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New funding for hydrophilic interaction chromatography research  

Posted by Denise Hope | 0 comments
14Mar2012
Dr David McCalley has recently received a grant from the EPSRC to fund a postdoctoral worker to assist with research into faster and more efficient ways of analysing clinical and pharmaceutical samples. The project, Investigation of the separation mechanism in hydrophilic interaction chromatography is a collaboration with GlaxoSmithKline in Stevenage.

Chromatography is a method of separating and analysing important chemicals such as ethical pharmaceuticals, drugs of abuse or compounds in biological fluids that may be indicative of disease. A popular variant is high performance liquid chromatography (HPLC), where the sample is introduced into a liquid stream and passed through a column containing small particles of the separation medium. The annual world market for instruments and consumables in HPLC is several billion dollars; thousands of analyses are carried out daily in the UK alone. Faster and more efficient variations of the technique are continually being sought. One of these is hydrophilic interaction chromatography (HILIC), a technique that has significant advantages over the commonly used separation procedure ("reversed-phase"). However, the mechanism of this newer technique is poorly understood-some separations seem to work well, whereas others do not, for no apparent reason.

The aim of this research will be to elucidate the principles of the HILIC separation mechanism and to elucidate the experimental parameters that are most influential, such that new applications can be devised. This knowledge will be applied for example to the development of new analytical methods for assessment of molecules used as building blocks in drug discovery in the pharmaceutical industry, or the monitoring of circulating levels of antibiotics which have a narrow therapeutic range (ineffective at low levels but toxic at high levels) in body fluids.

For more information, contact Dr David McCalley.

Continuing high performance liquid chromatography research at UWE 

Posted by Kathleen Steeden | 0 comments
15Feb2011
Dr Morgane Fallas using the ultra-high performance chromatograph donated by Agilent TechnologiesDr 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