My main research interest is focused on pre-clinical and clinical applications of Solid Phase Microextraction (SPME). The studies include the use of in vitro, ex vivo and in vivo SPME in pharmaceutical and biomedical analysis: pharmaceutical method development and validation, pharmacokinetics, therapeutic drug monitoring as well as evaluation of global metabolome profile changes as a response to medical procedures and pharmacotherapy. Currently, in collaboration with researchers as Toronto General Hospital, I am working on projects involving pharmacokinetic and metabolomic studies in humans and animals after organ transplantation.
As a PhD candidate at Prof. Janusz Pawliszyn’s research group, I am currently working on a collaborative project with thoracic and general surgeons at Toronto General Hospital (TGH) on the development of a rapid diagnostic tool for targeted in-vivo, ex-vivo and on-site analysis. This technology is based on the direct coupling of biocompatible Solid Phase Micro Extraction (SPME) devices to mass spectrometry instruments using different ionization techniques such as Direct Analysis in Real Time (DART), Desorption Electro Spray Ionization (DESI), nano-Electro Spray Ionization (nano-ESI), and Coated Blade Spray (CBS). My PhD research thesis is mainly focused on the improvement of the technology in order to provide accurate, fast, and low-cost assays of biological fluids and tissue, allowing medical doctors and surgeons to individualize patient’s treatment.
As a PhD candidate at University of Waterloo I work on the application of solid phase microextraction (SPME) for the targeted and untargeted analysis of biological samples. In terms of targeted analysis, I have participated in the development of SPME methods for the analysis of prohibited substances in plasma, whole blood and urine samples. My research scope also involves new developments and approaches to manufacture SPME devices compatible with LC-MS methods. I am also working on collaborative projects with Toronto General Hospital where we are investigating the applicability of SPME coupled to LC-HRMS for untargeted analysis of different tissues. Part of my research also involves the investigation of complex matrices and biding phenomena using SPME.
One of the challenges associated with ionic liquids is the their poor robustness and performance for direct extractions in aqueous samples and matrices. As part of my current research, I focus on the evaluation of newly developed robust ionic liquid coatings for their efficiencies in extracting very polar analytes from aqueous sample media. The success of this project will offer ionic liquids as alternative coatings for extraction of very polar analytes where commercially available SPME coatings are limited. This research will also provide the platform for direct application of ionic liquid coatings to food analysis for potential metabolomics and contaminants studies. In addition, I am also studying the suitability of direct SPME over headspace analysis for complex food matrices using commercially available SPME fibres. In this regard, I focus on investigating the displacement effects typically observed in solid porous sorbents using a mixture of common metabolites in food matrices. Overall, this research will demonstrate the potential advantages of using direct SPME sampling over HS-SPME since the latter is commonly characterized by displacement effects from the saturation of analytes in the solid porous coatings.
My primary research is focused on the development and applications of thin film microextraction (TFME) technologies for use with portable GC-MS instrumentation for on-site analysis. This research is a collaborative project with Torion Technologies Inc. and will be performed on the Tridion-9 GC-TMS (toroidal mass spectrometer ). My proposed research will aim to prepare and evaluate a variety of particle loaded, thin film membranes and develop an interface to allow these membranes to be used in conjunction with portable instrumentation for on-site analysis.
My research interests focus on the bioanalytical applications of Solid Phase Microextraction (SPME). The studies include monitoring drugs of abuse with special emphasis on anabolic androgenic steroids (AAS) in urine and blood samples by direct immersion SPME followed by on fiber derivatization and GC/MS determination. In addition, I am working on project for development of high throughput SPME-LC-MS/MS method for general screening of more than 100 prohibited substances in sports competitions.
My main research focuses on the biomedical and clinical application of Solid Phase Microextraction (SPME). The studies include therapeutic drug monitoring as well as untargeted analysis of small molecules in order to evaluate the metabolome profile changes in different disorders. Currently, in collaboration with researchers from Toronto General Hospital, I am working on project involving real time monitoring of chemotherapy by on-site SPME during in vivo lung perfusion in the treatment of cancer metastases to the lungs.
My research focuses on using solid phase microextraction for therapeutic drug monitoring and untargeted analysis in vivo and ex vivo. I am currently involved in two projects that are both in collaboration with Toronto General Hospital wherein my responsibilities include but are not limited to SPME method and protocol development for investigating various biological matrices for the purposes of monitoring drug concentrations and drug efficacy.
My research interests include application and improvement of SPME-based methodologies for brain neurochemistry studies and forensic science.
My current work focuses on the development and improvement of techniques for comprehensive in-vivo and post-mortem brain studies including direct SPME-MS coupling enabling rapid analysis with increased sensitivity and selectivity as well as obtaining information about spatial distribution of both endogenous compounds and xenobiotics in various brain structures when employed in MS-imaging mode.
Additionally, my work will involve introducing the SPME-based technologies to the post-mortem forensic toxicological analyses, where the time factor is of greatest importance. As SPME probes possess the ability to preserve the extracted compounds, this approach will allow obtaining valuable toxicological information from tissues subjected to the fastest rate of decay process, such as brain tissue.
My M.Sc research in the Pawliszyn research group focuses on the development and optimization of ambient ionization mass spectrometry techniques such as coated blade spray (CBS) for quantitative analysis of biofluids. By using techniques such as CBS we can improve selectivity of target compounds, reduce analysis time and lower detection and quantitation limits compared to more traditional approaches. Furthermore, I am also responsible for validating new SPME coatings for use in bioanalysis and metabolomics studies
SPME represents a great tool for forensic science due to its rapid application and high ability in sample preservation which are of uttermost importance in law enforcement. My current research is focused on in vivo applications of SPME in metabolomics with a specific focus in targeting xenobiotic compounds. The ability of SPME to detect such compounds shows a great potential for its use in forensic toxicology. I will also be working on the optimization of SPME for use with Raman Spectroscopy in order to provide more rapid sample analysis.
My co-op term with Dr. Pawliszyn’s research group has given me the opportunities to be involved in multiple projects and gain valuable experience in the field of analytical chemistry. My work involves the development of testing applications and analytical methods involving a GC-MS setup in order to sample complex matrices. I was involved in studying methods to detect date rape drugs in beverage matrices and bodily fluids at low concentrations. Currently, I am working on a joint project with Toronto’s Sick Kids Hospital to test for volatile compounds in blood involving epilepsy treatments. In future work, I plan to develop methods of testing for pesticides in commercial tea leaves, as well as for testing TFME membranes in complex environmental matrices.
My research involves fabrication and optimization of aptamer-based coatings for SPME in order to facilitate selective extraction of large bio-molecules. My aim is to bring aptamer-based assays from the research lab to practical clinical labs with the help of the simple but robust analytical technique SPME/LC/MS.