Posted by Kathleen Steeden | 0 comments
Dr Morgane Fallas has returned to Dr David McCalley’s research group to conduct further studies into high performance liquid chromatography (HPLC), which could lead to faster and more efficient ways of analysing clinical and pharmaceutical samples. HPLC is a technique that separates out components of a mixture by passing them in liquid solution through a column of a medium to which the individual components are attracted to different extents. The technique has a number of applications such as identifying biomarkers of disease in body fluids, for quality control of ethical pharmaceuticals, to reveal the purity and identity of street drugs, or to show pesticide contamination of food and soil.
Dr Fallas completed a PhD at UWE in early 2010, looking particularly at the potential problems of separations of pharmaceuticals when carried out at much higher pressures than those normally employed in HPLC. Researchers have found previously that in general, the smaller the particles (and thus the higher pressure in the separation column), the better the results. However, the detailed effects of the use of very high pressures have not yet been explored. Morgane’s PhD studies involved working at the very extremes of this technique, with column particles around a thousandth of a millimetre in diameter that required pressures of up to one thousand atmospheres to force the liquid through. Her studies, reported in three major publications, showed that pharmaceutical separations could be seriously affected at these high pressures, leading to previously unreported reproducibility effects.
Now a continuation project, funded by Agilent Technologies, aims to extend this work using a new ultra-high pressure liquid chromatograph (UHPLC) donated by Agilent. The instrument is capable of even higher pressures in excess of 1200 atmospheres, and could potentially undertake pharmaceutical and clinical analyses up to 10 times faster than when using conventional HPLC techniques. Dr David McCalley explained, ‘The successful application of these new techniques, through a better understanding of their basic principles, is clearly of importance. Tens of thousands of HPLC analyses are carried out daily in the UK, both in the pharmaceutical industry (for example to test drug stability), and in hospital laboratories for routine monitoring of biomarkers for disease.’
Image above: Dr Morgane Fallas using the new ultra-high pressure liquid chromatograph donated to UWE by Agilent Technologies
For more information contact Dr David McCalley