications of these approaches for the characterization of the metabolism of carcinogens from tobacco and alcohol exposure, as well as for the characterization of DNA damage deriving from exposure to alkylating compounds. The integrated MS-based methods we are developing are aimed at generating new comprehensive tools for the characterization of exposures in humans and their effects on DNA.

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