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The applications of mass spectrometry in biomedical sciences


Mass Spectrometry (MS) is a potent tool which is broadly used in the analysis of different molecules. The development of softer ionization methods, such as matrix-assisted laser desorption/ionization ionization (MALDI) and eletrospray ionization (ESI) associated with less expensive and easier-to-operate analyzers, for instance quadrupole, time-of-flight (TOF), and ion trap made possible the use of MS to analyze big molecules, as nucleic acids, carbohydrates, proteins, and lipids. Indeed, MS has been frequently used in different areas of Biomedical Sciences, mainly in high throughput analysis of biomolecules (proteomics, lipidomics, metabolomics, among other "omics"), in order to identify pathology-associated biomarkers and also to analyze the effects of new compounds to treat diseases. In the last 20 years, Dr. Philippe Bulet (CNRS), candidate to FAPESP's Visiting Researcher Program grants, acquired a huge experience on proteomics, being pioneer in the development on high performance MS strategies to screen Drosophila innate immune system biomarkers using material from only one specimen. He was also pioneer in using MALDI-MS to monitor the presence of peptides directly in Drosophila tissues and lipids in the hemolymph of this same insect. Moreover, a great effort has been made by Dr. Bulet for the imaging of molecular masses by MALDI-MS to characterize protein and peptide fingerprint molecular masses (mass fingerprinting) directly in tissue sections (live, skin, muscles, brain, etc) obtained from biopsy and/or organs. The visit of Dr. Philippe will be of great importance to the development of the research project "Determination of the differential proteome and lipidome of Amblyomma aureolatum ticks in response to Rickettsia rickettsii infection" (FAPESP Regular grants 2014/11513-1), under my coordination. We will analyze the lipds of the saliva of Amblyomma ticks using MALDI-TOF-MS, one of the principal objectives of this project. In addition, Dr. Bulet, whom is specialist on the immune system of both vertebrates and invertebrates, will significantly contribute to the development of the research project "Molecular characterization of the relationships among ticks, rickettsiae, and vertebrate hosts" (FAPESP Thematic grants 2013/26450-2), discussing the results obtained by the members of Dr. Sirlei Daffre's research group, coordinator of the project, and members of my research group, principal investigator of the same project. Dr. Bulet will also have meetings with Profs. Drs. Anderson de Sá Nunes, Rui Curi, Newton Sabino Canteras, Simone Cristina Motta e Niels Olsen Saraiva Câmara (ICB-USP) and Drs. Adriana Lopes e Pedro I. da Silva Jr (Instituto Butantan) research groups. The visit of the researcher will be also very important to divulge MALDI imaging mass spectrometry (MALDI-IMS) in a mini-course in order to promote the use of this technique in BIOMASS (Mass Spectrometry Analysis) facility of the Core Facility for Scientific Research (CEFAP) located at ICB-USP. (AU)

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