Author Archive

Emerging Investigator Series – Chris Baker

We are delighted to introduce our first Analytical Methods Emerging Investigator, Chris Baker!

Dr Christopher A. Baker earned his B.S. in Chemistry from Wayne State University in 2007, and his Ph.D. in Analytical Chemistry from Florida State University in 2012. He was a postdoctoral associate at The University of Arizona (2012-2014), and Sandia National Laboratories (2014-2015). Currently, he is an assistant professor in the Department of Chemistry at The University of Tennessee, Knoxville. The Baker Bioanalysis Lab at UTK specializes in separation science and biomimetic sensor technologies. They are developing new micro- and nanotechnologies to help understand cellular signaling processes involved in neuroendocrine disorders and cancer.

 

Read Chris’s Emerging Investigator series paper “Characterization of low adsorption filter membranes for electrophoresis and electrokinetic sample manipulations in microfluidic paper-based analytical devices” and find out more about him in the interview below:

 

 

Your recent Emerging Investigator Series paper focuses on the efficacy of zonal electrophoresis in microfluidic paper-based analytical devices. How has your research evolved from your first article to this most recent article?
The majority of my research, going back to the start of my training, has focused on microfluidic instrumentation and separation science, and these are still two core themes of the research program we’re building at UTK. As a grad student, I used to think a lot about how to use microfabrication to produce complex devices for intricate fluid manipulations. My first paper described an electrophoresis device with integrated electrokinetic fraction collection, which was a gnarly-looking microfluidic chip that operated via a jumble of high voltage wires. In this latest article, we’re thinking about ways to make microfluidic instrumentation more widely accessible, which in our lab means reducing materials costs and utilizing fabrication techniques that are affordable and widely available. The devices we describe in the current article are much simpler in capability, offering just the basic functions of sample injection and electrophoretic separation, but the trade-off comes in how simple and affordable they are to produce. In my early work we used photolithography to produce devices that cost on the order of $50 per device. The electrophoresis devices in the current article can be produced using a pair of scissors, and each one costs substantially less than $1.

What aspect of your work are you most excited about at the moment?
I think that microfluidics will play a significant role in the move towards personalized medicine. As we continue to develop tools and techniques that lower the cost barriers and increase access to microfluidic technologies, I’m hopeful that we’ll be helping to accelerating the transition to personalized and, perhaps more importantly, affordable and accessible healthcare.
I have a really talented team of dedicated students, and they’re working on a lot more than just making microfluidics more cost effective and accessible. Much of our work focuses on addressing challenging questions in neuroendocrinology by developing new technologies for bioanalysis. I’m really excited that on our way to developing these new technologies, we’re finding powerful intersections between new bioanalytical capabilities and affordable, accessible technologies.

In your opinion, what are the key design considerations for developing effective microfluidic paper-based analytical devices?
Let me confess, I am brand new to the world of μPADs, so there are far more qualified opinions on this matter. That said, our focus in this area has been on incorporating electrokinetic mechanisms into μPADs, which is an emerging area that comes with some unique design considerations. I think the two most important considerations are discussed in the current article, and they are: 1) Appropriate heat dissipation – Joule heating in these devices is no joke! We’ve repeatedly had paper devices burst into flames at field strengths less than 100 V cm-1. Thankfully, these are very small devices, so it’s more like a birthday candle than a barn fire; and 2) Paper substrate selection – we show in this article that paper composition can have major effects on device performance. Most notably these come in the form of electroosmotic flow effects and sample adsorption. I think there’s a lot of work still left to be done on characterizing the wide array of available substrate materials.

What do you find most challenging about your research?
I think the work we’re doing is so much fun, and that includes the technological and experimental challenges that come along with any research. I’m extremely enthusiastic about our science, and I always want to know more about the technologies we’re developing or the biology we’re studying. This can lead to a major challenge for me, though. I’m never satisfied that we’re done studying something and we’re ready to write up a manuscript to tell the story. By the time the “last” experiment is done, my interest is already piqued for the next experiment, and then the experiment after that, and so on. I’ve actually had to tell my students “The next time I ask you to add another experiment to this paper, just remind me that it’s an experiment for the next paper.” They’re usually pretty good at keeping me in check on this one!

How do you spend your spare time?
My wife and I are expecting a baby any day now, so I’m anticipating that spare time will be in short supply for a while. When I do have the chance, I like to split my time between a few hobbies. I have an old truck in my garage, a 1966 Dodge A100, and I’m converting it to an electric vehicle. I’m an aspiring woodworker, photographer, computer coder, and general maker of things. My wife and I are both musicians, so we play jazz (and occasionally bad 90s music) together. We travel a lot. We love to take road trips all over the western U.S., and we never miss a chance to spend time in Tucson, AZ, which is where we met.

Which profession would you choose if you were not a scientist?
That’s tricky. I tend to imagine other careers in science and engineering (astronomer, computer programmer, Starfleet officer, etc.) I’d like to run a microbrewery, but that’s just microbiology with delicious by-products. Being a jazz vibraphonist would be fun, but musicians are mathematicians working in base 12. Shucks, I guess that means there are no non-science careers for me.

Can you share one piece of career-related advice or wisdom with other early career scientists?
Science is a creative profession, and creativity is a skill that requires practice. Imposter syndrome is a very real thing when you’re starting out, and I think it can push you to emulate rather than innovate. Of course, there’s nothing wrong with following practices that have worked for people you admire professionally, everyone does it, but emulation isn’t a particularly creative approach. My advice would be to find opportunities in your work to exercise your creativity, and give yourself permission to do things your own way. I’ve practiced this starting from small details of office management and built up all the way to big picture aspects of how we’ve designed our research program, and it’s been a major factor in getting past my feelings of imposter syndrome.

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Electrochemistry for health applications: call for papers!

Analytical Methods is developing a themed collection to highlight the exciting area of electrochemistry for health applications. The scope of this themed collection is intentionally broad to cover electrochemical sensing, biosensing and applications in diagnostics and monitoring and neuroelectrochemistry. The criteria that Analytical Methods strives to emphasize, a clear societal impact, must be emphasized in these articles as well.

This online collection will be guest edited by Associate Editors C. Banks and B. Jill Venton and Reviews Editor Tony Killard.

Craig Banks

Manchester Metropolitan University, UK

B. Jill Venton

University of Virginia, USA

Tony Killard

University of West England, UK

To celebrate the retirement of Professor Dermot Diamond, the collection will also feature a special editorial highlighting Professor Diamond’s important contributions to the field of electrochemical sensors.

Analytical Methods welcomes early applications of new analytical methods with clear societal impact. Articles included in the collection will be published as they are accepted and collected into an online collection which will receive extensive promotion. For more information about the journal or its scope, please visit the journal website or the recent editorial by the Editor-in-Chief, Scott Martin.

If you are interested in this opportunity or have any questions, please contact methods-rsc@rsc.org.

Submission window: 1st June 2018 -30th November 2018!

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Analytical Methods Emerging Investigator Series

Launched in 2018, Analytical Methods is now running an Emerging Investigator Series, featuring the best work in analytical chemistry being carried out by early career researchers. This series is ongoing, with accepted manuscripts being published in the next available issue of the journal and assembled in a high profile online collection.

 

We are committed to supporting up-and-coming scientists in the early stages of their independent careers and our Emerging Investigator Series provides a platform for early career researchers to showcase their best work to a broad audience. The ongoing series allows flexibility for contributors to participate in the venture without the restriction of submission deadlines, and will benefit the analytical chemistry community through continued exposure to the exciting work being done by its early-career members. Authors benefit from increased visibility, with individual mentions in the journal content alerts and individual feature interviews on the journal blog. Published articles in the series will be made free to access for a limited period.

 

Series Editors

The series has three international Series Editors with a broad range of expertise, representing the analytical chemistry community.

Fiona Regan
Dublin City University, Ireland
Juewen Liu
University of Waterloo, Canada
Juan García-Reyes
University of Jaén, Spain

Who can be considered?

Scientists who are within five years of obtaining their first independent position can apply to have their research highlighted in the Emerging Investigators Series. Appropriate consideration will be given to career breaks and alternative career paths. The series will only feature primary research articles, highlighting the author’s research contribution to the field.

Applications in the form of a CV will be reviewed by the Editorial Office and the Emerging Investigator Series Editors. The selection criteria for the Emerging Investigators Series will be based on the following:

  • Fit of research programme to Analytical Methods scope
  • Quality of publications, profile within institute and/or community

Articles submitted to the journal for the Series will undergo the usual peer-review process, and no guarantees of publication can be given to successful applicants.

 

Interested in applying?

Contact us: methods-rsc@rsc.org

 

Follow @MethodsRSC on Twitter to keep up to date with the latest papers in the series.

 

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Introducing the newest members of the Analytical Methods Advisory Board

We are delighted to announce the appointment of 3 new members to the Analytical Methods Advisory Board.

 

Wendell Coltro, Instituto de Química, Brazil

Wendell Coltro is an Associate Professor at the Instituto de Química from Federal University of Goias in Brazil. His research focusses on the development of electrophoresis microchips, 3D printed microfluidic chips and disposable devices for bioanalytical and forensic applications, including rapid tests and clinical diagnostics. Wendell has published numerous papers in Analytical Methods and our sister journal Analyst. Read his most recent Analytical Methods article on “A fully disposable paper-based electrophoresis microchip with integrated pencil-drawn electrodes for contactless conductivity detection” here.

 

 

Lisa Holland, West Virginia University, USA

Lisa Holland is a Professor in the Department of Chemistry at West Virginia University. Her research group uses capillary electrophoresis and capillary chromatography to investigate physiological processes. There are numerous advantages to employing these miniaturised separation techniques, including high resolution of individual components, reduced solvent use, and the opportunity to develop them into portable and affordable devices. These techniques serve as enabling tools and methods to study disease, improve biological therapeutics, evaluate nanomaterials, and screen toxicity.

 

 

Zachary Schultz, Ohio State University, USA

Zachary Schultz is an Associate Professor at Ohio State University. His lab uses vibrational spectroscopy for label-free detection in biophysical and interfacial systems. Combining a range of technologies, such as nanostructures and laser spectroscopy, Zac’s research aims to detect chemical properties and image systems at the molecular level to solve problems in metabolomics, protein receptor signalling and active plasmonics. Zac was named as an Outstanding Reviewer for our sister journal Analyst for 2016. Read his most recent Analytical Methods article on “Multiscale X-ray Fluorescence Mapping Complemented by Raman Spectroscopy for Pigment Analysis of a 15th Century Breton Manuscript” here.

 

 

Analytical Methods is guided by an international Editorial Board and Advisory Board – more information on all our board members can be found on our website. We welcome the knowledge and expertise our three new Advisory Board members will bring to the journal and we very much look forward to working with them. Welcome to the Analytical Methods team!

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SciX 2017, Reno, USA

SciX 2017, a conference featuring cutting edge developments in analytical sciences, instrumentation and unique applications, was held in Reno, NV from October 8-13, 2017.

Award-Winning Scientists

The Sir George Stokes Award recognizes outstanding and sustained contributions to analytical science by someone demonstrably working in a complementary field, which has led to developments of seminal importance to chemical analysis. It is awarded biennially and the winner is chosen by the Royal Society of Chemistry Analytical Division Awards Committee. We are delighted to announce that this year the award was presented to Tony Cass from Imperial College London at SciX 2017 in Reno. Tony  presented his prize lecture on Tackling Global Health Challenges with Biosensor Technologies on the 9th of October. Congratulations Tony!

Analyst Chair Duncan Graham presents Tony Cass with the Sir George Stokes Award in Reno, NV

It also gives us great pleasure to announce that Analyst Chair Duncan Graham and Analytical Methods Editor-in-Chief Scott Martin both received awards at SciX 2017. The Charles Mann Award for Applied Raman Spectroscopy was awarded to Duncan Graham, who delivered his Plenary lecture “Mann up, SERS Can be Useful!” on Tuesday 10th October. Scott Martin was the recipient of the AES Mid-Career Award. After being presented with his award, Scott delivered a plenary lecture titled  “Using Microchip Electrophoresis and Electrochemical Detection to Investigate Cellular Communication”. We are extremely proud of Scott and Duncan. Congratulations on well-deserved awards.

Duncan Graham, Chair of Analyst, is presented with the Charles Mann Award for Applied Raman Spectroscopy by Ian Lewis from Kaiser Optical Systems

Analytical Methods Editor-in-Chief Scott Martin receives the AES Mid-Career Award from Mark Hayes, Arizona State University

RSC Sessions

Maria Southall, Deputy Editor of Analyst and Analytical Methods, attended SciX and chaired two Royal Society of Chemistry sessions – the RSC Sensors for Cancer Diagnostics session and the RSC Award session. Both sessions featured excellent presentations from experts in the field of analytical chemistry. The RSC Award session showcased the work of Danny O’Hare (Imperial College London, UK), Eiry Kobatake (Tokyo Institute of Technology, Japan), Xian-En Zhang (Institute of Biophysics, Chinese Academy of Sciences, China) and Gianfranco Gilardi (University of Torino, Italy). At the RSC Sensors for Cancer Diagnostics session, Analyst Associate Editors Steven Soper (University of Kansas, USA) and Jean-Francois Masson (University of Montreal, Canada) presented some of their research, along with Analytical Methods Advisory Board member Amanda Hummon (University of Notre Dame, USA) and Peter Gardner from the Manchester Institute of Biotechnology.

Photo from left to right: Eiry Kobatake, Xian-En Zhang, Maria Southall (RSC), Tony Cass, Gianfranco Gilardi, Danny O’Hare

Thank you to all our session speakers!

Spring SciX 2018

Spring SciX is a UK-based meeting of the successful SciX series, covering a wide range of analytical chemistry research, with a focus on early career researchers. Join leaders in the analytical sciences as they present progress on emergent topics, meet with exhibitors, and network over four days in Glasgow. Find out more at http://springscix.org/

We hope to see you there!

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Congratulations to the Analytical Research Forum 2017 prize winners!

The Analytical Research Forum 2017 was held on the 7th of July at Burlington House in London. The interdisciplinary one-day event featured invited talks, flash presentations and poster presentations on an impressive range of analytical techniques and applications. From the analysis of the hidden art beneath Rembrandt’s paintings to conducting life science experiments in outer space, the variety and calibre of work was of the highest standard.

Invited talks were given by Elaine Holmes (Imperial College, UK), Perdita Barran (University of Manchester, UK), David Peggie (National Gallery, UK) and Tony Ricco (NASA Research Laboratory, USA). Contributed talks and flash presentation sessions also enabled more participants to present a snapshot of their research to the analytical community.

Prizes were awarded by the RSC Analytical Chemistry Trust Fund to the best contributed talks and flash presentations. We are pleased to offer our congratulations to the prize winners:

  • Becki Scott (KU Leuven, Belgium), Contributed Talk, First Prize
  • Thomas Smith (University of Sheffield, UK), Contributed Talk, Second Prize
  • Ryan Kane (University of Strathclyde, UK), Flash Presentation, First Prize
  • Yuko P. Y. Lam (University of Warwick, UK) and Emily Kempa (University of Manchester, UK), Flash Presentations, joint Second Prize.

The Royal Society of Chemistry also awarded subscriptions to our journals Analyst, Analytical Methods and Lab on a Chip as prizes for the best posters on the day. We are delighted to recognise the excellent work of the following prize recipients:

  • Fay Nicolson (University of Strathclyde, UK) for a poster entitled “Through barrier detection using handheld surface enhanced spatially offset Raman spectroscopy”
  • Saba Al-Obaidy (Hull University, UK) for a poster entitled “Simple microfluidic platform to evaluate biological inspired nano-particles for focussed delivery of anti-bacterials”
  • Andrew Donohoe (Dublin City University, Ireland) for a poster entitled “Development of cost effective sensors for the in-situ monitoring of heavy metals”

Congratulations to Fay, Saba and Andrew for presenting top class analytical research!

Andrew Donohoe and Fay Nicholson accept their awards from Melissa Hanna-Brown,
President of the Royal Society of Chemistry Analytical Division

Congratulations to all the prize winners and many thanks to all the participants who contributed to a vibrant and exciting meeting!

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